The Puppet Masters film series is always been one of my guilty pleasures. It is by no means a series of puppet masterpieces, but it did entertains me, as a kid of the 1990s. Coming off, their success, off of their first two, direct to video, movies, 1989's 'Puppet Master' & 1990's 'Puppet Master II', 1991's 'Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge' is by far, the best film in the series. Directed by David DeCoteau, the entire plot has puppeteer, Andre Toulon (Guy Rolfe), somehow back in Europe, and somehow still alive, despite the fact, that he commit suicide in Bodega Bay, CA in 1939 in the opening of the first movie. While, this might look like, a continuous of the first movie's flashback, in reality, this 3rd movie is not. It's a prequel. It's just the Full Moon Entertainment Writers, goofing up with the chronology, and not caring, about explaining it. Whether by accident or design, in the end, they got their WWII movie with puppets. Anyways, when the members of the Nazi Party, notice that the anti-Nazi, Toulon has the ability to animate his puppets without strings. Dr. Hess (Ian Abercrombie) and Major Kraus (Richard Lynch) are ordered to bring him in by General Mueller (Walter Gotell), leading to Toulon going on the run, while, also seeking revenge for the death of his beloved, wife, Elsa (Sarah Douglas). Without spoiling the movie, too much, I have to say, despite the chronology timeline mistake, Puppet Master III is by far, the most developed movie within the Puppet Master franchise. Not only, does this film essentially, tells some of the origin of the puppets, but the film is full of depth and emotion. You really do feel something for the human characters, unlike the other films that was full of unrealistic psychics & parapsychologists. I have to say, I like this version of Andre Toulon. Guy Rolfe does a decent job, making the character more engaging and sympathetic character than William Hickey and Steve Welles's versions. In their defensive, Hickey's scenes in the first movie, were kinda short to develop anything, and Welles's character was written as the bad guy; however I found Hickey to be, a little too old for the part & for Welles, I just didn't like, his 'Invisible Man', style of acting. The supporting cast was just as good as Rolfe, with Richard Lynch commanding the scenes with his film presence. He really look the part. He always found a way to draw your full attention. Still, his character does do, a lot of stupid decisions throughout the film that will make you question, if his character is really a Major, and not a private. Another thing, I like, about this film, is how this film isn't a rethread of the first 2 movies, with the puppets, just randomly killing innocent people. In this, they had reasons to target the Nazis, as many of the puppet souls, were once people that were victims by them. I like the fact, that they made the Puppets into good guys, since after all, they are appealing. Once again, you got Blade, whom looks like a small version of the Fisherman hook killer from 1997's, 'I Know What You Did Last Summer', whom sadly, in this film, get little screen time. I was deeply surprised, by this movie, that Blade was in fact, a boy. I always thought of the puppet as a female. It also get weirder, when you find out that this puppet has the soul of Dr. Hess in it. Blade looks and acts, nothing like Dr. Hess, at all. The only thing, I can see, is that, both, like to cut people. Even with that, it's a bit of a stretch. One thing, I glad, this movie brought back, is Leech Woman. I always hate, the filmmakers of Puppet Master 2, for trying to kill her character. She's by far, one of the most memorable puppets, Toulon has around. It's also cool to see the Conehead lookalike, muscle man mixed with Addams Family Uncle Fester who punch and strangles people, Pinhead, and the Tunneler that has a drill on his head that drills into people. One puppet that I can care less about is Jester. He's pretty much, useless for most of the series. I honestly, don't know, why, he's there. The same, goes to Djinn whom appearance is a bit jarring. He somewhat disappears, after this film. Anyways, this brings up, another issue. This time, with the new puppet, the fun-looking, Six-Shooter cowboy puppet who was made, just for this film. I get that, he's technically in-story, one of the oldest puppets, that Toulon's owns, but what happen to him, since this film. He didn't appear in the first movie, nor the 2nd. Somehow, in the 4th movie, he reappearance. It's very odd. Anyways, the action scenes with them are quite enjoyable, but I never bought the struggle between man Vs puppets. I just can't see, how people in these film, can't overpower them. Anyways, most of their stop motion movement was always fantastic and creepy, however there are some scenes in this film, that the effects needed some work. Director David DeCoteau does a lot with the little amount of money, he got. Surprising, the set design is pretty good. He manage to recreate Nazi Germany quite convincingly on the Universal backlot for a rather modest budget. Still one thing, this movie really goes, over the top with, is the graphic nudity. Did we really need that much, rather, fan service breast shots? Anyways, I might be a bit biased on that, since big boobs are some of my favorite's things to see. Overall: Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge is a step-up from the other two films, however, it's also marks the highest of highs for this film franchise, as the next couple of films, will not get any better. In the end, this is as good as it gets.
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