An improvement on the previous SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER, this second sequel to David Cronenberg's original combines the usual head-busting action with some effective humor and a heavy dose of style.
Alexa Monet (Steve Parrish) is one of the "scanners" born with telepathic powers as the result of an experimental drug taken by their mothers in the 1950s. While showing off his powers at a party, he accidentally causes the death of a friend, and goes into hiding at a Thai monastery. Two years
later, his adopted sister Helena (Liliana Komorowska) is suffering from migraines. As a result of her own telepathic capabilities, she cannot stop the thoughts of others from entering her mind. Her adoptive father, Dr. Elton Monet (Collin Fox), is working on a treatment, and shows her a sample of
an electronic patch that might be able to quell the "voices" for a 24-hour period.
Despite his warnings that the patch is still in the experimental phase, the anguished Helena tries one on, and soon the "voices" have gone. But she also starts to display a malevolent attitude, and uses her powers to humiliate her sexist boss, Mark Dragon (Peter Wright), in a restaurant. She then
steals Dr. Monet's case of patches and goes to the clinic of Dr. Baumann (Harry Hill), with whom her father had been working and who had once subjected her to sadistic experiments in the interest of "curing" her. She telekinetically blows his head off, then tells the other Scanner patients--who
have been largely reduced to a group of mental defectives--that the patches are their ticket to domination over the "normals" who have oppressed them.
As the patches start to run out, Helena goes to Dr. Monet's place; when he refuses to create more for her, she drowns him in his hot tub and tells his attorney, Michael (Daniel Pilon), that the death was accidental. Concerned about Helena's behavior, and knowing that she stands to inherit control
of Monet Pharmaceuticals, Michael seeks out Alex in Thailand. But one of Helena's scanner thugs follows him there and telepathically sets a group of street fighters on Michael; they kill him, but Alexa realizes what's going on and uses his powers to kill the thugs and the scanner. As he heads for
home, Helena has taken over Monet Pharmaceuticals and plans a ruthless corporate strategy, while assigning Joyce Stone (Valerie Valois), a chemist who was Alexa's girlfriend, to use Dr. Monet's material to figure out how to make more patches.
While seducing a handsome underling at her apartment with the TV on, Helena is startled to find out that she can use a televised signal to control people's minds and realizes she can use this ability to effect her goal of world domination. Upon arriving home, Alexa discovers a tape she's made and,
after nearly falling victim to its influence, realizes what she's up to. He confronts her at her office, but she puts off his suspicions and tells him that Joyce is working at the Baumann Clinic. Going to see her there, Alexa is instead set upon by Helena's scanner thugs, whom he escapes after a
lengthy fight and chase.
Alex goes to Joyce's place, where she confirms his fears that Helena has become megalomaniacal. Alexa is later set upon again by Helena's scanner corps and winds up hospitalized; meanwhile Helena catches Joyce going through her files, and tells her that she's discovered how to manufacture more
patches before putting Joyce under her telepathic control. Alexa escapes from the hospital just as Helena, whose company has taken over a major TV network, plans to broadcast a lethal psychic signal during a football game. Fending off attacks by Helena's thugs and freeing Joyce from her spell,
Alexa fights a terrible psychic duel with his sister. Her patch falls off during the battle and, realizing what has happened and what she's done, Helena electrocutes herself. Alexa and Joyce leave the studio, not noticing that Helena's spirit has entered the TV equipment.
Rather than attempting to improve on Cronenberg's original formula, the makers of SCANNERS III have wisely gone for the approach of having fun with it, creating a fairly outlandish scenario and finding plenty of humorous possibilities in their telepathic characters. The major subplot of Helena
transmitting her psychic vibes over the airwaves is introduced in a very funny scene in which, while in the throes of passion, she influences the host and guest of a TV talk show to start pawing each other. Helena's humiliation of Mark, in which she makes him start disco dancing and ultimately
hurls him into a piano, is also fun, and Komorowska makes Helena a wickedly entertaining villainess without losing the touch of humanity that makes her, ultimately, a sympathetic victim as well.
Director Christian Duguay, who also helmed SCANNERS II, keeps the action fast and furious, from the kickboxing fight in Thailand--a scene clearly influenced by Asian action films--to the lengthy chase between Alexa and the scanner killers, which ends with a spectacular motorcycle stunt and a
well-filmed punchline in which Alexa causes the film series's first underwater exploding head. Duguay and the screenwriters move the story along at a good clip, with clever setups--the first sign of Helena's altered personality is her casual psychic destruction of a bird--and satisfying payoffs,
and a good deal more creativity than one might expect from a film like this. SCANNERS III is still a schlock film at heart, but it's a most entertaining and engaging one. (Violence, profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: An improvement on the previous SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER, this second sequel to David Cronenberg's original combines the usual head-busting action with some effective humor and a heavy dose of style. Alexa Monet (Steve Parrish) is one of the "scanners" b… (more)