Christopher NeameNatasha HenstridgeAmelia CookeSunny Mabrey
Species III
Medium: film
Year: 2004
Director: Brad Turner
Writer: Dennis Feldman, Ben Ripley
Keywords: Species, horror, SF, boobs
Country: USA
Actor: Robin Dunne, Robert Knepper, Sunny Mabrey, Amelia Cooke, John Paul Pitoc, Michael Warren, Christopher Neame, Patricia Bethune, Joel Stoffer, James Leo Ryan, Savanna Fields, Natasha Henstridge, Reed Frerichs, Marc D. Wilson, Matthew Yang King
Format: 111 minutes
Website category: Horror modern
Review date: 7 August 2012
So that's what straight-to-video can do to a franchise. The first two Species films were action-movie dull. This instead is "very little action and not enough happening" dull. It's not worthless, but you'd struggle to identify much that's worth watching in it.
The story so far: Natasha Henstridge was an alien-human hybrid who wanted to make babies. She was built by remarkably gullible scientists who followed a formula sent from space to build alien DNA and inject it into human ova, only to find that they'd made a monster that could grow to hot naked adulthood in a few days, was sexually insatiable and was probably going to wipe out all life on Earth. Nothing slowed her down for more than a few seconds, including automatic weapons fire.
Somehow mankind survived two movies of this. A third eventually followed, but this time mankind has a secret weapon... much less money with which to shoot the movie. This means:
(a) not many action scenes
(b) lots of talking
(c) a slow-moving plot that's weakened the aliens so much that there's no longer the slightest question of them destroying the Earth. Instead they're fragile, sickly creatures with the kinds of lifespans you'd expect from their growth rates, to be pitied more than feared.
In some ways, I like this movie. It's not trash. They could have sleazed up to the eyeballs with gore and nudity, but they didn't. (Unfortunately.) Instead it's staid and kind of boring. They discuss things. They introduce that head-spinning new angle on the aliens, which is clever, logical and takes the franchise in unexpected directions. It also explains what happened to that rat-alien at the end of the first film that was ignored in the sequel. (Answer: it died.) As with vampires or H.G. Wells's Martians, we have a monster of terrifying power but also a crippling achilles heel.
It's even less stupid than the other films. However it's also not very good. It's a bit long, nothing about it is particularly well executed and it doesn't even have enough tits.
We begin with a flashback that rewrites the end of the previous film. Henstridge appears, although only briefly and by contractual obligation. This is where the movie tries to do action and as a result this is where you'll find its worst editing and camerawork. After that, things settle down. Robin Dunne (Cruel Intentions 2, Au Pair II, The Skulls II, American Psycho II) shows up because this is a sequel, but he's actually not that bad and I preferred him to his co-star, Robert Knepper. Together they're a professor and student who choose to get involved with alien stuff. Most of the time they're passable. However when a scene needs proper acting (Dunne's big decision), it's kind of painful.
I liked the middle-aged SF conspiracist lady, although she's not around for long. Michael Warren is approximately filling the Michael Madsen role, but far less memorably, but Shada fans might notice Christopher Neame.
The aliens are why you're watching, though. Sunny Mabrey is the main attraction, although she's played by a child actress (Savanna Fields) for the first half-hour. Mabrey of course is attractive and gets naked, but she's got a girl-next-door air that makes her less of an obvious fit for the role than Henstridge. She's one genetic strain of alien, but there's only one of her and quite a few of the other, weaker kind. This other lot are called halfbreeds and they're really sick. (Don't think too hard about this movie's idea of the ideal combination of human and alien DNA, incidentally.) We meet a fat guy who turns mildly Lovecraftian and later a hot brunette (Amelia Cooke), who's had a very modest acting career but is at least sexier and more predatory than Mabrey. That's deliberate, by the way. They're going for the Species II angle of trying to make us sympathise with the aliens, which isn't hard considering that they're doomed.
To be honest, it's hard to care enough about this film to talk about it much. It's at the very low, underachieving end of okay. The monster effects aren't bad. There's a good joke. Knepper's character is crazy in a moderately interesting way, although I'd have been saying that with more conviction had Knepper been playing him better. However on the downside, the film can't do action scenes at all and hardly ever even tries. The budget has so clearly gone over a cliff since the first two films that there's even a dialogue reference to this. It says a lot about this franchise that even a movie as modest and third-rate as this could be argued to be an interesting new direction.
Its American premiere was on the Sci Fi Channel, by the way. Only after that did it go to video.
"Sara doesn't have any feelings. Let's get on with this."