Director – David Fincher
Cast – Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Danny Webb, Christopher John Fields, Holt McCallany, Lance Henriksen
Release Year – 1992
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Alien 3 is unique in the Alien series for several reasons, two of them being that this was the first entry not to kick all ass, and much like the two previous entries this one comes to us from one of the better directors out there…David Fincher(Se7en, Zodiac). While Fincher has since disowned this film due to his quarrels with the producers and other powers-that-be, Alien 3 does come with an interesting take on the Ripley saga and is complimented by Fincher’s great direction.
After escaping from the alien planet in Aliens, Ripley’s ship crash lands on an oil refinery inhabited by life-sentenced prisoners. While awaiting rescue from the company that put her in this mess, she discovers the true reason behind her crash on the refinery; an alien stowed itself onboard her craft. With the deadly beast maturing in size and feasting on all who come in its path, Ripley must kill the alien species once and for all, which makes for a difficult decision when a stunning revelation is made.
I have always noticed a distaste for this film from avid Alien fans, and I believe it stems from this good but not incredible film being the one to originally end the trilogy and Ripley saga. The conflict that went on between the studio and David Fincher obviously did not help, and this was worsened with the numerous re-writes and delays that went on even before Fincher was involved. A film doomed from the start, I believe Fincher made the most out of this bad situation, and he is truly the sole reason Alien 3 did not go down as complete junk.
From the get-go David Fincher delivers good direction and great sets for us, with his usual clever editing and unique camerawork that sets his style apart from many others. His execution of his characters is good, and we get nothing but positive performances from everyone involved, especially Sigourney Weaver. The despair and fear we see from Ripley as each twist and turn occurs feels real, and shows that despite her mannish(heh) appearance, the girl can act! I enjoyed that we once again get a sweet looking alien to deliver the carnage, although because the filmmakers opted for some scenes that required what I guess was too much for a man in a suit to deliver, we are forced to endure some pathetic looking CGI(it was the 90s though, I’ll forgive) alien action from time to time. We do get a lot of gore in this entry, probably more gore than the first two combined, which made me happy in seeing that Fincher had a taste for gore before Se7en.
Story-wise I mentioned earlier that we get a unique take on Ripley’s saga, and while Aliens touched base with personal elements such as her ability to serve as a mother, this entry takes a personal approach on Ripley based on a physical level, literally. I cannot explain this further without delivering some strong spoilers, but I will say that while some elements of this are not that appealing to those looking for horror, the end revelation revealed is worthy of some praise on my part. Just like the two previous entries, we are thrown into a nowhere-to-run scenario with a bloodthirsty maniacal alien on the loose, and I will never get tired of the idea. I will admit though that I really did not see much significance in setting this film on an oil refinery run by prisoners serving out their life sentences. Due to these being life-sentenced prisoners, they all come with violent backgrounds that you would think would pose a threat to Ripley, but we get very little conflict on that area. In the end we really do not receive anything worthwhile from such an idea because even these “hardened” criminals were no match for the alien. The climax of the film was set to be the final scene of the Alien series, and I must say that it provided a very positive way for the series to end. We all know that Alien: Resurrection changed all of this, but for the time in which it debuted this one got it right.
Overall, this is a positive entry into the Alien series that despite not hitting as hard as the first two films manages to provide some good alien carnage thanks to Fincher’s direction. The film comes with several faults and a somewhat uninteresting story at times, but if you find joy in these films then this one should give you what you want.