Species III comes from good genes. The original was kind of fun (and starred Ben Kinglsey!), but the first sequel was not as fun. But here comes the second sequel. It has the original alien girl Natasha Henstridge, but her appearance is short (I’ll just leave it at that). The director, Brad Turner, is a veteran of action television shows like 24. Is this direct to DVD release the best one of the “species”? The answer tilts towards the negative.
But Species III has a few things goi…g for it. If you like the gore, there are some nice effects here. In fact, Species III plays like a horror film more than sci-fi. The budget constraints limit the movie to a few locations, so its scope isn’t as broad as the other Species siblings. Sunny Mabrey, who bares a striking resemblance to her alien mother (Henstridge), plays the new daughter. This species chick can kick some serious a$#. And the filmmakers, in this unrated cut, make sure to show off Sunny’s other features (yes, there is above the waist nudity).
The plot is the stuff of comic books, as a college professor (Robert Knepper) and his protégé (Robin Dunne), debate the ethics of genetics. Why should this “half-alien/human” survive? What have we done? Meanwhile, she’s out kicking butt at college keg parties. This movie would be more fun if it didn’t plod along at a snail’s pace. At almost two hours, Species III takes forever to get going. You would think an action director would know how to keep things exciting? But he doesn’t. There’s the situational gore and partial nudity, which seems to be the main reasons someone would want to rent this schlock.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track contains some intermittent surround effects, like alien tongue lashing (and I mean that in a literal sense). There are some nice environmental effects, but that’s really about it. Mainly, this is front heavy mix. Dialogue sounds clear enough. For a Direct to DVD release, it’s a solid audio track. The music isn’t too distracting, which is always nice.
Shot in High Definition video, the1.78:1 anamorphic image looks crystal clear. The transfer is extremely clean, with no grain, specks or flecks. There are very little edge enhancement or halos. My only beef is the format; HiDef looks great in the daytime, but some night shots and interiors come across as a bit cloudy. The colors also come across as muddy, which is somewhat distracting. Good transfer, but the overall look is inconsistent; 1:78:1 ratio is always a bonus though.
There’s a commentary by the director, Brad Turner, along with the writer and Robin Dunne, an actor. This is an informative commentary. Turner talks about the technical specs, Ripley (the writer) talks about how he tried to make the sequel work, and Dunne talks about a few acting concepts. It’s a pretty basic commentary. But at least there is one. Too bad this action director doesn’t explain why the movie is so slow.
There are five featurettes about how Species III was spawned. Each runs about ten minutes long. The featurettes give some good insight in the special effects and offer some behind the scene tidbits. Pretty good, and in surround too.
There are also some interesting behind the scenes photos. If you can’t get enough of alien costumes.
Species III is not the greatest movie. If you like gore and hot alien babes, this could be your flick. But don’t forget to fast forward through the dull bits… There are many.
Special Features List
- Commentary by director Brad Turner, writer Ben Ripley, and Robin Dunne
- Alien Odyssey: Evolution featurette
- Alien Odyssey: Species DNA featurette
- Alien Odyssey: Alien Technology featurette
- Alien Odyssey: Alien Lifeforms featurette
- Behind-the-scenes photo gallery