Ripley crash lands on a prison planet and must rally the
prisoners to kill an alien that hitched a ride on her escape ship.
Directed by David Fincher
Written by David Giler, Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton,
Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Danny Webb,
Ralph Brown, Pete Postlethwaite, Lance Henriksen
Sequel to 1986's Aliens
Oscar Nominations - Best Visual Effects
Alien³ is one of the most infuriating sequels ever made. After two films that mentioned the possibility of these creatures making it to Earth and a trailer that promised the Xenomorphs would be invading Earth, the third Alien film gives us a lone alien on an isolated prison planet. Not exactly the climactic third entry, am I right? Starring a visibly disinterested Sigourney Weaver and a motley crew of disposable prisoners, Alien³ is easily the weakest link of the franchise.
After watching Ripley and a squad of space commandos take on an entire nest and the Queen, it seems like a huge step backward to not only go back to a single alien, but to kill the most interesting side characters from Aliens during the opening credits of part three. Hicks, Newt, and Bishop are all killed in a crash before the film even starts, with Ripley being the lone survivor on Fiorina 161, a prison planet. From there, we are introduced to a host of English prisoners who are poor replacements for the crew of the Nostromo or the Space Marines we grew to love. The only saving grace is character actor Charles Dance as the doctor Clemens, who is a much-needed shoulder for Ripley during the first half. Until, of course, he is killed unceremoniously and never mentioned again. It's clear why David Fincher formally disowned this film. Somebody screwed with this thing until it barely resembled an Alien film. Even the so-called "Assembly Cut" from which this review is based fails to add the necessary components to add tension, horror, or even chemistry to this dull trek through the muck.
Alien³ is destined to only ever be watched during franchise marathons, as there is nobody in the film community who could consciously decide to watch this film over any of the others, even Alien: Resurrection. It's depressing, it's devoid of any real stakes, and the visuals are embarrassingly bad compared to the first two films. It's good that Ridley Scott has plans to fully revisit the franchise. Otherwise, this and its follow-up could've been what fans were left with for an ending.