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Alien3: Special Edition

When we last saw Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) at the end of Aliens she seemed finally at peace, having survived not one but two alien infestations. And while we're all for watching Sigourney kick some more alien butt, if David Fincher's Alien3 was the best idea anybody had at the time, they should have left her in cryro-sleep and concluded the series instead of dreaming up this installment, which sticks Ripley and another slimy-gummed brute inside an interstellar penitentiary with a small group of abandoned convicts. The delicious suspense of Ridley Scott's original film is entirely missing here, and the mind-blowing action and hyperbolic characters of James Cameron's follow-up probably can't be duplicated anyway. What we do have is a great deal of wooden dialogue and a director who tries to generate fear with tired clichés that simply tell us who is about to die in the next few moments (such as when a group of convicts forgets something while searching for the alien, and one of them volunteers to go back and find it by himself. Puh-lease.) That said, fans of Fincher (who directed the excellent Se7en and the incoherent The Game) will probably want to give this one a spin, if only to enjoy his colorless, monochromatic visual style, which is always interesting but much more effective when it's interpolated with characters and a plot. Also starring Charles Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, and Lance Henriksen. Good transfer, DD 5.1 or 2.0, production featurette, trailer.
—JJB



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