It's not often in these studio-dominated times that a low-budget exploitation film gets shown in cinemas but Kelly Brook's presence in Three has won it a limited theatrical release. This is a melodrama about a love triangle between three people stranded on a desert island. Ms Brook plays Jennifer, a millionaire's beautiful trophy wife. Billy Zane is Jack, the arrogant millionaire. Juan Pablo Di Pace is Manuel, a crew member on the yacht the couple charter. The boat catches fire, a storm drowns their companions and the three of them end up as castaways. Manuel lusts after Jennifer and resents her rich husband. Jennifer likes Manuel but won't submit to his advances and wishes Jack would trust her. Jack doesn't trust either of them and his jealousy is driving him mad.
As overwrought trash, the kind of film that might have been made for video ten years ago with Shannon Tweed and Jan Michael Vincent, Three is just about passable. It's easy on the eyes and on the brain. The script's silliness sometimes works in its favour - unnecessary embellishments like Manuel's voodoo-priestess ex-girlfriend add to the cheesy fun. Working against it is a lazy stupidity, evidence of filmmakers who didn't care. For example, the shipwreck appears to take place 24 hours out of Florida and yet we're supposed to believe this paradise island receives no visitors all year. I know this isn't Cast Away and details like that we should be able to overlook but they could have at least tried to make it credible.
A more damaging problem is characterisation. Only Jack is given a personality or even consistent behaviour. The other two, the people we're supposed to sympathise with, we can never quite understand. This is an irritation - it makes it impossible to get involved in the story. To make matters worse, the final act is almost completely incoherent.
Of the film's three stars, old pro Billy Zane comes off best, probably because he takes the film the least seriously. Zane is used to playing crazy characters - Three completes his "psychos at sea" trilogy that also includes Dead Calm and Titanic - and he has some fun with this one, finding humour in the way his character turns into an overgrown Lord Of The Flies schoolboy savage. His performance suggests Three might have worked better had it been played as a black comedy.
Juan Pablo Di Pace looks great but he can't do anything with the hot-blooded Latino stereotype he's asked to play. His habit of muttering things in Spanish when he's angry drew unintentional laughs at the screening I attended. Similarly, Kelly Brook doesn't do much to dispel the suspicion she's in the film purely as eye candy. Brook is a trained actress and, truth be told, she wasn't bad in School For Seduction but her work here barely qualifies as acting. In her defence, Jennifer is the worst written character. Some of her actions in the last half hour make no sense at all.
Veteran director Stewart Raffill has had a chequered career, ranging from cult 80s sci-fi like The Philadelphia Experiment and The Ice Pirates to kiddie crap like Mac And Me and Mannequin On The Move. Back in the seventies he used to make wilderness adventures for family audiences and his experience with those must have come in handy. Three is a very good-looking film despite an obviously small budget, the limits of which are visible only once or twice, as in the laughable 5-second storm sequence.
Okay, enough about the script and the acting and the camera work. Blah blah blah, you're all thinking, just tell us whether Kelly gets them out or not. Yes readers, she gets them out but only a few times and very briefly. If Kelly Brook naked is what you're after, you'll have to wait for the "unrated edition" DVD or at least something you can take home and freeze-frame.