Usually when a long running series realizes it’s on the verge of clapping out it quite often employs gimmicks or tricks to give the appearance that a tired formula is suddenly fresh. By part 7 of their adventures the Police Academy gang was sent on a Mission To Moscow and Jason took Manhattan by Friday the 13th’s part 8, so it’s a little unnerving that by only his third outing, Chucky has been sent to military school.
To give the film it’s due, it makes sense as Chucky’s favourite victim, Andy Barclay (now recast and all grown up), has been shipped off to one due to his inability to settle in the foster system. Resurrected from being blown up last movie by weird voodoo reasons the film never bothers to explain (possibly because it can’t be fucked), Chucky murders the CEO of the corporation that owns the toy company with a yoyo and buggers off in pursuit of Andy. However, after somehow putting himself in a box, gift wrapping himself and mailing himself to the school (I have less idea how THAT one works than the voodoo resurrection stuff), he’s intercepted by Tyler, a much younger child also attending the school.
Realizing that thanks to the flimsy rules of movie voodoo, Chucky doesn’t actually need Andy now, he focuses on this new victim to use as a receptacle to put his soul into.
Can Andy thwart Chucky’s latest attempt to play “hide the soul” or is Chucky, as he distastefully puts it, “Gonna be a bro.” (Tyler happens to be African American).
The military school setting seems to be a prime excuse for the red headed little plastic bastard to tool up with some serious weaponry and while he does get his hands on a gun or two, not to mention a freakin’ hand grenade, the film plays it all relatively safe (read: boring). Most of the film either sets up the bullying that Andy sufferers at the hands of his commanding students, or endless scenes of people sneaking out of their dorms at night, trying to find Chucky.
The film, trying to admirably mix things up, attempts to drop some subversion into it’s kill scenes; for example Chucky lunges screaming at a victim with a knife raised only to be dumbfounded when they keel over from a heart attack; or an fairly amusing exchange with a sadistic barber (played by Dirty Harry’s Andy Robinson) ends with a spirited throat slashing.
The climax also is at least visually interesting as the location shifts to a massive ghost house at a local fun fair that seems to be loaded with more Tom & Jerry style health and safety violations than a burning climbing frame.
Give no slight praise once again for the small army of puppeteers and returning vocal actor Brad Dourif who make their vicious little animatronic shit-heel literally the only thing worth watching in this film, as he strangles, stabs and crushes (with the aid of a handy garbage trunk) his way through bit players and character actors alike.
But it’s all a case of too little, too late as it seems the rot has set in prematurely on this particular franchise as the plot is purely by the numbers stuff and the human cast is blander than a bland sandwich (a blandwich?).
This is one franchise that needs a fresh set of batteries.