Alien 3

Directed By: David Fincher

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Paul McGann, Danny Webb, Pete Postlethwaite, Lance Henriksen, Leon Herbert, and Peter Guinness

The biggest problem plaguing the Alien franchise is that there is no central vision for the series.  There's nobody steering the ship aside from profit-oriented studio execs.  There's no director that has made more than a single installment in the franchise.  While this worked early on with legends like Ridley Scott and James Cameron taking the helm, the lack of a single director steering the franchise keeps it from having a central story aside from big bad aliens attacking.  The franchise just keeps bringing Sigourney Weaver back to play Ellen Ripley in the latest storyline concocted by the new guy sitting in the director's chair.  For Alien 3, that new guy is a young David Fincher.

After Ripley (Weaver), Newt, Hicks, and Bishop escaped LV-426, they went into stasis.  Unfortunately, they hadn't killed all the aliens, and one just happens to be aboard their ship the Sulaco.  The alien aboard their spaceship wreaks havoc and starts a fire while they're all unconscious.  The ship launches an escape pod with the four unconscious victims that eventually crashes on Fury 161, an all-male maximum security prison in a remote location in space.  Some prisoners discover the pod and alert Warden Harold Andrews (Brian Glover).  Ripley is the only human survivor.  The others don't make it.

An ailing Ripley is treated by a doctor named Clemens (Charles Dance).  She eventually wakes up and learns of the events on the Sulaco.  With the newfound knowledge that an alien was aboard her ship, she requests that Clemens conduct an autopsy on Newt and that he cremate the bodies of Newt and Hicks.  With an all-male facility where the men have not seen women in years, her presence is frowned upon, especially by the warden.  Little does she know that the alien aboard her ship latched onto the prison dog, nor does she realize that an Alien Queen is growing inside her.  When the alien within the dog is fully grown and starts terrorizing Fury 161, Ripley turns to the prisoners' religious leader Dillon (Charles S. Dutton) for help to take down the alien.

While Alien 3 adds another great director to the list of men who have made Alien films with David Fincher, it adds nothing to the sci-fi horror genre.  The films tagline says it all.  The bitch is back.  The alien came back for a group therapy session.  Alien 3 is nothing more than a standard horror movie with a bunch of whiny prisoners for victims.  Fincher gives us lots of blood and guts but no real fear.  It doesn't help that the alien looks like a big green animated velociraptor.  The film retreads old territory and does absolutely nothing to reinvigorate the genre.  Even with Ripley now being part of the alien family, we have nothing to fear. 

Now quite familiar with the character of Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver gives a good performance.  I can't say the same for the rest of the cast however.  While it's good to see a young Tywin Lannister in Charles Dance, he doesn't do much for the film, nor does Brian Glover as the prison warden who never stops flapping his damn gums.  Charles S. Dutton is decent in his role as Dillon but nothing more.  His performance doesn't make or break the film.

My big issue with Alien 3 is this religion the prisoners profess to believe.  What the hell is it?  It's normal to have an environment in an Alien flick that's basically anti-Ripley.  Everyone always thinks she's crazy, and we're used to that.  What I'm not used to is this anti-women theme altogether.  Why does their faith need to be anti-women as opposed to just anti-crime?  Because of their extremist religion, things get a little weird in the movie.

I often say that David Fincher never lets me down.  With films like Se7en, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on his résumé, I'm generally justified.  On this rare occasion, I was wrong.  While Fincher has done just fine since this small blemish on his résumé, Alien 3 marks the first bad move in a downward spiral for the franchise itself from which it has never recovered.  With a failed attempt at making a scary movie, some dreadful special effects, and a mixed bag of performances by the cast, Alien 3 is nothing like its predecessors.  Alien 3 gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few whiskey sours with this one.