Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Year of release: 1995
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 90 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD and foreign Blu-Ray
Taglines: "Welcome to Vegas...Your loosing streak is about to begin" and "Welcome to Vegas...The odds are you won't leave alive".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: The Leprechaun, now reduced to a stone statue and at the mercy of a mysterious pendant comes into the possession of a Las Vegas pawn shop owner. Though warned not to remove the pendant the greedy proprietor doesn’t listen and taking the pendant from around the neck of the statue he unwittingly resurrects the Leprechaun from his dormant state. The two are soon at loggerheads over the now familiar pot of gold which has materialised alongside the reawakened monster.
Meanwhile a young student driving through Vegas on his way to college comes to the aid of a glamorous magicians assistant after her car breaks down. After taking her to the casino where she works he sticks around to gamble and ends up loosing a small fortune. He heads over to the pawn shop across the street in an effort to secure more funds. This of course facilitates a chance meeting with the Leprechaun.
In a new turn of events the coins from the pot of gold now have the ability to grant wishes to the holder. After coming across one of these coins the unlucky gambler wishes to return to the casino on a winning streak. Furious with one of his precious coins having been stolen the Leprechaun himself visits the casino to reclaim it where mayhem ensues.
Good points: *The casino and the glitzy and garish streets of Las Vegas as a whole make for a nice home for the story to unfold. A casino backdrop is unique and not something very often seen in horror/slasher films so it brings a dash of originality while playing into the story as well. It isn’t just cool stage dressing as the gambling aspects come into effect heavily being the reason behind the Scott character finding the wish granting coin. Slot machines, swanky hotel rooms and a magicians floor show all feature within the plot as well to one extent or another. A magicians trick is very well utilised in fact for one of the kills and the Vegas setting even allows for an Elvis impersonator to be shoehorned in for a comical encounter with the titular monster.
*From top to bottom I felt the cast were really good here with a multitude of charming and fun to watch characters coming together to make for a really enjoyable movie. The slightly off kilter and unusual approach is taken of having both a final boy and girl in the Scott and Tammy pairing and I thought they played off each other very well. There’s also plenty of other characters in roles both big and small that also make strong contributions. The magician Fazio is probably the standout but they’re all pretty good really with special mention going to Gupta (pawn shop owner) and the lecherous casino boss.
*Warwick Davies as the Leprechaun is once again in fine fettle and is quite possibly at his most amusing and entertaining here out of all the films in the canon. He has a lot of other equally fun characters to bounce off of course but the rhyming is also strong here, something which sadly disappeared for the fourth film in space to then return in the fifth instalment some years later.
Bad Points: *The pacing isn’t the greatest in terms of how the kills are spread out as after the first one relatively early on (which in itself takes a bit too long to materialise) it felt like way too long of a wait for things to get going again with the second one. Once the second death is in the bag it’s pretty rapid fire but I think it should have been planned out a bit better so there wasn’t so much of a noticeable gap between the first two.
*Mild spoiler: When Tammy falls under the spell of the casino owners wish I thought the filmmakers dropped the ball and ended up playing things the wrong way. Though I don’t think she ultimately should have ended up showing any serious skin I think it would have worked better/been more plausible if she’d have acted more sexy and seductive. Instead he script called for her to act really weird and start acting almost as if she were talking to a baby or as if she’d regressed to a baby herself. It looked as if they were trying to throw in a bit of a kinky femdom flavour as well with having her tell the guy to hit himself but they made a hash of even that and it came across as cartoonish, fake and over the top and not at all how a proper dominatrix would act (if indeed that was the angle they were aiming for). It was as if they were afraid to properly pull the trigger on it and instead we were left with a bizarre sequence of awkward comedy that IMO not only fell flat but just seemed nonsensical and out of place.
*There is no continuity at all with the two previous films so the transition from the last entry to this seems very disjointed. It makes no attempt to touch on what happened before and largely does away with the wrought iron concept previously introduced in favour of new gimmicks like the wishes and (spoiler) transformation of Scott into a rival leprechaun. These newly introduced ideas are fine so it’s not a problem as such but at least a shred of continuity would have been nice as well as an explanation as to how the vagrant got hold of the statue at the beginning.
Verdict: As a very fun and perhaps underrated franchise all around Leprechaun 3 marks what is quite possibly the highest point of the series. It’s definitely one of the best which is no small feat considering the largely solid quality of its stablemates. I think the pacing when it comes to the kills could have been handled better but this is one of only a few minor quibbles. There’s much to like here though with a terrific group of characters and a well chosen setting making this one to remember.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Gupta: Strangled with telephone wire.
2)Casino owner: Electrocuted by creepy looking sex robot.
3)Goon #1: Beaten with shillelagh.
4)Goon #2: Eye plucked from socket and then beaten with shillelagh.
5)Loretta: Certain body parts are inflated until they explode.
6)Coroner: Found dead with medical tools impaled in his chest.
7)Fazio: Cut in half with a chainsaw under the guise of a magic act.