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Scanners III: The Takeover(1991)
A young female scanner turns from a sweet young thing into a murderous, power-crazed villain after she takes an experimental drug developed by her father. Her brother, who is also a scanner, is the only one powerful enough to stop her.
For more about Scanners III: The Takeover and the Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray release, see Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 10, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 1.5 out of 5.
Starring: Liliana Komorowska, Valérie Valois, Steve Parrish, Colin Fox (I), Daniel Pilon, Peter Wight
Director: Christian Duguay
» See full cast & crew
Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 10, 2013
Note: This film is currently available only in the double feature Scanners II: The New Order / Scanners III: The Takeover.
David Cronenberg wasn't quite yet "David Cronenberg" when he made the original Scanners in 1981 (currently available on Blu-ray only on a number of import releases, including this United Kingdom version, a German version, and this Japanese version). But Scanners was the first major mainstream success Cronenberg experienced, and it introduced many viewers to the deliberately skewed and often disturbing vision of this future auteur. My hunch is that this early in Cronenberg's career, he simply didn't have the clout to effectively control his own creation, and so some decidedly un-Cronenbergian talents came along to offer two unrelated (either to the original or frankly to each other) sequels. Neither film has Cronenberg's sensibility, nor the flash and flair that Cronenberg regularly brings to his projects. Scanners II: The New Order is marginally better than Scanners III: The Takeover (which also had the alternate title of Scanner Force), but its an incremental difference at best. Still, as with virtually every horror film that has appeared since the dawn of time, both of these films have attained a certain cult status with some viewers, and Scream Factory has now released both of them on a double feature Blu-ray, a bare bones release that contains no supplements or even any menu choices other than the option of which film to play.
Scanners III: The Takeover stands as Exhibit A in the law of diminishing returns when it comes to sequels. This is a bargain basement effort on all counts, one that completely divorces itself from the Cronenberg effort in all but title and has only the most tangential relationship to Scanners II: The New Order courtesy of the repeated plot point of Scanners who have been unknowingly adopted. Once again there's a concerned doctor, in this case Dr. Monet (Colin Fox), who thinks he has finally come up with a drug regimen which can cure the Scanners of their worst symptoms (like making other peoples' heads explode).
Monet's daughter Helena (Liliana Komorowska) is a Scanner who takes a sip of the drug and more or less instantaneously transforms into a combo sex kitten serial murderer. Helena's brother Alex (Steve Parrish) is also a Scanner but has gone a New Age (actually way Old Age) route to help with his "issues", by becoming a Buddhist. You can tell he's a Buddhist not just because he's in a Zen monastery surrounded by robed masters, but mostly because he carries around a textbook on Buddhism.
Helena's megalomania has some unexpected side effects (not to mention a certain body count), and in what is probably Scanners III's one innovative plot point, she figures out she can control the planet through television broadcasts (didn't Oprah do that already?). Alex of course figures out he has to stop that useless meditating and jump back into action to prevent his sister from totally wreaking havoc.
Scanners III: The Takeover is the most hyperbolic of the sequels, which works both toward the film's benefit and detriment. There's such a ridiculous vibe running through this film that it's hard not to just sit back and laugh at it, but that also means that there is no (as in zilch, zip, nada) suspense here. Who cares if Helena controls an army of evil Scanners or not, as long as she keeps stripping and posing provocatively in a hot tub? Strangely, much as Scanners II did with the Deborah Raffin character, Scanners III waits a good long while to finally really get into Alex's part in the plot. Whether this was a deliberate strategy on the part of these actors' agents is unknown; maybe a Scanner could help me figure it out.
Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray, Video Quality
Scanners III: The Takeover is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factor (an imprint of Shout! Factory) with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. It's probably only appropriate that this shoddiest of the Scanners films features the worst looking video. This, like its immediate predecessor, is rather soft and pallid looking quite a bit of the time, but this entry is plagued even more by persistent mosquito noise which swarms over the image, especially in darker scenes (see screenshot 18 in the board room for a good example). The softness issue is strangely variable, with the image at least decently precise some of the time and then devolving into much more muddiness seemingly within an instant (take a look at screenshot 6). Balancing that at least somewhat are some rather nice looking special effects as well as one or two filtered scenes (screenshot 5) which look relatively impressive, at least by comparison.
Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As with Scanners II, Scanners III: The Takeover offers a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track that sounds perfectly fine, even without an overabundance of stereo separation. This outing has a bit more of an issue balancing dialogue with a sometimes busy sound design, but things are reasonably clear and well detailed. Fidelity is very good and once again dynamic range is quite wide.
Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No supplements are offered on this Blu-ray disc.
Scanners III: The Takeover Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Scanners III: The Takeover is downright laughable, which may in fact be enough to recommend it to some extremely discriminating types. The acting is beyond campy, the storyline is borderline ludicrous and the relationship to Cronenberg's Scanners boils down to a kinship defined by name only. This Blu-ray has pretty problematic video, which even fans of this film (are there any?) may find troubling.
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