Story: Just when the puppets think they can relax for a while, it seems like someone else tries to screw up their lives. The puppets managed to defeat the evil puppets and save Rick Myers (Gordon Currie) and his friends, but now they face even more obstacles. The evil pharaoh Sutec, who sent the evil puppets last time isn’t done yet, and this time he is sending the ultimate Totem, a puppet of himself. This Totem seeks to succeed where the others failed, killing Myers and stealing the formula that allows the puppets to remain alive. As if that isn’t enough to deal with, now a shady guy by the name of Dr. Jennings (Ian Ogilvy) has shown up, and he too looks to steal Toulon’s secret for his own profit. Once Jennings is able to discover the secret he’s come looking for, he plans to sell his findings to the military, for their own uses. But if you think our puppets are going to give up that easily, you’re dead wrong. With Toulon’s guidance, Rick and the puppets forge ahead one more time to ensure the secrecy of the formula to life. If the smoke clears with Rick and the puppets on top, we just might have a new puppet master in town.
Entertainment Value: You can tell this movie was intended to be part of Puppet Master 4, as both films seem rather rushed and incomplete. This one opens with a lengthy recap that soaks up a lot of of the already short duration, so perhaps the decision to split Puppet Master 4 into two sequels wasn’t the best option available. The narrative feels pretty much like the one from the previous movie, as the puppets try to battle the totems, so this feels almost like a retread, even with a new thread woven into the human stories here. And the emphasis is once again on the humans, which is a shame, since the puppets and totems are much more interesting to watch. The same criticisms I had for Puppet Master 4 also apply here as well, with less puppet action, lackluster writing, and reduced horror and violence elements, but those flaws are amplified here. I’m not sure if these two movies would have been better if kept as a single entry, but they come across as stretched far too thin. I did appreciate the puppet and totem battles when they were going on, but it rarely happens and that’s a shame. In the end, Puppet Master 5 marks another step down for the franchise, but fans of the puppets might find just enough fun in the fights with the totem to make this worth a spin.
As I said above, Puppet Master 5 continues the trend of the previous movie and scales back the puppet action in favor of the human driven stories. That was a mistake before and it is even more evident here, as that shift is increased this time around. When the movie just does what Puppet Master is known for, it works well enough, even if it not on par with the first three pictures. But there is potential here and I think the totems could have energized the franchise, rather than be wasted for the most part. I did like the finale however, so there’s that. Full Moon brought out some fun genre performers for this sequel, though none are given much screen time or much to do. Still, it was nice to see Ron O’Neal, Clu Gulager, and Duane Whitaker on hand. Gordon Currie has the technical lead I suppose and he is passable, though I wish he would dialed up his energy in these movies. The cast also includes Guy Rolfe, Teresa Hill, Chandra West, and Ian Ogilvy.