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'Child's Play 3': Chucky's back--more amusing and disturbing than ever


Chucky's a sadistic little doll who makes jokes at the expens of his victims. "I'd say the cut's perfect -- you're dead," he tells someone unfortunate enough to have discovered the little fellow in a barber shop and who dies looking at himself in a mirror.

Such jokes invite us to identify with sadistic behavior -- rather than with its victims -- and that makes this latest film about the lethal living doll more than a little disturbing.

But Chucky is amusing, the people he kills are usually (though not always) brutes and bullies, and the screenplay (by Don Mancini) and direction (by Jack Bender) are good enough to make "Child's Play 3" fun for any fan of the slasher genre.

For those who missed the first and second parts, Chucky wants to get his soul into a human body -- "Man, I really gotta get outta this body," he says when he sees a teen-age couple necking. It seems for while that his victim of choice is the now 16-year-old Andy Barclay (Justin Whalin), whom Chucky tormented in this film's two predecessors. But the doll instead shifts his sights to Tyler (Jeremy Silvers), an adorable 8-year-old African-American ("Chucky's gonna be a Bro'!" the doll exclaims), who attends the same military academy as Andy.

Why this takes place in a military school is pretty obvious -- it gives Chucky, who is as mischievous as he is murderous, a chance to load the students' rifles with live munition and to walk around with a bayonet instead of a mere pocket knife.

But besides creating the requisite thrill every five minutes for an audience whose expectations have been formed by music videos, "Child's Play 3" actually has a coherent plot. It begins with a murder in the executive offices of toy company where Chucky turns a variety of playthings into instruments of terror, proceeds to war games and ends in the house of horrors in an amusement park where the doll's presence is the jack-in-the box terror that trumps all others.

As "Child's Play 3" makes clear, Chucky hasn't worn out his welcome. And though he comes to an appropriately slashed end, the movie's conclusion clearly leaves room for yet another sequel.

'Child's Play 3'

Starring Justin Whalin, Jeremy Silvers and

Brad Dourif (as the voice of


Directed by Jack Bender.

Released by Universal.

Rated R.

** 1/2

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