Xtro 3 Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Vinegar Syndrome

Directed by Harry Bromley Davenport
Written by Daryl Haney
1995, 97 minutes, Rated R
Released on March 31st, 2020

Sal Landi as Lt. Kirn
Andrew Divoff as Capt. Fetterman
Karen Moncrieff as Watkins
David M. Parker as Reilly
Jim Hanks as Friedman
Virgil Frye as Survivor
Robert Culp as Major Guardino



Lieutenant Kirn’s latest assignment is pretty straightforward: Take a small group of soldiers to a remote Pacific island and dispose of any active munitions. The island served as an internment camp in World War II, but has been abandoned ever since. The mission will be led by Capt. Fetterman, who has personally selected the accompanying soldiers who turn out to be a group of underqualified former students of Kirn’s. During their sweep of the island, an errant explosion rips a hole in a large concrete wall revealing a long-sealed cave. Inside is an alien that has been trapped for decades and is now free to hunt these dopes as revenge for being experimented on in the past. What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse as the soldiers are picked off one by one. Kirn faces more troubles when the government terminates the assignment and views his team as expendable. Can he avoid being slaughtered by an alien or blown up by his own team?

Director Harry Bromley Davenport (Life Among the Cannibals) burst onto the scene with his infamous horror cult classic Xtro (1982), about an alien abductee recently returned home in search of his son. A lot of weird stuff happens and there is one standout moment featuring one of the most bizarre childbirth scenes ever put to film. Davenport returned eight years later with Xtro 2 (1990), a direct-to-video sequel in name only that borrows liberally from the plot of Aliens. The film is rather terrible but carries the title of its successful predecessor and made enough profit that a few years later a second sequel went into production. Xtro 3 (aka Xtro 3: Watch the Skies) (1995) concludes the trilogy with Davenport once again in the director’s chair. This third entry is another standalone adventure bearing no connection to the two prior films, but takes its plot heavily from both Aliens and Predator.

Written by Daryl Haney (Friday the 13th Part VII), who also appears in a supporting role as one of the soldiers, the script follows a very familiar trope of storytelling. We open with a disheveled Lt. Kirn (Sal Landi, Savage Streets) in a motel room with a reporter somewhere in Los Angeles, looking to tell his story and expose government secrets. From there we enter a lengthy flashback that starts with him receiving his orders from Major Guardino – played by Robert Culp (Santa’s Slay), who is clearly in this for the paycheck. His character appears a few times throughout the picture in cutaways, but he is never seen leaving his desk. One odd thing about Culp’s scenes: His office has no walls, it is just an open space in an airplane hangar where he hangs out alone by the phone.


Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) plays Capt. Fetterman, the hard-ass antagonist quick to leave Kirn and his team stranded on the island before a third-act return with reinforcements. Karen Moncrieff (Rage) co-stars as Watkins, the smartest person on the island. She knows how to avoid the pitfalls that claim so many of the soldiers who constantly make poor decisions. Moncrieff does a fine job in the role and emerges largely unscathed, as the script seems to favor her character. The supporting cast is serviceable but not particularly memorable. One interesting inclusion is actor Jim Hanks (brother of Tom) as one of the soldiers. He sounds an awful lot like his famous sibling (and frequently steps in to perform voiceover work on the Toy Story video games) and once you identify him it’s pretty entertaining.

The biggest hurdle that handicaps this film is its ultra-low budget, which results in some terrible early CGI and a goofy looking alien. The rubbery creature can camouflage itself with a cloaking device to sneak up on victims and it has a long serpentine tongue as a weapon. The cinematography by Irv Goodnoff (Evilspeak) helps the picture look bigger than it is, but it still appears pretty cheap. The original Xtro is pretty entertaining and has some memorable moments, but it never feels like the start of a franchise. Technically these three movies feature an alien and share the name Xtro, but fans of the original looking for a continuing story will be disappointed. This is a pretty awful movie, but there are a few scenes good for a laugh if viewed with friends.


Video and Audio:

Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the original camera negative receives a 2K scan and restoration. Previously available as a full-frame VHS release, this new transfer is surprising in terms of color and clarity. It is safe to say this is the best the picture is ever going to look even if the improved detail exposes some of the film’s inadequacies.

The DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix gets the job done with clean, understandable dialogue balanced with effective music cues and sound effects. Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.


Special Features:

Director Harry Bromley Davenport sits down for the interview segment Winning and Losing (20 minutes). He reflects on adapting his shooting style for working with American crews and goes on to talk about how this project came together. He addresses some shortcomings in the script and errors he made as a filmmaker. Other topics include stories about shooting the helicopter attack and working with explosives as well as other favorite scenes.

Acting Like a Writer (18 minutes) catches up with screenwriter Daryl Haney, who begins with tales of his early writing career working with Roger Corman. He also shares the story of coming up with the idea for his Friday the 13th movie. In terms of Xtro 3, he reveals some early ideas and abandoned concepts for the script. From there he talks about working as an actor on the film and offers memories of filming on location.

The original trailer has been included.



Movie: Cover
Overall: 3 Star Rating

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Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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