Alien 3 (1992)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Collector's Edition)
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Overall Rating 56%
Overall Rating
Ranked #606
...out of 20,698 movies
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Connections: Alien

After her last encounter, Ellen Ripley crash-lands on Fiorina 161, a maximum security prison. When a series of strange and deadly events occur shortly after her arrival, Ripley realizes that she has brought along an unwelcome visitor. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: September 9, 2006
Hey, look! It's the bastard sequel that everyone loves to hate, and had you asked me my opinion of it directly after I saw it in the theater (it was, after all, my second theatrical viewing, with Terminator 2 being the first), I'd have had the same opinions. Yes, even at the tender age of eleven and after having only seen bits and pieces of the first two films in the series, and even considering that the whole theater experience was still relatively new to me at the time (c'mon, who doesn't have fond memories of their first few trips to the theater?), I still walked out disappointed with this entry. As a matter of fact, I never watched it again, not even after I picked up the Alien Quadrilogy DVD set. However, in my quest to get the series reviewed on this little site of mine, I decided to revisit that horrible childhood trauma once again in order to appease you readers. Aren't I such a nice guy?

Before getting into the review, I should point out that I watched the "Assembly Cut" of this film, which is basically the unapproved director's cut (David Fincher would have nothing to do with this film - more on that later). Now, when you think of a director's cut version of a film, you usually expect to see some extended scenes - maybe some added gore or an extra eyeful of boobies - as well as some potentially interesting but generally pointless scenes that deservedly wound up on the cutting room floor. This is not the case with Alien³; the core storyline remains the same, but the grand majority of the details have been changed in this vision of the film. Therefore, if you hated the theatrical version of Alien³ (like me), you may still get a bit of enjoyment out of this assembly cut of the film... like I did.

The movie begins right where Aliens left off, with the survivors in their stasis pods and floating around in the middle of nowhere waiting to be rescued. Entwined with the credits in the opening scene of the film, we find out that a couple of alien beings had hidden themselves away on board... and since the crew members are in stasis, they're easy targets for the facehuggers. Cpl. Hicks? Dead. Newt? Dead. Bishop? Destroyed. Ripley? Infected.

After the attacks on our helpless heroes, the computer system piloting the ship ejects the pods into space due to a fire that was started during the commotion. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the lone survivor, finds herself on a planet that now serves as a prison for about twenty hardened criminals who have been sent here for everything from murder to rape to child molestation. Her still-in-stasis body is found by a prison doctor named Clemens (Charles Dance) and she's eventually brought back to the land of consciousness, where she slowly tries to put together the pieces of what happened aboard the ship and how she ended up here. During her investigations, she also has to put up with the God-fearing, highly-religious prisoners who are led by a man named Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), and suffice it to say that being an attractive female in a prison full of men who haven't "had any" in years is not a very desirable position to find yourself in. That finds itself pretty far down on her priorities list, however, after she discovers what exactly happened on board the ship... and that one of the aliens (excuse me, xenomorphs) is now running loose in the prison.

David Fincher would go on to have a successful career in Hollywood with Se7en and Fight Club, but it's pretty surprising that he didn't give up on movie-making entirely after the ordeals he went through with this. Being that his directing experience was limited to commercials and music videos at the time, the studios believed that, while he could probably do a good movie, he would have to be watched and "taught" how to do things. These studio interventions resulted in Fincher walking away from the movie before it had even entered the editing stage, and what we wound up with was a much different film than what he originally envisioned. There's more to the story, of course, but there's the condensed version for those of you not in the know.

Now, I did enjoy this assembly cut version of the film, but that doesn't mean that the core storyline wasn't lacking to begin with. One of the things that I hated most about this was the way that Hicks, Newt, and Bishop were killed off in the beginning of the movie. These characters were vital pieces of the previous film, they were very integral to the storyline, and those of us following the series had grown quite attached to them. While I had no problems with the actual fact that they were killed, it was the way that it happened that irked me. I would think that, after two of them saved our heroine on numerous occasions and after Ripley started treating Newt like her own daughter, they deserved to go out in something other than a backdrop to the opening credits.

The other thing that bugged me about this sequel was the way that it strayed away from the horror / sci-fi / action theme that the first two films featured. While there are elements of all three of those to be found here, the main emphasis seems to be on Ripley and the prisoners, not the fact that there's a huge alien running around decimating everyone that it comes into contact with. Sure, the topic does come up between the members of the cast from time to time, but it's more of a backdrop to the religious stuff and "Let's get to know one another" discussions that seem all too frequent as the movie plods along. However, I suppose it's to be expected that the alien wouldn't get a whole lot of screen time after seeing how horrible it looked thanks to the "wonders" of CGI effects. The whole man-in-a-suit setup that made the aliens look so menacing and realistic in the first two films is mostly thrown out the window here, replaced by computer effects that wouldn't look too terribly out of place in a video game.

Overall, the assembly cut is a far superior film than the theatrical version, but that still only nets it an "average" rating from yours truly. The film has more than its fair share of flaws and it's a huge step down from the first two entries in the series, but it's not a total waste of time either. 5/10.
Vash #1: Vash - added September 12, 2006 at 12:04am
i havent seen the quadrilogy cut of this one but i agree totally. this movie wasnt completely terrible, and i remember really digging the first half of it, but by the time the alien really starts showing up [maybe around the infamous shower scene?] it just fails. also, weaver just gets hard to look at when shes bald. eyugh.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added September 21, 2006 at 4:52pm
This is just an ugly film. Charles S. Dutton. Pete Postlethwaite. These are not attractive men, in the slightest. They even manage to make Sigourney Weaver look pretty close to awful by shaving her head. David Fincher is a great director, but this was definitely before he found his own visual style and elements. "Alien 3" was not the worst of the films, but it was certainly not one of the best. 5/10.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added July 11, 2010 at 2:37am
There were some really cools scenes in this film, but the moive as a whole was boring. 4/10
Jack Desmond #4: Jack Desmond - added January 16, 2012 at 2:30pm
Movie was a total bummer. Beginning with killing off the harmless little girl who went through hell to survive the previous installment. Just an utterly depressing and boring sequel.
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