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‘Child’s Play 3’

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 30, 1991


Jack Bender
Justin Whalin;
Brad Dourif
Under 17 restricted

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"Child's Play 3" is further proof of the principle of diminishing sequels: The original was actually quite good, the follow-up was lame and now what is hopefully the capper is DOA. Chucky, the oversized Good Guy doll who's anything but, takes up more screen time and he's blessed with all the good lines -- all dozen of them -- but this doll-with-the-mind-of-a-lunatic riff is played out. Unlike Chucky himself, "3" is not "new and improved."

As always, Chucky (voice by Brad Dourif) is trying to play "Hide the Soul" with Andy Barclay (Justin Whalin). Eight years have passed since Chucky was supposedly destroyed in a toy factory, and Andy's just wound up in military school after a succession of failed foster homes. Coincidentally, the manufacturer of Good Guys decides to reintroduce the line and wouldn't you know, the first one off the assembly line is evil Chucky, who takes care of the CEO right quick and heads for the military school. How Chucky revives we'll never tell (because we have no idea, folks!).

Once on campus, Chucky suddenly decides he's going to transfer his tortured soul into pint-sized Tyrone Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers), who happens to be black. "Just think, Chucky's going to be a bro'!" Chucky chortles, but writer Don Mancini and director Jack Bender never take advantage of the race-rooted comic possibilities here (are you listening, "In Living Color"?). Tyler is just one of a set of cliched characters: He's the sweet helpless midget (think Emmanuel Lewis) being pursued by the evil doll that's bigger than he is, protected by good white guys (Whalin and Dean Jacobson as the nerd Whitehurst) and even a good gal (Perrey Reeves as De Silva, the toughest cadet this side of Rambo -- but with a sensitive side).

The film consists of Chucky knocking off various folks while chasing down Tyler for a final game of "Hide the Soul" (or "Find the Soul," perhaps?). I always thought Chucky had to transfer his soul specifically into Andy Barclay and that was the excuse for his single-minded pursuit of Andy in both previous "Child's Plays." Now Chucky casually switches to Tyler? And when did he body-snatch Jack Nicholson so that he can so casually slip into the Jackster's voice on the majority of his punch lines? Is this cinematic homage?

Chucky himself is an animatronic delight, but one suspects the film's energies and budget have all been devoted to what is essentially a one-trick pony. "Child's Play 3," subtitled "Look Who's Stalking!," winds itself up at an amusement park that materializes out of nowhere (well, from the script -- same thing) and goes out with a whimper of a reference to "The Terminator." Slow, stupid and cheap, it effectively kills off any reason for "Child's Play 4."

We hope.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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