Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 3 Beans
f "Alien 3" was a sign that the saga of Ellen Ripley was on its last legs, then "Alien Resurrection" is surely its final funeral oration. This fourth installment is a great looking but lackluster, and totally confused sequel that also suffers from a severe case of inertia and preposterousness.
The whole shebang starts off on the wrong foot. Some 100 years after the end of "Alien 3" a group of scientists on a super spacestation use a sample of Ellen Ripley's blood to clone her back into existence, but they really want the alien that was gestating inside of her, which is also cloned. Now, if memory serves me correctly, at the end of "Alien 3" the prison planet was left in pretty rough shape, and much of it was wrecked, so I don't know how a glass testtube of her blood was left uncracked. But never mind. Or, that blood that is 100 years old would be pretty coagulated, rotted, and useless, being unpreserved. But never mind. Or that, even if the blood was saved and preserved earlier, why it took 100 years to use. But never mind. Or that, even if Ellen were cloned from this blood, the alien inside would not be cloned as well. If blood from a pregnant woman is used and cloned, the clone, I'm sure, wouldn't be pregnant as well. But never mind. You begin to see the problem. It's used as an excuse to come up with a Ripley who is sort of part human and part alien. She has super strength and seems to have extra-sensory capabilities.
Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as cinema's greatest heroine, and it's probably one of the strongest performances in the series. Sadly, this performance is stuck in this by-the-numbers sequel, which tries to stretch the story, but fails to inject much originality or energy.
Anyway, the scientists take the cloned alien and make a whole slew of them. Of course, something goes awry, and the aliens escape. Laying waste to a majority of the people on the space station. However, the film decides to focus on a small rag-tag group of space smugglers all lacking in personality, the actors were hired because they are rather odd-looking (led by Ron Perlman and Michael Wincott). Included in this group is Annalee Call (Winona Ryder), who has a big secret. Anyone who is familiar with the series will need about two seconds to figure it out (remember Ash and Bishop? Can't have an Alien movie without one). Ryder performance is okay, I guess, considering the underdeveloped character she is given.
The film would have looked better if there was just more. More characters, more carnage, more action. At one point, it's made clear that there are about 12 aliens running loose, but for some reason we see only 3. What a waste.
The director of "Alien Resurrection" was one of the French guys who made the fabulous "Delicatessen" and "The City of Lost Children" (his name escapes me at the moment). And to his credit, the film looks real good, but I'm afraid they didn't let him go nearly far enough. His amazing visual sense of his previous films could have really sent the movie into surreal hyperdrive, but as it is, it's neat looking but not much else.
One big twist has a sort-of sexual seduction of Ripley by an alien (I think that's what happened, the photography is very dark and the editing protracts the scenes). The result is a giant Human/Alien hybrid creature that begins to run amok. What just happened? I don't know. One still-cocooned scientist at the nest (Brad Dourif) prattles off some strange, confused monologue about "Man and Alien as one" or something to that effect. I had no idea what the hell that meant. I've even asked people who actually thought this movie was great, what exactly he was talking about and what the hell it meant. And even they couldn't tell me. Hmmmmmm.
If your going to throw some new stuff into the story at least make it comprehensible. As a mindless piece of eye-candy, "Alien Resurrection" is acceptable, I guess. But if you are looking for something that is action-packed, suspense-filled, or actually makes sense. You might want to give this flick a solid pass.
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