Sunny Mabrey in Species III

Species III

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The early 2000s saw a surge in straight-to-DVD sequels for various franchises, thanks to the rise of DVDs. Iconic series like “Hellraiser“, “American Pie“, “Scorpion King”, and “Universal Soldier” jumped on this trend, with mixed results. Even blockbuster hits from years past suddenly found themselves getting low-key direct-to-video (DTV) sequels. Did you know there’s a “Kindergarten Cop 2” starring Dolph Lundgren? So it’s no shocker that the “Species” franchise eventually followed suit, with “Species III” being the first of two DTV sequels that came out without much hype or fanfare.

In “Species III”, the story continues with Sara, the genetically engineered daughter of Eve, who escapes from government containment after her birth. As she navigates the world, Sara begins to understand her unique heritage and the potentially devastating consequences of her alien DNA. A rogue scientist, Dr. Abbot, captures her and plans to use her to create a new, unstoppable species. As Sara discovers her own power and identity, she must choose whether to embrace her alien instincts or align with her human side to prevent a new wave of alien hybrids from threatening humanity.

While most DTV releases tend to stray from their cinematic roots, “Species III” connects quite closely with the events at the end of “Species II“. Natasha Henstridge makes a cameo as Eve during the opening scene, which directly continues the story from the previous movie, showing her giving birth to an alien hybrid. Including Henstridge and attempting to maintain a coherent storyline is commendable, especially when compared to lackluster sequels like “Kindergarten Cop 2”, which merely rehash the original plot on a much smaller budget.

Robert Knepper in Species III

Eve’s daughter, who names herself Sara, has a different upbringing compared to Sil from the first movie; she’s raised in a home by Abbot instead of being confined to a laboratory. Though “raising” might be a bit of a stretch, given that the alien species grows at a rate of six inches a day. It doesn’t take long before Sara enters a cocoon and emerges as a stunning young woman. With her new adult body comes the inevitable urge to mate, creating complications—ordinary humans can’t meet her alien standards, and the other hybrids are slowly dying due to their vulnerability to human viruses.

Abbot enlists one of his students, Dean, to assist him in studying Sara and, incidentally, to help with the cleanup when she leaves a corpse or two in her wake. Dean’s relationship with Sara grows from purely professional to a more personal connection, even though it’s challenging for him to maintain that line given Sara’s stunning appearance and her tendency to walk around naked. Meanwhile, there’s another storyline involving Amelia, a fellow hybrid, who’s on a desperate quest to find a cure to stave off the human viruses that are gradually killing her and the other hybrids.

While every “Species” movie revolves around the theme of attractive human-alien hybrids seeking to mate, each film has its own unique vibe. In this installment, most of the action unfolds within Abbot’s home or on other low-budget sets—a clear consequence of the smaller production budget. The overall look is rather flat, reminiscent of the “American Pie Presents” sequels. The cast, primarily composed of actors known for their TV work, further underscores the direct-to-video quality of the film. These factors contribute to a sequel that, while retaining familiar elements, lacks the polish and ambition of its theatrical predecessors.

Robin Dunne and Robert Knepper in Species III

Sunny Mabrey’s portrayal of Sara in “Species III” may serve as an adequate replacement for Natasha Henstridge in terms of physical appearance, but her line delivery is quite flat, lacking the emotional depth required to bring the character to life. Mabrey’s performance seems distant, as if she’s going through the motions without investing much emotion. However, she’s not the only actor struggling to deliver. The rest of the cast is equally underwhelming, with the notable exception of Robert Knepper, best known for his role as T-Bag in “Prison Break”. Knepper stands out as the one actor who appears to be genuinely trying to earn his paycheck, injecting some much-needed energy into his scenes.

Each successive “Species” movie seems to dial down the level of nudity, with the explicitness dropping noticeably compared to the original. In “Species III”, both Sunny Mabrey and Amelia Cooke each have one gratuitous scene where they appear nude, but it’s a far cry from the first “Species“, which heavily exploited Natasha Henstridge’s physicality. The toned-down approach in later films reflects a move away from the original’s shock factor and sensuality, focusing more on story and character development, albeit with mixed results.

“Species III” is more coherent than “Species II“, but it starts with a glaring plot hole. Abbot is initially introduced as one of the soldiers transporting Eve’s body. When the van explodes, he flees with her newborn into the woods, and then the movie abruptly transitions to him as a university professor with deep knowledge of the secret government project because he was involved in it. It’s hard to reconcile how he can be all three at once without explanation.

As a direct-to-video release, “Species III” is an okay film. It won’t attract new fans to the franchise, but it avoids the outright disappointment it could have easily become. Sunny Mabrey is visually appealing, but she lacks the charisma and impact of Natasha Henstridge. Robert Knepper, as the only familiar face, carries much of the acting burden, but the presence of seasoned actors like Ben Kingsley and Forest Whitaker in the first film casts a long shadow over this sequel.

Sunny Mabrey naked in Species III

Species III Poster
Species III Poster
Species III
  • Year:
  • Director:
    • Brad Turner
  • Cast:
    • Robin Dunne
    • Robert Knepper
    • Sunny Mabrey
  • Genres:
    Horror, Sci-Fi
  • Running time:


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