Species III (Review)
Direct to Sci-Fi Channel? How could I lose? Natasha Henstridge made it big by being the alien desperately looking for Mr. Goodbar who just happened to be naked for 78.342193% of the movie. That was followed up by a movie where an Astronaut who went to Mars became an Alien Deuce Bigalow implanting women with exploding babies that reach birthing stage after a few seconds. Due to the quick work of Bubba Blue from Forrest Gump and the remade Natasha Henstridge Astronaut Jones became Astro-not Jones. However, just to show it wasn’t the end of the line, Species II made certain to leave an out. Actually, it left Three! We had one of the Village of the Damned-looking children survive, inside the army truck with dead Natasha, who’s stomach was growing because she was pregnant after death, and out number three involved a random cat that jumped on her stomach, punched around, and quickly ran off. So whatever writers tackled this legacy would have no problem coming up with some sort of plot device. Astoundingly, the writers still had to stretch to get the story rolling, despite it being set up perfectly and easily.
The movie picks up immediately afterwards, as the Army drives the dead body of Eve (the Second Natasha Alien) home to the research station. One guy, who looks and sounds like he should have been played by Lance Henriksen, narrates some flashbacks, and punctuates them by pulling a gun on his co-driver (co-pilot?) “What are you, back from Iraq?” asks the shocked co-driver. It sounds like this movie forgot it was taking place right after the last one, but the writers actually remembered the second one took place in the future, so there is plenty of time for Iraq veterans to go loco and get a reputation for being the Postal Workers of the 21st Century. Narrator/Driver has no time to narrate his way to stealing the truck, as the co-driver is quickly killed by the boy alien in the backseat. Driver gets out and carefully heads to the back, where we see the movie sprang for 10 minutes of Natasha Henstridge, which must have cost half the budget. The dirty alien kid just stares at Driver while he watches the dead Eve body give birth to a baby girl (via a balloon expanding from her stomach) and Driver snatches the baby to run off. The kid (and all of the kids that Space Astronaut made in the last film) look like dirty white trash babies, but always remind me of when I was in college, and one day a Dark Ages “Christian” activist and his family arrived, complete with giant signs condemning us all to Hell, and preceded to yell, scream, taunt, and blame every person on campus, spouting how we would all burn. He had like five or six kids with him, including some younger boys who were look-wise and dress-wise identical to the kids from Species II. As it was my first major exposure to ultra-insane religious nuts who make normal Christians cringe and do nothing but drag faith through the mud, it was a memorable experience.
So we got an Army Driver running in the woods with a baby Alien, a small boy alien running around, and the Army in hot pursuit of all of them. The Army finds nothing. Good job, Army! The Army sends it’s toughest guy, Bald Guy, to head the investigation, as none of the other regulars returned.
Enough of that plot buildup, it’s time to introduce the college heartthrob character, grad school super-genius Dean. Back at some place…they kept the cat! Or did they? I though it was the same cat, but the cat just gets killed and nothing else is ever said. So was it the same cat? I like to think not, and there is a race of alien/cat hybrids running around, who can only be stopped by the cat equivalents of Forrest Whittaker, Michael Madsen, and Bubba. Back in the movie, Dean is hard at work developing a fusion reactor. He’s also hard at work being late for biology class, which is taught by…The Army Truck Driver???? Now there’s a twist I didn’t figure on. Professor Truck Driver doesn’t take kindly to late students, and he gets the third degree, and labeled a “speciesist” for his views on viruses not being the perfect organisms. Dean is also familiar to viewers of these direct to DVD sequels to actual movies, this is the forth one he’s been in, actor Robin Dunne was also in Cruel Intentions 2(with lesbian twins in the shower), American Psycho II: All American Girl, and The Skulls II. Fifth is Au Pair II counts. He looks like they wanted Josh Hartnett for the role, but had to settle for this third rate actor who seems to imitate a young Ron Livingston in all his scenes.
Young Dean soon gets yelled at by the school’s Dean (this movie gives the public what it wants: Deans by the truckfull!) Dean Smug British Guy tells Dean that his fusion project will have all his funds cut next month. Dean Smug blames it on being expensive, but one would think that an actual working fusion reactor would rake in money from venture capitalists. Dean needs to learn how to sell better, as he seems to be in charge of the project without a professor, highly unusual for grad school, but maybe he got one of those old professors who never do anything. Dean Smug demands Dean get a new professor and get on his payroll or else he’s out of school. Professor Truck Driver overhears this conversation, then heads home to find the dead cat, and little alien girl wandering around his basement. They have some Red Lobster, as there is no dinner as sweet as one paid for by a large corporation so their name can be on the big screen. Big screen if your DVD player is hooked up to a large TV, it seems. Alien Girl gets a name, Sara.
Back at school, Professor Truck Driver avoids Dean Smug as he’s in funding trouble as well, and gets a visit from the alien boy in the ambulance. He’s grown up now, overweight, bald, wearing glasses, and incredibly sick. This is like two days later, so he’s not only fully matured, but he got a prescription filled somewhere. I hope he went to Pearl and got his glasses in about an hour, as that’s like five years alien time. He wants to know where the alien girl is, so he can bone her. Alien chicks are much like Earth chicks and don’t really want to have sex with people dying of super allergy attacks. Professor Truck Driver also knows she won’t be boning anyone sick, as he’s seen the last movies. He injects the Boy Alien with anti-histamines, causing the vinegar and baking soda the makeup artist put beneath his mask to mingle together in a facemelting effect. Boy Alien dies, and tentacles flop out of his belly. Exciting stuff.
Professor Truck Driver shows this to Dean after convincing Dean to be his student. Now we have motivation for the main characters to be together. Back home, Sara enters puberty and sets up her cocoon, emerging as Sara 2.0. After two seconds of emergence from her slimy cocoon, her hair is perfectly styled and makeup appears. She’s also obviously had some surgery to up her cup size, I guess the Alien Cocoon and the superior DNA covers all possible bases. Dean Smug soon arrives at the house to snoop around, and comes across Sara who’s just wandering around naked. Sara’s first inclination is to jump his bones, but soon realizes he’s just an inferior human, and not a very good looking one at that. She rebukes him, which Dean Smug doesn’t take lightly, and he soon becomes Dean Attempted Rapist. After incurring her wrath, he’s soon Dean Killed by Alien Tentacles. Sara wanders off and actually finds some clothes, and Professor Driver and Dean return home to find a dead body, empty cocoon, and missing alien girl. Professor Driver figures out she won’t be sexing up any of the locals, so it’s pretty safe to let her wander around. Since she is 3/4 alien, she needs her partner to be part alien in order to keep up the genes. They dump the dead Dean’s body in the swamp.
Sara has a fruitless adventure gallivanting about town, being hit on by dumb jock fratboys who she tosses aside thirty or forty feet, “You don’t want the tongue” she says to one of the maroons. Eventually she is alone sitting in the rain, and given a ride home by conspiracy guru Colleen, who we heard during the opening credits. Returning home, she detects the presence of an alien guy, one of the half-breeds, who is on a train with a bag full of medicine to keep him from dying. She chases after the train, but gets electrified, falls, and loses an arm (which quickly regrows, scaring Colleen away.) Half-breed on the train is all excited, but not excited enough to jump off the moving train. He must be on the way to a drifter convention or something. So Sara goes home. Exciting stuff.
A short time later, Drifter Half-breed returns to town, and he gets to second base with Sara before she realizes he’s sick as well. He’s all “don’t abandon us!” and she’s all “Whatever!” Returning home again, Dean teaches her chess, which she masters by just holding a book on chess. Dean goes back to his dorm, where his roommate Hastings (who should have been played by Justin Long) shows him the Biological Sciences’ Website, which has been hacked by a woman named Amelia who is looking for a man who can give her some throbbing hard data on protoplastic cell suspension. Bald Army Guy returns for five seconds to note that sites all over the country have been hacked. Back to the movie. Dean returns to the house, where they are getting more bloodtests from Sara (Read: Excuse to show her naked again) when suddenly an alien jumps through the vents and starts his Rape Attack! Professor Driver pulls Dean out of the room, revealing he’s gassing the aliens and will kill them both. Dean is dismayed because that will kill off the eggs they need from Sara, until Professor Driver tells him he took out all of her eggs a few days ago. Dean still wants to save her because he thinks she’s cute, so he goes in and gets beaten up. Professor Driver also goes in, but he gets killed by the Half-breed, who also dies. He reverts back to human form so we can see he was the drifter on the train. Dean gives Professor Driver a Viking-style funeral, burning his body on a boat using chemistry. Meanwhile, Roommate Hastings has givin Amelia data he stole from Dean, so she’s coming to visit the campus.
We meet Amelia at a gas station, driving her fancy sports car, while the creepy attendants make stumbling passes at her. One just wanders into the bathroom she’s in to continue the slimy-talk. This seems to work, as she screws him…..TO DEATH! She gets to the school and starts making the moves on Hastings, and trying to see his data (the data that is really Dean’s) when she figures out the truth. Hasting tries to cover, but Dean arrives from jogging in time to overhear her, and runs down to a female student’s dormroom and locks her outside! The female student is quickly killed by Amelia, who was giving chase. Amelia is about to break down the door when she detects Sara in town, and Sara detects her. So Amelia runs off with Hastings. Meanwhile, Dean walks out of the dorm room with a bat, gets his footprints all over the dead student’s blood, drops the bat with his fingerprints on it in the blood, and wanders off. CSI: Miami is going to have an interesting episode this season, I bet! Dean sees Hastings being dragged away, but is contacted by a car containing Bald Army Guy. Bald Army Guy seems to have been patterned as a mix between Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle, so think of him as a bald Morgan Cheadle.
At the house, Hastings gets a spine to the crotch for not immediately figuring out the thousands of pieces of data left behind by Professor Driver and Dean, and is told to work quickly. Sara is back as well, watching with interest. Dean and Bald Army Guy talk, Bald Army Guy explains that after the last two alien problems there were Congressional Hearings and other problems that he’s not going to go through again, so this time it will be kept quiet. Number One: This movie takes place a few days after the last one, so there is no way Congress could have acted that fast to have hearings. Congress can’t even pass legislation making sex with animals illegal across the country, why does this movie think they can quickly do secret alien investigations? Number Two: As this is a good sign of a pervasive alien infestation, including the presence of more half-breeds from the previous invasion, why be quiet about it and let the aliens run around, kill people and sex up women so they explode fast growing babies? It doesn’t make any sense to just creep around while your species could be made extinct. After several hours of getting data and rehashing plot points already established, Bald Army Guy and Dean leave to go back ot the house to try and rescue Hastings. Luckily for them, Campus Security is about as competent as every other campus, and have failed to arrive to investigate the dead woman lying in a pool of blood in the hallway, so they just stroll out.
Hastings figures out how to make a pure strain of alien by reading the notes, and is about to inject some eggs with pure strain, when Bald Army Guy throws a gas bomb into the house. Hasting runs out with the thermos that has all of Sara’s eggs in it, while Amelia gets horribly burned by the gas and now resembles Freddy Krueger.
“Dude, I shouldn’t have sent that email!”
That’s right, Dude!
Sara gives chase, and they head towards the power plant from the beginning that had the fusion reactor. If you are thinking that soon some aliens are going to be fusion soup, you are right on. First, we need a cat and mouse scene as the heroes run around the plant, being chased by the aliens, and security guards functions as the cheap, quick deaths. The rapid quickcuts prevent you from knowing where anyone is, they could all be in the same room or something. Sara seems to have gained wuxia powers of Kung Fu in Alien form, as she flies up in the air. She must have been holding a Shaw Brother’s DVD and absorbed the knowledge. The heroes play “keep away” with her egg thermos, and toss it to Dean, who heads toward the reactor while Hastings and Bald Army Guy head to the control room. Dean turns on the reactor, while Hastings does his job of explaining what is going on to Bald Army Guy, which doubles as explaining what is going on to the audience. Bald Army Guy does his job of repeating “Dammit, Dean, Stick to the plan!” or similar screed, which I think we were supposed to be feeling as well, but as an audience member of this film I failed to care at this point. Dean’s reaction could overload and blow up the entire Earth. Amelia returns, her and Sara fight over whether to kill Dean, while the egg Thermos has fallen into the open reactor. Sara and Amelia then topple over, also falling in. Dean shuts the reactor door just in time, as a few seconds later and he would have destroyed the entire planet. Good thing they had a grad student in charge of such an explosive device, huh?
Well, they cover it up thanks to Bald Army Guy, who blames everything on Dean Smug. Three weeks later, Hasting returns to the home, to find a little boy, and Sara, and Dean! So it turns out Sara didn’t fall in, despite us seeing her fall in. She was hanging on to a railing or something, Dean found her and sent her home, then made her a boyfriend. Her and her new studmuffin now are set to depart, and Dean and Hastings see them off. Dean waits until the last possible second to ask Sara why she stopped Amelia from killing him, and she doesn’t answer. They wander off, while Hastings is mad at Dean for allowing them to live on, thus breaking out of his “speciesist” label from earlier in the film.
Also the boyfriend is sterile! Dean fixed him up good. Yuk Yuk Yuk! Well, once a speciesist, always a speciesist, I guess. The camera pans upwards on a railroad bridge, to…1902!!!! The horror! Wait, that means nothing. What the heck was going through the director’s mind at this point? Is Species IV going to be set in 1902? Are there 1902 aliens running around on Earth? Is 1902 code for “not sterile”? Was 1902 the films budget? This is the most interesting and mysterious thing about the film, and they answer nothing about it. 1902. I’ll 1902 the director if I can ever get my hands on him. I don’t care if he directed episodes of 24! Wait, 1902/24=79.25! A ha! I see your plan now….
Rated 4/10 (They’re already here!, Sex is deadly business, tongue happy, Get to the Reactor!)
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