Child’s Play 3 is the last of the films that focuses primarily on Chucky’s relentless pursuit of Andy’s soul, before the franchise reinvents itself and goes completely cuckoo bananas in the best way possible, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is a solid entry, taking place a few odd years after the second film, with a teenage Andy (Justin Whalen, with heavy young Eddie Furlong vibes) yanked out of the foster care system and shipped off to military school. Chucky is still somehow back from the dead once again, resurrected in a slick opening credit sequence that features “plastic anatomy regrowth” effects that look like they inspired Brandon Cronenberg for some of the gooier stuff he put into his film Possessor. Now, military school is never a fun place to be in movies and I imagine it wouldn’t be very great in real life either, Andy has it tough because this particular venture is run by a power mad wannabe hairdresser sergeant played by Andy Robinson, who is great at being an absolutely unhinged loony, as we know from his turn as the zodiac killer in Dirty Harry. The rest of his fellow boot campers aren’t so nice either, apart from one girl (Perrey Reeves from Entourage, lovely here) who takes a shine to him until inevitable romantic sparks fly for a winning couple dynamic. Chucky arrives on scene after brutally butchering the amoral CEO of the toy company (Peter Haskell) that made his perennial rubber avatar and promptly but stealthily murders a garbage truck driver, arousing Andy’s suspicions that he’s finally tracked him down once again. The kills here and general arc at the military camp are fun enough, with the eventual villain’s confrontation between him and Robinson’s certifiable big boss a delirious, diabolically suspenseful set piece involving the world’s most disastrous botched straight razor shave. The film kicks into spectacular gear for the finale though, set in a giant abandoned amusement park in the nearby area, a hectic, hallucinatory howl of a showdown complete with underground roller coasters, tons of multicoloured lighting and acres of billowing dry ice, it’s a huge stylistic exhale after the drab visual palette of the military academy and lets Chucky and those trying to end him truly go nuts and play around with space, lighting and effects. It also has a ruthless send-off for this demon dolly involving some sort of giant industrial fan with big sharp blades, it’s a satisfyingly gory final death (of many this little fucker has bounced back from) for him and a nice cap off the last of the “Chucky vs. Andy” films in the canon, before new territories are charted. Great stuff.
Bruce Willis, for whatever reason, is determined to go the schlocky B movie route these days and has been cranking them out with stunning punctuality and frequency. Last year he did a “body snatchers in space” style one called Breach which I actually kind of enjoyed and now he has a new one called… “Cosmic Sin”, which sounds like a flavour of Axe Body Spray. Well… and I just know I’m going to catch major shit for this, but I didn’t hate this one either, as slipshod, incoherent and cheap as it is. Willis once again plays a legendary military leader who has fallen from grace. Once called “the blood general” for dropping a mega-bomb on an entire species to eradicate them before a war could break out, he’s been dragged out of his favourite bar (complete with robot bartenders, I must excitedly note) for One Last Mission: first contact with another aggressive alien species has been established and the leaders of what’s left of humanity want him to spearhead a deadly preemptive strike in order to avoid intergalactic war, an operation called ‘cosmic sin’ that should have been called ‘operation I’ll fucken do it again.’ It’s basically sanctioned genocide, and an odd idea for a story but I suppose it makes sense, if the species in question is hostile and nasty enough to warrant it. So he blasts off in a special quantum leap suit to the forest moon of Ellora with several others including his longtime sidekick (Corey Large, also responsible for writing and producing these things), a battle hardened veteran (Costas Mandylor and a surprisingly good British accent), a lab tech (Adelaide Kane) in charge of handling their ‘Q-Bomb,’ a hotheaded rookie (Brandon Thomas Lee, who is Pam Anderson & Tommy Lee’s kid), a foxy scientist (Perrey Reeves) who has vague romantic history with Willis and Frank Grillo as yet another military badass. The film consists of lots of murky pseudo-scientific and political expository dialogue, clunky gunfights in cheap looking mecha-suits, half mumbled lines from Willis, lots of running, shooting, neon lights, a pulsating video game type score and eventual aliens that look like regular people in Spirit Halloween costumes. I’m not gonna lie, the thing sucks hard, but if you’re a trash aficionado like me, it sucks in… just the right way (I realize after typing that how it sounds). It’s the kind of breezy junk food cinema you’d find playing at 2am on SyFy in the glorious early 2000’s in between reruns of Xena, and honestly sometimes I miss those days. I think the fact that it has Willis in it, and that people aren’t quite used to him in fare like this yet (you’ll come around, don’t worry. It happened to Pacino and DeNiro too lol) is why it’s being *especially* shredded and roasted in reviews. And yeah, its shitty, but it’s fun shitty, and I need those type of films on my menu just as much as all the rest. Oh and one more thing: I have to give this extra points for having maybe my favourite written line in any film of 2021. As one character tries to reassure another who has been shot and is bleeding out, he literally says “Don’t even think about dying, or I’ll fucking kill you.” *That*, my friends, is what cinema is all about.