Monster Attack 3 (巨兽来袭3, Behemoth Attack 3) opens as Su Jin Feng (De Long, Heavy Armor, Call of Heroes) is attacked by some wandering CGI trying to pass itself off as a dinosaur. Realizing that the police won’t believe him he calls a local newspaper instead. They send Lin Peilun (Chen Saisai, One Boat, One World) and Huang Ming Hui (Hu Yuan Song, The King of the Snake, Private Hero) to get a story.
And to increase the potential body count, I mean to ensure scientific accuracy, biologists Wu Xinmei, Sun Jia Lai (Ray Cao, Monster Attack 2, Fatal Jungle) and Yi Jiang are sent along as well. The boat drops them off at the far side of the island from Xu and they have to hike through the jungle to reach him. the trip is reminiscent of one of the sillier Godzilla films as all kinds of creatures get to make a brief cameo appearance. Scorpions, baby raptors, mommy raptors, a T-Rex, a pterosaur. Oh wait, that’s just a nightmare brought on by a scorpion sting.
Unfortunately, writer/director Miao Jinguang (Journey to the West: Kingdom of Women, Fatal Altitude) keeps bringing the film to a halt for debates between Lin and the biologists about what is truth and the ethics of newspaper headlines. Granted it’s not entirely his fault, this is the kind of content the Chinese government is demanding films include, but it could be worked more gracefully into the film.
Instead, after finding a dinosaur’s footprint they stand around and argue about whether an article should say they found a dinosaur’s footprint, the footprint of an unknown animal or what appears to be a dinosaur’s footprint. I can’t believe that anyone watching this won’t be reaching for the remote and fast-forwarding to the next scene that actually has a dinosaur in it.
Thankfully Monster Attack 3 does have plenty of scenes with dinosaurs, and other assorted creatures, such as snakes and giant crocodiles. The filmmakers certainly deliver a variety of critters. The effects are, as usual, something of a mixed bag. The raptor in Monster Attack 3’s opening scenes is fairly poorly done but some of the later creatures, including a litter of playful baby raptors, are well done. An attack by an oversized boa in the final act is laughably bad, however.
Equally bad, but not as laughable as the filmmakers intended, is the way several of the characters react to the creatures. Running around, eyes bugging out, arms waving in the air like a character in an episode of Scooby Doo. It takes a lot away from the impact of the attack scenes.
Despite that, Monster Attack 3 was a bit of a toss-up for me going into the final act. The constant speechifying, both about journalistic ethics and dinosaur evolution was tedious as hell. It was like high school all over again. But the creature effects mostly worked and were fun to watch.
And then the plot took a twist that ruined just about everything that happened up to that point. I mentioned Scooby Doo earlier, and that’s just where Monster Attack 3’s plot goes. The script pulls in an evil property developer determined to make Su sell his island, some movie props, and you can guess the rest. The irony being, of course, that if an animatronic dinosaur could do what this does, films wouldn’t need CGI.
If you don’t mind that kind of thing, or if you have kids that are easily amused, Monster Attack 3 might still be worth your time. But otherwise, even as a free watch, there are much better options, like Snakes or Crocodile Island.
Monster Attack 3 is currently free to watch on YouTube’s Moxi Movie Channel 2 模晰電影頻道. I hadn’t heard of it before now, but it is certified, so I’m fairly sure it’s legit. If you want more like this, FilmTagger may have what you’re looking for.