Since Leprechaun 2 bombed at the box office and was a success on VHS, the suits at Trimark Pictures decided to continue the franchise in the direct-to-video market instead. It’s a shame because this one ended up being a lot more entertaining than the previous two films by a huge margin.
The Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) is let loose in Las Vegas after a coin from his pot of gold goes missing. A down on his luck loser (John Gatins) finds the coin and discovers that it has granted his wish of winning big at the roulette tables, but comes with an unfortunate consequence as payment at the hands of the Leprechaun. The more people that learn about the wish granting coin the more people attempt to steal it to make their deepest desires come true.
This flick, written by Mark Jones and directed by Ozploitation (Australian exploitation) maestro Brian Trenchard-Smith (BMX Bandits, Dead End Drive-In), is just the shot in the arm this franchise needed after the second film left me skeptical of the viability of the character in future chapters. I was proven wrong due to the highly satirical look at the seedy side of Sin City and the quite humorous death scenes.
Leads John Gatins and Lee Armstrong are perfectly serviceable in their respective parts as a likable drifter and a hot magician’s assistant. Their romance isn’t very believable, nor are some of the situations they find themselves in, but its all part of the goofiness of the production. It was nice seeing Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) in a decent role again, and she gleefully hams it up as a youth obsessed staff member of the casino. Everyone else is pretty awful, especially the actor who plays the stage magician. I’m talking grade school play awful. Seriously.
The show once again belongs to Warwick Davis as the Leprechaun and he steals every scene he’s in. His jokes are a little more varied this time around and are quite hysterical. Watching Davis do an Elvis impersonation on the strip put a grin on my face. His little jabs at the greed and desperation he sees around him are pretty funny as well since he’s in the same boat as everyone else.
The death scenes are a little more creative and reminiscent of the “be careful what you wish for” types of kills from Wishmaster. One lady wants to look beautiful again and the Leprechaun makes her lips, breasts and ass grow until she explodes. A sleazy casino owner wants to have sex with hot women so bad that the Leprechaun tricks him into banging a robot that electrocutes him. It feels like writer Jones finally let loose a little and really just went for broke with the ludicrousness of the idea of a murderous Leprechaun.
The production is cheap as hell and the set where the film mainly takes place looks like some airline hanger that was quickly drywalled and turned into the Lucky Shamrock Hotel and Casino. Personally I think it adds to the charm of the film. The casino is supposed to be a dumpy establishment, like Circus Circus, so I found it funny that it literally was pretty dumpy.
There’s not much else to say other than if I had to choose one film in this franchise to recommend to people to watch it would have to be this one. It’s funny, clever and quite entertaining. It’s still not a good movie by any means, but it’s definitely not bad either. But then again… I have three more films in this series to watch.
3 out of 5