A game warden moves his family to Lake Placid, once the site of deadly crocodile attacks. Locals assure him the crocs are gone, but his mischievous young son finds a few baby crocs and begins feeding them. They quickly grow into very big adults and start attacking the game warden’s family and nearby town.
There are some really fun genre franchises out there. We have Romero’s living dead trilogy, THE MATRIX trilogy, the FEAST trilogy, THE FINAL DESTINATION series, and even the Indiana Jones trilogy (yeah I know there were four films in that franchise, but I refuse to acknowledge the fourth one!!). So who’d have thought that out of all the various potential new trilogies out there (JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER immediately comes to mind) the LAKE PLACID series would make it? Weird eh? Let’s face it; the original LAKE PLACID (1999) wasn’t that great of a flick to begin with, and I can’t remember one thing about LAKE PLACID 2 (which came out in 2007). But the SyFy Channel looked logic and sensibility in the face and said, “We can revive this franchise; there’s still more to explore and a lot more life left in those crazy crocs!!” So here we are; just a few days away from the SyFy premier of LAKE PLACID 3 (premiering this Saturday, August 21 at 9pm EST). Did they do it? Have the powers that be resurrected the LAKE PLACID franchise?
The story is pretty simple: Game warden Nathan Bickerman (Colin Ferguson from SyFy’s EUREKA) visits Lake Placid after his grandmother dies. And yup you got it; his grandma was the crazy old lady from either the first or second flick (it was never made clear) that was feeding the crocs. Nostalgia gets the best of him and he decides to buy the house and movie his family to the now “croc free” lake community. Before you can say, “Hey this seems familiar,” Nathan’s son comes across three baby crocs and decides to pick up right where his bat-sh*t crazy grandmother left off and feed the little guys. Flash forward two years; the crocs are all grown up and hungry, the son is neglected, and we get a whole bunch of secondary characters to “chum the waters.”
Yes people, we’re in pretty familiar territory here. The plot pretty much re-hashes exactly what went down the previous two flicks and nothing new or interesting really happens. The acting is actually a little above average for the typical SyFy Channel flick. The only character that overacted a bit was Reba (Yancy Butler), the standard fearless, crazy hunter who “can track, bag, tag, and kill anything.” I don’t wanna seem like an insensitive asshole here (although that’s never stopped me before), but what the f*ck happened to Yancy Butler? Butler used to be a real hottie, but time and gravity have not been kind to her. Granted her character is a touch-as-nails lone wolf who doesn’t really like other people, but wow; is she smoking like 12 packs of cigs a day? Although a little rough on the eyes, Butler does prove to be the most interesting character of the lot as she single-handedly tries to make the Lake Placid Croc extinct. In one particularly fun scene she confronts one of the crocs with nothing more than a 14-inch knife and proceeds to make a pair of boots out of it. Fun stuff.
I was confused with Colin Furgeson’s character. He is clearly set up as the film’s star/hero, but he really doesn’t do too much in the way of heroics. Most of the movie he misses all the action and comes in at the tail end of each action sequence. But for me I can’t help but like Ferguson; he’s just a likable guy with his “awe shucks” demeanor, even if he does play the same basic character here as he does in EUREKA. But we are also graced with the presence of none other than Michael Ironside (SCANNERS, TERMINATOR SALVATION). He plays the sheriff of the town and assures Ferguson that the town is croc-free. Ironside is definitely underused, but he steals every scene he’s in.
The most disappointing aspects of LAKE PLACID 3 is the over use of CGI. Now I’m not unrealistic; I know that if I’m watching a SyFy Channel flick that I’m gonna get a ton of CGI. I accept that. But the problem here is that the CGI is really poorly done. REALLY poorly done. The crocs are completely CG and on their own they don’t look all that bad. But the scenes where they’re “interacting” with humans look so goddamn phony; the crocs stand out like sore thumbs in every scene. Anytime a croc comes around the CGI was so terrible that it completely pulls you outta the film and makes you very aware you’re watching a movie with sh*tty CGI. The other disappointing element here is the writing. David Reed, who wrote an episode of the surprisingly good TV series SUPERNATURAL, just doesn’t do anything to inject something new into this flick. He writes the same typical characters doing the same typical things that we’ve see time and time again in these “large-ass creature” flicks. The whole plot, in fact, is pretty lazy. The other interesting thing is that on imdb.com there is no director listed. Is this an oversight or is director G.E. Furst just too embarrassed (sorry if I just “outted” ya Furst)?
Yes this is you’re typical SyFy-large creature flick; yes the CGI is worse than usual; and yes the characters and story are retreads from other like-minded flicks. But I continually found myself enjoying this one. Between the likable Colin Ferguson and the ass-kicking Yancy Butler, they inject some fun energy and provide some “I-can’t-believe-I-just-saw-that” moments that makes this one pretty fun.
And let’s not forget that there are three big ass crocs wandering around eating people!! Recommended for a fun, lazy Sunday viewing.
Director: G.E. Furst
Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 4 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer