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Alien3 (1992)

The bitch is back

Directed by:

David Fincher

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 114 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: United States

Those aliens just won’t take a hint, will they? Six years previously, Sigourney Weaver’s increasingly mannish Ellen Ripley banished another of the monstrous space-swines into the cosmos, before once again heading off for a bit of a kip.

So the fact that she now finds herself slap-bang in the middle of a third chapter is a sure-fire sign that something survived. Only, if you’ve watched ‘Aliens’, you’ll be pretty sure that nothing did. And there, with the convenient appearance of at least one new face-hugger aboard Ripley’s craft, lies the first major problem with ‘Alien3’.

Problem 2 is the lazy script-writing which for some reason deems the relationships Ripley formed with Newt and Hicks (Carrie Henn and Michael Biehn) in the last movie surplus to requirements. Within minutes of this movie’s opening, those two have been killed off – it’s a real blow for fans of that second film, and one this movie struggles to recover from.

Ripley’s craft has crash-landed on an all-male maximum security prison planet, governed by a highly disagreeable Brian Glover and populated by a charming mix of murderers, rapists and – probably – politicians. Surprise surprise, these nasty-pieces-of-work soon find themselves being picked off one-at-a-time by the very beast introduced onto the planet by our heroine’s ship. Oops.

David Fincher – making his big screen directorial debut – handles the picture with impressive style, but the deeply detestable subject matter renders much of his good work pointless. When the alien gives chase it’s as scary as it ever was previously in the series, but the major difference this time is that you’ll struggle to feel any empathy for its prey.

If Ripley was a survivor in ‘Alien’ and a fighter in ‘Aliens’, in ‘Alien3‘ she’s a cold-hearted quitter, operating entirely without even the smallest smattering of hope. It’s understandable given what the character’s been through, but hardly makes for good cinema. When even she herself openly wants to die, why should we as an audience care if she doesn’t?

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It's Got: Ripley shaving her noggin. Apparently the only thing worse than the aliens are the head lice.

It Needs: Characters we can care about and a plot that works.

DVD Extras Original theatrical trailer and a ‘Making of’ doc. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Summary

Marvellously directed and well-acted, but a dirty and wholly unrewarding experience, containing major plot-holes thanks to a complete disregard of what went on in the previous movie.

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