SCANNERS 3: THE TAKEOVER (1991) Reviews and overview

 

‘Get ready for the ultimate display of brain power.’

Scanners 3: The Takeover is a 1991 Canadian science-fiction horror film about a young woman who takes her father’s experimental F3 drug. Unfortunately, the drug has a side-effect and turns her into a murderous, power-crazed villain. Also released as Scanner Force

Directed by Christian Duguay (ScreamersScanners II: The New Order) from a screenplay co-written by B.J. Nelson, Julie Richard, David Preston and René Malo, based on David Cronenberg’s Scanners characters. Produced by Pierre David and René Malo.

The Malofilm Group-Filmtech Productions movie stars Liliana Komorowska (The Hunger TV series; Screamers), Valérie Valois, Steve Parrish (Grave Matters; Midnight 1989) and Colin Fox.

Review:

Stylistically, Scanners 3: The Takeover is light years removed from the first two films, presumably because the lack of any continuing characters meant that each film had to re-establish itself within the context of audience expectations for a film called ‘Scanners’.

While Scanners 2 had more or less followed the template laid down by the original film, this second sequel throws caution – along with common sense, good taste and any sense of restraint – to the wind and in place of an intelligent science-fiction thriller offers up a spectacularly cheesy exploitation movie.

Opening up with a title scroll which informs us that Scanners have been able to pass their powers down through generations – apparently having been able to raise children regardless of their previously explored social dysfunction. In fact, the film opens up with a party where Scanner guests are encouraged to show their powers as a party trick –  times have indeed changed for the social misfits! But when one such trick goes badly wrong and results in a death, the Scanner responsible heads off to a monastery in Tibet to meditate and learn self-control.

Meanwhile, his Scanner sister is experiencing headaches and agrees to try an experimental new drug which it is hoped will help telepaths deal with the side effects of their condition. However, the drug has a curious side effect itself, turning Helena into a power-crazed megalomaniac who immediately hatches a plan to have Scanners under her control take over the world.

It must be said that by all commonly accepted standards, Scanners 3 is rubbish. Any abilities that Christian Duguay showed in the previous film are lost here as the film flounders under a mish-mash of awful dialogue, ludicrous over-acting and sub-standard special effects. The fact that it took three writers is frankly astonishing.

However… once you accept that this is not going to be a cerebral experience, Scanners 3 is unquestionably entertaining. Okay, so it’s trash… but it’s lively trash, and the tacky gore effects (yes, there’s an exploding head!), an abundance of cleavage and entirely gratuitous nudity and wild performances from most of the cast (the climatic Scanner battle is a real treat) combine to ensure that this is a genuine six-pack party classic.

Special mention must go to Liliana Komorowska who is suitably sexy and thoroughly villainous as she unleashes her evil plan, vamping it up in a variety of ridiculous outfits. Her character seems to have strolled in from a Sixties Eurotrash superhero film and is all the better for it.

David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

” …Scanners III: The Takeover is an amazing sequel. It’s fun, terrifying, sexy, and superbly entertaining. It peters out a bit at the end, but it still strives to be super watchable […] The Takeover is better than The New Order. It has nothing to do with the superior Scanners, but it’s still worth seeing.” 411 Mania

” …extremely silly, and a fair amount of the running time is devoted to actors making funny faces at one another as they engage in scanning. It’s at least good for a few laughs, though. No one will ever suggest that Scanners III is anywhere close to being on par with Cronenberg’s original, but there is certainly a respectable amount of corny B-movie fun contained within it.” The Aisle Seat

“On the one hand it is Scanners-lite in nature, lacking the darker, grittier undertones of Cronenberg’s original and the slick special effects of Scanners II, but it does hit enough familiar beats to keep it all in the same universe and offer you a relatively easy watching experience that still gives you exploding heads and pulsating veins as well as some pace.” Ancient Slumber

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.” Blu-ray.com

“The performances are okay and some of the gore effects are well done. The score sounds a little dated but otherwise works for the most part. Sometimes the film’s low budget shines through but most seasoned horror movie fans won’t have much of a problem with that […] It’s disjointed and sloppy; though to its credit, it does have a few effective moments…” DVD Talk

” …while the shift toward comedy is dubious, Scanners 3: The Takeover shows off much more gore and at least has more of a personality than its predecessor, with Komorowska turning in an undeniably spirited performance that’s really hard to dislike.  If you catch this in the right mood, you might find yourself having an unexpectedly good time with it.” Good Efficient Butchery

“It’s filled with all sorts of actual kung-fu and an epic scanner vs scanner showdown for the ages. Absolutely nothing like the original film but completely original and fun in its own right…” Morbidly Beautiful

Scanners III is a blast; sure, it’s far removed from Cronenberg’s original and shares even less of its DNA than the first sequel (which is wholly ignored here), but its gloriously scatterbrained contraption that even has the pretense of some social commentary since it pits the holistic, spiritual East against the corporate, drug-addicted West. Never has this conflict been so goddamn goofy…” Oh, the Horror!

“There are really about three movies here – and we’ve seen ’em all before. Scanners III does get a G for gonzo award though. It’s a mess – but a pretty watchable one and Lilliana is definitely easy on the eyes.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“Lots of ideas are left half-baked; the doubtlessly honourable intentions of commenting on mass media manipulation […] and the need to seek a simpler life for a chance of internal happiness are interesting but never fitfully explored. Complete with naff voiceover from the lead character, it has to be said that The Takeover is almost awesomely bad. I loved it…” SGM

“When there’s a high-speed chase on the screen involving a motorcycle and a school bus, you don’t need any explanation, you just enjoy it. Sure, Scanners III is shit, but it’s enjoyable shit and I just can’t get down too hard on a film that marries martial arts and telepathy, even one that does so poorly.” Silver Emulsion Film Reviews

“This is a popcorn movie. It’s a visual disaster but an entertaining one; more entertaining than Part 2, that is. The “scanners” are finally elevated to the state of superheroes. They’re treated like super mutants. What’s more, the psychic gimmick is sporadically being turned into slapstick comedy.” Tales of Terror

“Amazingly this was shot back-to-back with Scanners II (1991) but feels like it was made years later. It shares none of the cast, none of the atmosphere, none of the storyline and even the special effects are completely different and much more cartoonish. It also relies heavily on comedy and runs fast and loose with the premise as created by Cronenberg’s original.” Video Junkie

“Overall, this is an astonishingly enjoyable romp. Yes, it’s a complete mess, and yes it’s nuttier than a snickers bar but in comparison to the enormously lacklustre Scanners 2 it’s huge fun. The reason being is that it’s a full-on piece of schlock and one of the more entertaining ones that I’ve seen recently.” Werewolves on the Moon

“The film focuses more on being carried by its action beats than trying to delve into psychological morals and whatnot that aren’t really that deep in the first place. There’s no shallow mystery here that feels like you’re in a DMV waiting room to get to the solution. It doesn’t spend its time trying to be smart or change the way we see movies, it just sets out to entertain. And entertain it does.” Why So Blu?

Choice dialogue:

Helena Monet: “Let’s make it with the naked nasty.”

Thomas Drake: “Hey Alex! It’s a long way from Baumann’s clinic, huh?”

Cast and characters:

Liliana Komorowska … Helena Monet
Valérie Valois … Joyce Stone
Steve Parrish … Alex Monet
Colin Fox … Elton Monet
Daniel Pilon … Michael
Peter Wright … Mark Dragon
Sith Sekae … Monk
Harry Hill … Doctor Baumann
Claire Cellucci … Suzy
Michael Copeman … Mitch
Chip Chuipka … Thomas Drake
Jean Frenette … Max
Sylvain Beauchamps … Rufus
Gaston Perreault … Bennie
Michel Perron … Charlie

Filming locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada
Thailand

Filming dates:

24th October 1990 – 21st December 1990

Technical details:

101 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Dolby Stereo

Notes:

Filmed back-to-back with Scanners II: The New Order.

Promoted as Scanners III: The Takeover

Trailer:

Supercut:

Clips: