species_3rating-2.5Species III, a movie in search of yet another cliche to sqeeze in... Foremost on our litany of shame is Ben Ripley, whose fuckheaded writing should be an example to us all. Someone's been dredging all the bad dialgoue from movies like The Skulls and old "mad scientist" movies and tossing it out on the screen (or TV, since this monstrosity is direct-to-video).

Lines like a classmate calling our hero a "speciesist" and chestnuts like "You can't cut the funding!" followed by a college muckity-muck's "I can do whatever I want" just serve to provide us with reasons to hunt down Mr. Ripley and drive a fire extinguisher through his face.

Robert Knepper of "Prison Break" and "Carnivale" is given very little to work with, but adds a dignity to the film that it could never possess otherwise. The actors are actually rather decent, but given nothing but shit to work with doesn't inspire any great performances.

Robin Dunne also has his charm, as he's an enjoyable enough actor. I'll always remember him as Gump in The Big Hit and, fortunately, that sense of humor seems to live on in his acting style.

There's the consolation, I suppose, that Knepper will never have to lower himself to this level any time in the near future.

But I should note the movie, which comes off more as Re-Animator than an alien film. I suppose if you're going to make an alien movie on a low-budget, you have to lower yourself to cliches about mad scientists trying to study the alien and perfect humanity instead of just shooting the thing with a flame thrower.

Now I do have to credit them for continuing the trend of keeping the alien in question blisteringly hot, replacing the sexy Natasha Henstridge with the equally amazing Sunny Mabrey, who, for the sake of Western society, should remain nude as much as possible. I'm not usually one to be particularly interested in women that are only as real to me as my TV, especially if there's no chance of them licking me all over like a Now & Later, but there's something shocking about this particular girl, who was one of the few things about xXx: State Of The Union that didn't cause me to break out into open sores.

But every dream must end and all the hotness is forgotten as the movie shifts back to the two men in their Herbert West-ian mad scientist plot, searching down the uber-hot girl, who is in turn searching for the cock. She wanders back and forth while the menfolk play "alien autopsy" in their basement. Eventually you have girl vs. girl hotness and rubber suits.

The direction isn't awful for its part, maintaining a TV movie-grade level of professionalism, not necessarily even required by the source material. But what do you expect when a theatrical movie series with decent creature effects and a substantial amount of props boils down into straight-to-DVD fodder, done at a minimalist budget?

Though when it comes down to rubber-suit monster fights, I guess it's got a little something to be desired... Especially the cool Geiger monster designs, which are lost on the shitty latex suits that they seem to have quickly drummed up for the film, leaving out much of the really awesome alien biomechanoid design detail.

But at least the movie has some peaks and the acting does make up for many of the severe plot issues. All in all, one could do worse than this series. There's many DTV lines that continue to crank out sequels that aren't even in this realm.

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