"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Scanners III: The Takeover

tn_scanners3SCANNERS 3 makes it clear that muthafuckas forgot about Cronenberg. Now it’s cheesy electric guitars, actresses who look like ’80s Playboy models and amateurish overacting that shifts in and out of different accents. The action kicks off with our hero scanner Alex Monet (named so because this is a great work of art, and played by Steve Parrish) brain-pushing his buddy as a party trick. But then somebody pats him on the shoulder, breaking his concentration and he fires his friend out the window, killing him. That sucks so he goes to find himself in Asia like Rambo III.

mp_scanners3Meanwhile his sister Helena (Liliana Komorowska – a Christian Duguay regular who appears in SCREAMERS, JOAN OF ARC, THE ART OF WAR, EXTREME OPS and HITLER: THE RISE OF EVIL) tries out EPH-3, a new experimental drug her dad’s company is working on that stops her migraines and hearing of voices but, as one character says, “it’s almost like it’s blocking your conscience.” (Also I’m sure it can cause dry mouth, drowsiness and extreme diarrhea. Do not take with alcohol or other prescriptions. Get help immediately if EPH-3 causes world-conquering urges. Talk to your physician to find out if EPH-3 is right for you).  She quickly turns from mousy nobody to scheming, cackling, patricidal, ball-busting CEO soap opera bitch queen. She pretends to be sad after scan-drowning her dad in a hot tub, but gives herself away because she can’t restrain her evil smiles while other people are still in the room.

Helena first uses her scanning powers on some punks who try to mug her in an alley. I don’t get why people in movies ever cut through alleys anyway. There’s always punks or creeps there and they always try to mug you. Anyway, this is your signal that it’s more of a shitty action movie and less of a Cronenberg follow-up.

And yes, I believe there are three head explosions this time. And a part where she makes a business rival dance badly in public. And sped up footage of a guy spinning in a revolving door until he pops. And thugs that dress kind of like the Blues Brothers.

Speaking of brothers, hers comes back to the states to save the day, there is some rappelling, some motorcycle jumps, some exploding vehicles. It’s decent action, actually, and one really spectacular flaming motorcycle stunt. But the guy doesn’t have much charisma so it’s hard to get too invested in the scenes.

The one really clever new idea is when Helena’s having sex with the TV on in the room and she accidentally transfers her orgasmic feelings to the guest on a talk show. It’s played more for weirdness than for laughs, and I dig that. But then it inspires an evil plot where she goes on TV so she can scan everybody who’s watching. She also blows up a football player during a game. Commentators aren’t supposed to interfere like that. It’s unethical.

I guess it wouldn’t have taken a scanner to guess that these movies would suck. But you know how I am. I gotta know for myself. At least there are a few laughs here and there. And they were constantly pushing the technology of bulging vein effects by making these movies. Without them who knows where we’d be with that.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 at 11:09 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

17 Responses to “Scanners III: The Takeover”

  1. Thanks for reviewing these Vern. Since you’re in this deep, you might as well review the Scanner Cop spinoffs :P

  2. were these sequels theatrical or DTV?

  3. Yes, but will you stick it out through the Scanner Cop sequels? Not to mention Helen Hunt in the unrelated but similar sounding Trancers? Starring Tim Thomerson as Trooper Jack Deth!

    Sorry, I watched a lot of scrambled Action Pay-Per-View (“Action! On Demand!”) as an adolescent.

  4. I hope you are going to review Scanner Cop. It’s pretty awesome.

    Oh these two Scanners were totally DTV.

  5. Oh I would love to read Vern review the Trancers series. They got really awful after the first one.

  6. I haven’t been able to find the SC sequel. It’s by the same director right?
    My SC VHS is a retail copy, so it has all theses funny tips for rental stores to market the movie, including playing a siren when a police office comes into the store and then offering him a free rental. Somehow I think he wouldn’t be all that appreciative.

  7. Great Unwashed

    June 6th, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I will probably never watch this, but I’m still glad you reviewed this, especially for the great EPH-3 digression.

  8. They were released in theaters in Quebec (that’s in Canada) because they were filmed in Montreal by Montreal Director Christian Duguay.

  9. If EPH-3 is made by the same dudes who make Tylenol, I predict a massive recall any day now. Hollywood’s shitty quality standards are starting to infect every other industry.

    I vote for a recall on Clash of the Titans.

  10. Good for you Vern, still taking on the reviews that others fear.

    Hopefully you will cover the Trancers series, the first was cool and not to bad, if i remember. After that i think it kinda fell off a cliff quality wise (which might not be bad, but in a series not noted for its high quality to begin with it probably wasn’t the best move, let alone for the 4 or 5 sequels), but Tim Thomerson is usually pretty cool, even if the movie isn’t, i think it was mostly down to the budget being roughly what the producer had in pocket change the day they shot it.

  11. Scanners III is notoriously terrible, but, “actresses who look like 80s Playboy models” cannot be an entirely bad thing.

  12. Jareth Cutestory

    June 7th, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Vern: If you’re hell-bent on following SCANNERS-related stuff to all corners of the earth, there was a micro-budget film called HEADSPACE* in the early 2000s that spectacularly fails to mesh SCANNERS with JACOB’S LADDER. Don’t be fooled by the “award-winning” tag on the dvd case: it’s really not very good.

    *Not to be confused with the documentary with the same title. That one is about bondage and sadomasochism. It’s not very good either.

  13. My copy of “Scanner Cop” is a video store screener too! I wonder if they all are!

    The “Trancers” series is very good for the first three. You can chart the decline of the series through Jack Deth’s hair.

    “Trancers” (1985) was the only one to be released theatrically, by Charles Band’s Empire Pictures, and is a classic that looks great despite its modest budget. Jack slicks his hair back the moment he arrives in his ancestor’s body and leaves it that way. After all, dry hair is for squids.

    “Trancers II” (1991) went straight to video, via Band’s Full Moon Features, and continues the story nicely, bringing back everybody from the first movie and adding new villains played by Richard Lynch and Jeffrey Combs. However, Jack starts only slicking his hair back when he has to go into action. It’s like, hair, trenchcoat, gun, check. The rest of the time he has the dry look. What were they thinking!

    “Trancers III” (1992) still manages to get Helen Hunt, with reduced screentime. Jack now has a flat-top, so he never slicks his hair back. At least the flat-top looks good, and we’ve got Andrew Robinson as the new boss villain, and a new explanation for what Trancers are: the result of a military experiment to create soldiers who can psych themselves up into a superhumanly strong state. Super bio-feedback yoga. In the future they’ve grown into an out-of-control zombie army. In the final shot when Jack breaks the fourth wall and makes a joke, his nose is filmed at an unflattering angle that makes him look like Omar from “Rock & Rule.” I still enjoyed the movie.

    “Trancers 4” and “Trancers 5” (1994) were made simultaneously in Romania. Helen Hunt was long gone. Jack now has floppy long hair. His former self would be appalled. Trancers are now a type of vampire and the whole thing is set in some alternate medieval realm. The medieval setting is what hurts it the most. I guess they figured they’d use the locations they had in Romania. Like, I know Band started filming all his movies there but I’m pretty sure Romania has cities. We saw one in “Teenage Space Vampires.” I’m glad I own these two movies but I never re-watch them.

    “Trancers 6” (2002), which I have yet to see, does not even have Tim Thomerson, which is probably where they lost a lot of fans. The story cleverly gets around the problem by having Jack inhabiting the body of his daughter. Thus, the character is still Jack Deth, but played by the new actress. I’d still want to see it out someday but I’ll have to brace myself. I hope she slicks her hair back.

  14. Oh man, don’t get me started in Trancers.

    Okay, I’ll start: Trancers 2 is my favorite in the series.

  15. @Aktion Figure: It’s a good one! What do you like about it better than the first “Trancers”? :-)

  16. I loved trancers back in the day, and thought the first sequel was pretty good, too (I’m old enough that I actually looked forward to Trancers 2). HBO Argentina seemed to have a few Band movies in heavy rotation in the early-ish nineties… I remember watching these two a *lot* of times, along with subspecies, which is another favorite. I need to revisit all of these.

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