While this is the third in the series made by director Harry Bromley-Davenport, Xtro 3: Watch the Skies doesn’t demand you have seen the previous installments of the UFO series. Xtro (1982) was about an alien abduction and the side effects of being impregnated by an E.T. Xtro II: The Second Encounter (1990) dealt with traveling through different dimensions with Jan-Michael Vincent (Airwolf). Xtro 3: Watch the Skies does not feature alien offspring or revolutionary ways to travel. This is about a military mission that discovers the secret of an island.
A black and white newsreel explains to its viewers that the recent footage they showed of a UFO was a fake movie made by a kid. There are no UFOs to worry about coming to America. Jumping forward into the future, Lieutenant Martin Kirn (Sal Landi) has been assigned a new mission from Major Guardino (The Greatest American Hero‘s Robert Culp). The military wants to build a new refueling station on a remote island. The trouble is that the place was previously might be full of ammunition and explosives before it’s was abandoned a few decades before. Kirn must take a group of Marines onto the island and eliminate anything that might destroy the construction crew. Kirn has his work cut out for him since the Marines he’s assigned are the bottom of the barrel. This is going to be a difficult mission on all counts. Things get more curious when they uncover a giant burial pit, white rabbits, a destroyed base and mysterious block of concrete with a chunk missing. What was this island really used for before the military shut it down? Since it’s an Xtro film, the answer is aliens.
The fact that Xtro 3: Watch the Skies doesn’t rely on the first two films for references makes this film especially entertaining. You never feel like you’re not getting the joke or a bigger mystery revealed. All the alien action is self-contained to the island and the wreckage of the research facility. So don’t fear that you get into the Xtro fever at this point.
Xtro 3: Watch the Skies really does a fine job of taking elements from other blockbusters without being a complete rip off since it lacks the budget. Sure it seems like they’re referencing Aliens, but there’s more than “game over” for these marines sent on a deadly mission. There’s enough little pieces of big movies that it becomes an original film of its own. If anything Xtro 3 sets up the concepts of Suicide Squad, The Expendables and Ancient Aliens. The film has its own version of Fox’s bogus Alien Autopsy. Sure that TV show aired before the release of Xtro 3, but by then the film was in post-production. Xtro 3 saw the future. While the movie doesn’t have the budget of the bigger films, the special effects are rather effective. This is the type of movie that would have kept me awake on USA’s Up All Night with Rhonda Shear or Gilbert Gottfried. Xtro 3: Watch the Skies will keep you watching the screen.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer upgrade doesn’t make the special effects look bad. The audio is DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo so you can hear the aliens attack from both sides of the screen. The movie is subtitled.
DVD with the film and bonus features.
Winning and Losing (20:07) interviews director Harry Bromley Davenport. Harry admits that while he’s made 14 feature films, he’s not sure about the quality. He speaks about how Xtro 3 was his first film made in America. He speaks of adjusting to the way an crew works over here. He speaks of difficulty getting projects off the ground except backers were interested in another Xtro film.
Acting Like A Writer (18:08) gets into how star Daryl Haney also wrote the script. He speaks of how people perceive a writer that also acts. He talks about how he was coming down from a drug experience when he got a call from Joe Minion (After Hours) to get his script for Daddy’s Boys made into a quickie Roger Corman production that he’d star in. He would eventually write Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. Through his Corman connections, he hooked up with Harry to write Xtro 3. He speaks of how Harry and him developed the script. He came up with the military squad with the lowest of the low. And that’s where he found his part.
Original Trailer (1:21) sets us up for a select group of Marines visiting a dangerous island. They have no idea what awaits them. The film title here was Xtro: Watch the Skies since they didn’t want you to immediately think if you watched the first two films.
Limited Edition Slipcover designed by Earl Kessler Jr. comes with the first 2,000 sets if you order from Vinegarsyndrome.com.
Vinegar Syndrome presents Xtro 3. Directed by: Harry Bromley Davenport. Screenplay by: Daryl Haney. Starring: Sal Landi, Andrew Divoff, Karen Moncrieff, David M. Parker, Jim Hanks, Andrea Lauren Herz, Daryl Haney, Nigel Gibbs & Robert Culp. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 97 minutes. Released: March 3, 2020.