Tremors 3: Back to Perfection DVD: Review By B. Alan Orange

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Jimmy Fetus DVD Review 9 - Tremors 3: Back to Perfection

Hey, Kids! Jimmy Fetus here with this week's DVD pick. Gather yourselves around the warm glow of that monitor so I can tell you all about "Back to Perfection!"

Hi. B. Alan is in a transgressional state of flux, and as such, is reissueing all of his old movieweb reviews into this new sight. He has no "real" place for his DVD reviews. So, I've decided to rerun them here, as vintage joints...


(Originally published September, 2001 by B. Alan Orange)

Ever stick a cigarette into the lips of a corpse just for kicks at a funeral? I thought that was director Brent Maddock's intent with this third installment of the long dormant Tremors series. Direct to Video sequels usually taste like Arctic Circle frozen beef that's spent time on the floor.

This new addition to the Blockbuster Marketplace kicks it up a notch. Tremors 3 is a surprisingly well made late-night throwaway. It makes all that time spent in the bedroom alone, watching DVDs, almost seem worthwhile. Anything to get me away from my picked-scab of a roommate, huh? I'd give Father's Day 2 a pass if it meant getting B. Alan out of the living room. When I was handed this neat little package, it came with the encouraging words, "Eh, it's Tremors 3."

Yup, that's exactly what it is, which means it's better than Aftershocks, but not as good as the original. At first glance, turning survivalist Burt Gummer into the series' centrifugal force seems like a wrought idea in a means to keep receipts flowing. No Kevin Beacon? No Fred Ward? This is going to be lackluster at best. Just look at the box art.

Wrong: Michael Gross is having so much fun with his secondary character; it's implausible to take your eyes off the screen. I was a passing fan, oblivious to the joys any future installment might hold. I wasn't excited to see the worm return. Then, a few beers in, I'm hoping this becomes a yearly event. Burt Gummer as soul core of any future sequel was the only way this franchise could have survived. Gross' energy is up and into the moment. This isn't some has-been actor slugging through the mud of his expiration date. His sheer enjoyment here is so apparent it's infectious. To watch this and not have a smile on your face is to not be human.

With a little more money and a bit of a push, T3: BTP could have been theater-releasable. As it stands, Perfection's twice the movie Jurassic Park 3 is. Sure, some of the special effects look hokey, and cartoonish. That works in its favor. Jurassic had an aura of sleepy-eyed insomnia seeping into its bones. The actors did nothing to convince me they wanted to be there. I'd have rather seen the return of Ariana Richards (original pre-Jurassic pogo-sticking snake-oid girl) than Sam Neill. Tremors 3 is smart enough to know this, shoving that perky little Kirsten Dunst look-alike into a pivotal, yet almost over-looked role.

The girl spends half the movie in a meat freezer, which will be a huge turn-on for those chloro-fluorocarbon fetishists out there. This latest Graboid adventure is abuzz with the kind of neon energy that keeps the whiskey-saturated populace wide-eyed on the edge of their seats until closing hour. Hitting Beer: 30, I had to go with the automatic rewind and another twenty-ounce of St. Pauly's Girl; The only woman who's ever loved me and let me watch a dumb creature-feature of this magnitude twice in a row. Too bad she belongs to someone else: With her blonde hair and that German wench attitude, she'd have made a mighty fine lesbian: Part 2.

The spirit of Steven Keaton graciously eases into the combat boots of Burt Gummer: A weapons enthusiast with 7 years worth of MREs in the basement. He's stationed in Argentina, strapped to a gun-turret, faced with a horde of Shriekers (two-legged offspring of the Graboid), who are about to go down on the town folks. Burt lights it up and lets go. He's a hero, renown around the world for eradicating the shape-changing worm beast.

A worthy set-up that could work as a syndicated TV series, it's better suited to a biannual Hollywood Video shelf debut. The main bulk of 3 sees Gummer back to the desolate town of Perfection, Nevada, where the Graboid is presumed extinct. Yeah, now what fun would that be?

The first twenty minutes is of unmerciless set-up. It introduces the charismatic "Graboid" Jack, newcomer Shawn Christian, who seems to be giving his Brad Pitt imitation a run for its money. Just maybe, who knows? Remember, Pitt starred not only as one of Carol Seaver's boyfriends on Growing Pains, but also in the title role of Johnny Suede before moving on to bigger (7, Fight Club, Ocean's 11) and better (Jennifer Aniston) things. (Do I have those backwards?)

"Graboid" Jack runs a chintzy desert amusement theme park ride reminiscent of Newport, Oregon's heart-stopping coastal beach community attempts at a year-round haunted fun house. I was digging this trip in a laid back, El Camino short ride to the stop sign. Soon, the Tremors are pushing up dust in a head on rush that kick-starts with the digestion of Gummer. Yes, Burt gets eaten, and not too late into the day's events. I'll let you discover the rest for yourself in this tapeworm epic that never fails in giving the desert its insatiable appetite. Talking about a car accident before it happens ruins some of the fun. You already know there's going to be squealing tires, broken glass, and bent metal. What more can I say? Click the seatbelt in and let it ride.

Perfection not only digs into the town of its origins; it also serves up a number of original cast members. Along with Gross and Richards, we are reintroduced to Tony Genaro's Miguel, Bobby Jacoby as the insufferable brat Melvin, and Charlotte Stewart as Richards' mom. Remember Victor (Big Trouble in Little China) Wong's Walter Chang, who got eaten up through the floorboards in an attempt to turn off the soda cooler? His daughter arrives in the form of Susan Chuang's Jodi. She's the 3rd generation owner of Perfection's only mini-mart, and continues her father's legacy by naming the Graboid's new mutation something so insidiously stupid, you'll be cheering its return come part 4.

S.S. Wilson & Brent Maddock are also back for their third time as the infamous scribes, able to keep this show in a comfortable spot. Wilson, who directed Aftershocks, trades hands with Maddock, who elevates his material past the tired rehash it could have easily been.

There's a rather uninvolving making of and a trailer. Nothing that special.
Like a crappy straight-to-video movie. Just as it should.
5.1 Dolby Digital. That's a surprise.

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