Alien 3 (1992)
“3 times the suspense. 3 times the danger. 3 times the terror”
Alien 3 (1992)
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance
Synopsis: Ripley continues to be stalked by a savage alien, after her escape pod crashes on a prison planet.
Generally considered to be the beginning of a downturn for the Alien franchise, Alien 3 holds up quite well, even if it does fail to reach the heights of its predecessors. Having sent in the macho marines in Aliens, the series turns about-face by placing the action on a remote prison planet on which a bunch of prisoners lead a monk-like existence. This quasi-religious band of misfits has virtually no weapons with which to defend itself against the alien that hitched a ride on the crash-landed pod in which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver – Alien, Cabin in the Woods), Newt and Hicks escaped from the carnage of Part 2. Not that they initially feel the need for protection when Ripley finally tries to warn them (after spending most of her time unaccountably seeking to hide the alien’s presence from them). It’s only when Andrews (Brian Glover), their pompous jailor, is lifted bodily through the ceiling in front of the rest of the terrified men that they begin taking her a bit seriously.
We all know that the more you go to the well, the drier it gets, and there’s no denying the formula was getting a little stale when this movie was released, thirteen years after the first in the franchise. For much of the film, Aliens 3 plays like a stalk-and-slash movie. It’s a neat twist to go from heavily-armed high-tech military might to a near-medieval colony of defenceless men, but at the end of the day all that defenceless men can do against a formidable predator like the alien is to run away inventively. While Weaver manages to avoid any signs of burn-out during her third outing as Ripley, the quality of acting amongst the rest of the cast is variable, to say the least, with British actors struggling to cope with dialogue written by Americans who have only a tenuous grasp of how English people really talk. The concluding scenes suggest that the makers themselves perhaps realised they had finally squeezed the last ounce of viability out of their product but, with mind-numbing predictability, the franchise was resurrected once more in 1997 to near-universal disdain. When viewed in this context, Alien 3 serves as an appropriately average bridge between the good and the bad.
(Reviewed 22nd June 2015)