Species III (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

We sort of split on this one, although there isn't much difference in our scores. Scoop didn't mind that the series got turned into a bit of tongue-in-cheek self-parody, and found Species III to be a moderately entertaining grade-B film. He even watched the DVD special features! Tuna, on the other hand, missed the intense levels of energy and danger attained by the original Species, and found the script for Species III sadly lacking.


Scoop's comments in white:

Species 3 has the official exploitation picture view of male-female relationships. The rules work something like this:

  • If a pretty girl stops to get gas at a rural gas station, she will end up being locked in the ladies room with one drooling redneck, while four of his unwashed, unshaven friends wait outside, scratching their nuts and waiting for sloppy seconds.

  • If a pretty girl goes to a campus frat party, all of the guys will make a totally obnoxious come-on involving single entendre and breast-grabbing.

In this world-view, any pretty girl walking anywhere, dressed in any clothing, will provoke the same reaction as a pretty secretary walking past a bunch of immigrant construction guys on their lunch break. Except of course, that the real life action will begin and end with rude catcalls while the movie action will proceed to molestation, possibly even attempted rape.

It's important to stress "attempted" in this case, because the two sexy women in this film are both super-powerful aliens who allow the guys to get to the pawing stage, or possibly even lead them all the way into sex, before using their antennae and tentacles to tear out internal organs, drill holes through skulls, or nail someone's crotch to a chair.

The original Species had a fairly intense horror/sci-fi vibe going. The series has now gone in a different direction. Species III is more jokey, almost a self-parody, and has a vibe which resembles Re-Animator more than it resembles Alien.

Species III starts with a daughter being born to Eve (Natasha Henstridge), the first generation Species Babe from the first two Species movies. Eve dies in childbirth, but a scientist raises her baby, which is not a big deal, since this particular species grows from infancy to adulthood in a few days. This particular scientist does his best eccentric Herbert West impersonation, and he manages to find a saner partner in a brilliant graduate student. Together they resolve to study the alien for some insane reason or another. Scientific immortality, I suppose.

The brilliant student is played by Robin Dunne, who is the absolute king of non-theatrical sequels. If the film goes to vid and has a number at the end, he's in it. His filmography now includes:

  1. Species III
  2. American Psycho 2: All American Girl
  3. The Skulls II
  4. Au Pair II
  5. Cruel Intentions 2

I guess Species 3 was a demotion from Tier 2, where Dunne normally dwells.

Anyway, this was a quickie shot on digital video for the cable/video market, but it looks just as good as it would on film, and the CGI effects are not bad at all. I was impressed with a scene in which a security guard is split in half from the head down, and the two halves fall to each side! The plot doesn't really matter, some scenes don't make a lot of sense, and it all involves some pretty far-fetched science to begin with, but the flick does have a couple of interesting elements:


  • Sunny Mabry - breasts and buns (for a substantial percentage of her screen time)
  • Amelia Cooke - the full monty

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic

  • unrated version

  • four featurettes

  • full-length commentary

  • behind-the-scenes photo gallery

1. Lots of nudity from two beautiful women. This is not a serious horror or sci-fi film, but essentially a movie about red-hot naked alien babes.

2. A truly wacked-out deadpan performance from Robert Knepper as the normal-looking but very mad scientist who rhapsodizes about the beauty and perfection of life-destroying viruses.

In addition to several "how did they do that?" featurettes, the DVD has a full-length commentary by the director, the writer, and one of the stars, so the total package is not so bad. Despite its pathetic score at IMDb, I liked it much better than Species II

Tuna's comments in yellow:

Sara, the daughter of the original star Eve, has her shot at mating and furthering her species with the aid of two young scientists. There are two flies in the ointment: pesky federal types are out to exterminate the species, and there are half-breeds who have weak immune systems and are planning to use Sara for genetic answers to their own survival.

Species III follows the basic rules for a threequel. They decreased the budget (shooting on HD Video), and opened up the story for more sequels. Fortunately, they also increased the nudity level from Species II. A hallmark of the franchise has been uninhibited nudity from the "species" and this one returns to the nudity level of the original. Both Sunny Mabrey (as Sara) and Amelia Cooke (as a half-breed) seem completely at ease naked.

Considering the budget, the film looks really good. Special effects are well done, and they planned from the beginning on using a liberal amount of CGI to clean up and spice up the film. Some of the lighting is as good as I have seen on HDTV. Unfortunately, it didn't have the energy of the original, and at no time was the audience in peril from the alien threat, so it was hard to become emotionally involved. The director did a good job with what he had, but he didn't have enough.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This is a C-. It takes the series in a different direction, but it will meet the basic criteria for certain genre fans: over-the-top gore, tongue-in-cheek plot and characterization, and plenty of nudity. It's cheesy, but I made it through the film without the fast-forward button, then watched all the special features, so I guess it wasn't all that bad!" Tuna disagrees, saying, "The filmmaker did a very nice job with what he had to work with, but this could have used a lot more script. Low D+."

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