The film begins with a group of people waking up in a Cube and wandering where the hell they are. Wow, what a unique way to start the film. I get that it is the staple of the series, but could you mix it up a little? Well, in answer to my question, they do just that. The bulk of the movie is built around the two guys who sit in some mysterious room and control the basic functions of the Cube. Are these the villains of the whole series? Well, no. As it turns out, these guys- an older guy and a younger one with glasses- are just 'cogs in the machine' who follow a manual and do what they are supposed to. They also wear green jumpsuits like Mike Nelson from Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was a bit distracting for me. Anyhow, the younger guy shows the he is starting to question everything, while the older guy is pretty much a tool at this point. It does not help when a cute blond ends up in the Cube and the young gets the hots for her. In a new addition to the series, he monitors a dream of hers and sees her being captured & separated from her daughter. He begins to feel bad for her and starts to question the program. As they explain, the Cube is designed as a way to test out bio-weapons and military tech before it is put into the field. Damn, I was hoping that it was aliens! In addition, the workers are told that everyone is a volunteer criminal. I wonder what will happen when he realizes that she is not...
We learn a bit more about these people, as well some more about the people in the cube. The woman begins to figure out that there is a pattern to it, with each room being marked with some series of letters. They also are smart enough to test each room by dangling their shoes into them, although that only gets them so far. Back in the control room, the young guy gets even more doubts when he discovers an article listing the woman as a protester against the Cube Project. I'm sorry, but if you're publicly-protesting a super-secret government operation, getting stuck in a giant death box is the least of your worries! The movie also does not explain how people found out about this, so I guess it's not important! The straw that breaks the camel's back is when one man gets to the Exit Room (that's not redundant or anything!) and must be tested. Apparently, your freedom is based on how you answer a few questions whilst chained up in a black void. Since the guy says that he does not believe in God anymore, he is fried. I should mention two things: that guy used to be their co-worker and the reason for this question is never addressed. For a movie designed to explain things, you have a lot of unexplained things!
The big turn comes when the young man decides to go in and save the people. Of course, he is too late to save the guy who gets filled with flesh-eating bacteria AND exploded with sonics (don't ask). Since our hero has Eidetic Memory, he figures that he can walk them through to the exit. Never mind that he knows the exit only leads to the place where they burn you alive... The man's plan is unfortunately thrown for a loop when his bosses- one of whom has a cybernetic eye-patch!- hit a button that makes all the letters melt. You want to explain how that is physically possible, movie? No? Okay then. In spite of this, they do a pretty good job of getting around, although the soldier guy does get killed, only to come back as a Universal Soldier...I mean, something completely original. Oh and to make matters worse, they only have about five minutes to get out before the whole thing 'wipes itself clean.' Translation: people gonna die! Given the actual time spent escaping, the drama is a bit silly. The woman makes it out past some sort of body of water, but the guy does not. He wakes up in the clutches of his masters and is given a nice lobotomy to keep his 'super genius' in check. He ends up back in the Cube, apparently in an attempt to make this all tie together. Anyone buying it? The End.
This movie is not bad, but it is certainly not a great film either. On one hand, I applaud the filmmakers for trying to explain two movies that defy all explanation. On the other hand, doesn't it almost seem better if you don't know? The mystery of the Cube is just that the military/government are assholes that test weaponry out on whoever they don't like. I suppose it is better than a plan involving eggs from Mars being shipped across the world in fruit baskets sent by an AWOL astronaut (Contamination). That or a bizarre scheme involving killing people in front of a young woman in order to impress her, since her mother was a serial killer that you admired (Dario Argento's Opera). As far as being the third- and last- film in a series, the movie does attempt some new ideas, as well as having characters act smarter than the previous ones. Ultimately though, it does not do enough to distinguish it from the other movies in terms of setting (not that it really could, I guess), gore level and/or story. The whole thing is pretty self-contained, however, and does not require previous viewing of the series to be enjoyed. It's worth a look if you liked the two Cube films and wondered 'why the hell is this going on?!?'
Up next, is that me covering the sequel to an Academy Award winning film? I must have some sort of alterior motive. Stay tuned...