Scanners III: The Takeover (1992)

Scanners III: The Takeover (1992)
AKA Scanner Force, Mastermind – Total Kontroll

Starring Liliana Komorowska, Valérie Valois, Steve Parrish, Colin Fox, Daniel Pilon, Peter Wright, Sith Sekae, Harry Hill, Claire Cellucci, Michael Copeman

Directed by Christian Duguay

Expectations: Moderate. I hope it’s as fun as Part 2.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


There’s no way around it, Scanners III: The Takeover is a shitty movie. Its story is lackluster (but not without potential), and its characters start out with a lot of promise that quickly fizzles away as they settle into the molds they’ll be in for the rest of the film. It’s like the filmmakers had the idea of character arcs, but then got bored and said “Fuck it.” So why isn’t the film rated lower, you ask? That’s simple. Scanners III delivers a lot of over-the-top bullshit of the variety I enjoy immensely, and in these cases I’m always willing to forgive a lot.

The film opens with a party in a high-rise apartment. It feels like an ’80s party, but everyone’s a little more reserved and no one’s snorting cocaine off the mirrors… no one we can see anyway. One thing leads to another and some of the partygoers begin arguing the existence of scanners. Alex, our hero, is talked into proving that they do exist, and he moves his buddy slowly across the room with his mind. Some jovial asshole grabs his shoulder, breaks his concentration and Alex’s friend goes careening out of the window to his death. Stricken with grief and unable to come to terms with what his powers have done, Alex does the only thing someone looking for solace did in the ’80s/’90s. He went to study martial arts, of course. And Alex didn’t just go around the block to the local Taekwondo studio, he went to Thailand! My mind immediately reeled at the possibilities of a martial arts Scanners film.

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Scanners II: The New Order (1991)

Starring David Hewlett, Deborah Raffin, Yvan Ponton, Isabelle Mejias, Tom Butler, Raoul Trujillo, Vlasta Vrana, Murray Westgate, Doris Petrie, Dorothée Berryman, Michael Rudder

Directed by Christian Duguay

Expectations: Low. I went back and forth about watching the sequels, as I wasn’t terribly hot on the original.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


A rogue scanner enters a video arcade and starts playing Operation Wolf… with his mind! He easily masters the silly game, moving on to play a game of pinball at the same time. But that’s not enough to satisfy his gaming urges, and soon the maniacal lunatic is controlling all the games in the arcade. They explode in a shower of hot, white sparks and the man leaves, seeking refuge in an abandoned warehouse full of mannequins. In Scanners this introductory period was concerned with setting up our hero, but here the focus is on our villain. We don’t know he’s the villain just yet, but anyone with eyes that wild ain’t gonna be talking Grandma’s kitty down from the tree with his telepathic powers.

The villain was the most interesting character in Scanners, and the same is true of Scanners II. This guy doesn’t get near enough screen time, though, which is a real shame. When the film finally gets around to introducing us to David, the hero, we find that once again he’s a boring, average guy that’s just learning to harness his psychic powers. Y’know guys, there is enough room in a movie for two interesting characters, you don’t have to pour everything worthwhile into one. In any case, this everyman is meant to be our shepherd in this updated (to the 90s) urban world of the scanners, which we know is the near future because even the police water coolers are highlighted with blue, glowing neon.

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