In case you fell asleep at any point during its two predecessors (or perhaps anticipating that you would during this instalment), SCANNERS 3 opens with a text introduction explaining what the titular characters are: children (and grandchildren) of women who took experimental drugs in the 1940s while pregnant. The kids were found to suffer from migraines and other, more debilitating ailments - but also exhibited evidence of extraordinary telekinetic powers...

Then we're brought up-to-date in the early 1990s where meet Alex (Steve Parrish), a smug git with horrible clothes and slick hair who's enjoying a Christmas party with friends in a swanky penthouse apartment one night. He's gifted with said psychic powers of persuasion, and is given to showing off gentle examples of them for his mates' entertainment. Unfortunately he's distracted while telekinetically making a pal slide slowly backwards. His subsequent misjudgement sends the fella flying through the window and crashing to the ground several storeys below.

Alex is gutted. So much so that he races off on a soul-searching journey across the globe before settling into a monastery in Thailand where he hopes converting to Buddhism will help him to better understand and harness his power.

In the meantime, back at home, Alex's sister Helena (Liliana Komorowska) is suffering from severe headaches as a side-effect of her own scanning abilities. Her foster parent, Elton (Colin Fox), is coincidentally a scientist researching the development of a drug that will make life more bearable for scanners. The drug he's fashioned is in patch format but, we're told, is still very much in its 'test' stages.

That doesn't stop Helena from helping herself to it one evening when Elton's otherwise occupied. Sure enough, Helena awakes the next morning with none of the pain she had the previous evening. But there's a laughable sneer on her face now, and her once-sweet demeanour is further shattered when she telekinetically blows a pigeon up for shitting on her. Helena has been turned evil!

Helena now has desires to conquer the world with her powers. All she needs is the support of other scanners. Luckily, she knows where to find them: in Dr Baumann's (Harry Hill) laboratory, where he's been experimenting on them. Following the film's sole head explosion scene (a brief one at that), Helena delivers a rousing speech which successfully gets the other scanners on side - and wearing patches similar to hers.

Oh dear, who can save the world from Helena's steadily growing army? Luckily, Elton's attorney Michael (Daniel Pilon) is quick to deduce what's been happening - leading him to seek out Alex in a bid to pitch him in a war against his sister...

Christian Duguay, director of SCANNERS 2: THE NEW ORDER, returns to oversee events on this occasion. Again, this results in something that looks like a feature-length TV episode from the early 90s (ugly, unimaginative cinematography; bland characters; awful haircuts; shit dialogue delivered by even shitter actors; low-rent FX work etc; a brilliantly bad motorcycle chase sequence).

The opening tragedy is unintentionally hilarious, setting the viewer up perfectly for the idiocy that is to follow. There's no fluency or consistency to the script. The horrible music, all sub-"Miami Vice" synths and lead guitars, is truly painful too.

There are five people credited with co-writing the screenplay, which probably accounts for why it's such a muddled mess for the most part. Lots of ideas are left half-baked; the doubtlessly honourable intentions of commenting on mass media manipulation (a later sub-plot finds Helena attempting to control people's minds en masse via the power of television) 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, but wouldn't dare recommend it to my friends.

Best bit of the film? That bit during the opening credits when you realise one of the cast is called Harry Hill. But don't get your hopes up; it's not THAT Harry Hill...

Like its predecessors, David Cronenberg's cult classic SCANNERS and its belated (unnecessary?) sequel THE NEW ORDER, THE TAKEOVER makes its UK blu-ray debut thanks to those increasingly genre-friendly chaps at Second Sight.

The film is presented uncut in an MPEG4-AVC encode. Presented in full 1080p high definition resolution, the 16x9 picture preserves the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and makes for a minor improvement over the visual quality of THE NEW ORDER's transfer. Colours are still less bright than some may demand of HD, but images are smooth and relatively crisp while blacks are more solid here and close-up scenes can't fail to impress in terms of detail. Fine grain is evident throughout.

English audio is provided in LPCM 2.0 and 5.0 Master HD mixes. Both are free from cause for concern, as are the optional English subtitles for the hard of hearing.

The disc opens to an animated main menu page. From there, a pop-up scene selection menu allows access to the film via 16 chapters.

As with THE NEW ORDER, there are no extra features on offer.

Second Sight originally intended to release the SCANNERS trilogy as a single proposition. I imagine the second and third instalments of the series would shift more units that way. But, would you really want them sullying the altogether superior (though, in my opinion, hardly brilliant) original in such fashion?

The choice is yours as to whether you'd want SCANNERS 3: THE TAKEOVER sitting amongst your collection...

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Second Sight
Region B
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review