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ALIEN 3 - Skull
Rated R
Copyright 1992 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Lord Hades on 13 August 2008

The Characters:  

  • Lt. Ellen Ripley - Sigourney Weaver is back, and she's...bald? Decides to bunk in with some convicts, and ends up knocked up with a Queen Alien! Dies (presumably) after said Alien ruptures her stomach lining, falling with her into a tub of molten lead. Can you say, "Terminator 2" rip-off?
  • Dillon - Charles S. Dutton? It becomes readily apparent that the only reason he was chosen for this film was because he was bald already. Is a real tough guy and decides to go 20 rounds with the Canine-lien(tm), Buster Douglas style. Doesn't make it through the first round.
  • Clemens - Charles Dance!? As punishment for his failure to kill the Golden Child, Sardo Numspa was punished by Satan to endure this film as an aging prisoner/doctor with a troubled past. Gets to make sweet, unbridled love to Ripley (with Alien), and shortly thereafter suffers a fatal head wound, courtesy of Canine-lien(tm). More on him later.
  • Bishop I &: II - Lance Henriksen! Appears as both the original Bishop, who is not a happy guy since his drastic weight loss program at the hands of the Queen Alien, and as a new and improved total slimeball Bishop, the Bishop II. Bishop I is taken in 3 moves, while Bishop II presumably lives to plague a possible sequel.
  • Golic - A rather insane, distrustful criminal personage inhabiting picturesque Fiorina 161. Somehow manages to stare Death in its ugly, fanged maw and escape with only minor injuries.
  • Canine-lien(tm) - Apparently, David Fincher wasn't aware that the Aliens never used to take genetic material from their hosts, because this Alien is bad and on all fours now, thanks to a rather unsuspecting pooch host! Eats a vicarious sum of criminal refuse before being simultaneously superheated/cooled, which, as anyone knows, will make something explode into a million shards.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

"In Space, No One Can See Shit Steam."

For fans of the action packed sequel to "Alien," you may be expecting Ripley, Hicks, Newt, and Bishop to have more fun filled adventures in space...You'd be wrong. Apparently, the Queen Alien, who had JUST left the landing gear of the Sulaco prior to showing Bishop what a shish-kebab felt like, had ample time to lay a generous sum of her brood along the landing area, which going undetected by both the ship's systems and the wary eye of Ripley, hatched during their hibernation. The resulting fire (one wonders why these egg sacks don't have life sign readings until they hatch), causes the ship to jettison the crew to safety. Safety, according to the ship's computer, must truly be a relative term, as they end up on a prison world full of horny lifers. Personally I'd rather take my chances with the Aliens. What ensues is a poorly scrawled, incoherent waste of film that would be better served in a bathroom stall as a toilet paper substitute.

Ripley is sans friends (they all died in the crash, conveniently), except for the thoroughly-trashed-yet-somehow-functional Bishop I, an old demon posing as a doctor, and a convicted murderer who likes to box creatures with fangs longer than his arm - David Fincher's anti-xenomorph dream team. She finds out that the pods were jettisoned due to Alien infestation, which makes her appropriately cautious of her fear of being impregnated, a fear which finally comes to fruition. One of the dirty little facehuggers escaped the crash and hides out on an overly friendly dog, implanting it with a Canine-lien(tm) that goes on all fours, has a massive head, and seems worse than the Queen Alien on PMS. Interesting to note that the Aliens that gestate in humans had 'no' such genetic alteration, therefore it is advisable to keep Aliens away from Earth, and its furry creatures, at all costs. No one needs an Alien that makes 'Baaaa' sounds as it's crunching on your head; it's just not right.

The Canine-lien(tm) kills most of the criminals before they realize that, not only does Ripley have an Alien inside her, but that it is a Queen Alien. How did it magically know to become a Queen? Do Aliens have group telepathy and 'know' that the Queen is dead? After this impressive leap in logic is made, they decide that the Alien won't harm Ripley for fear of ending their race. Again, how does this Canine-lien(tm) know that Ripley has a Queen inside her? Do they emanate a smell from the host while they are buried deep in their gut?

As they have no weapons in the colony, the convicts construct an elaborate catch and kill plan, where they run around through dark, abandoned smelting tunnels hoping to lure the creature to its doom. Eventually, after all but three of the criminals meets a fitting demise (one foolishly lays his head against a window and gets a surprise). In an act of previously uncharacteristic heroism, Head-Buster Douglas boxes the Canine-lien(tm), until Ripley can climb to safety and coat it with a generous helping of molten lead. Somehow, it survives temperatures that turned the T-100 AND the T-1000 into slag, and is dispersed by a generous helping of water - which was the special effect highlight of this dismal movie.

Bishop II and a crew of toadies, meanwhile, appear and attempt to persuade Ripley to join them so they can destroy the Alien inside of her! With Ripley nearly persuaded, the remaining expendable convict clubs Bishop, revealing him to be just another android with a plan; he tries to lull Ripley by his desire to study the Queen and xenomorphs in general. All this after having his men empty a few bullets into one of her buddies. "Think of what we could learn!" His foot irrevocably shoved in his throat, Ripley jumps into the tub of molten lead as the Queen finally busts free and attempts to escape, illustrating more of that telepathy the writer used to make his story somehow believable. Golic, who somehow managed to survive, Bishop II with a wounded ego and in need of a plastic surgeon, and the toadies make good their exit from the prison planet, thus ending what is easily considered the most abysmal secretion in the series, which is saying a lot considering how the Queen Alien reproduces.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • You do not need to be a talented director to land an award-winning franchise.
  • Apparently, Aliens take on the characteristics of whatever host they gestate inside of. Funny, I don't remember the Alien that was inside Cain speaking with a British accent. "I say, do you mind terribly if I eat your face?" Director's cut, anyone?
  • Most prisoners on isolated penal colonies are nice guys, particularly when they haven't seen a woman in 30 years.
  • Molten lead cannot kill an Alien, only piss it off. Cold water, on the other hand, is devastating.
  • Boxing an Alien is simply 'not' the thing to do, unless you are tired of breathing.
  • Recipe for a sequel: Add 1 part talentless hack writer, 1 part burned out director, mix with a colorful cast of characters fighting a dog-like Alien and engaging in tired banter, film overnight. Serves: none.
  • Sardo Numspa really DID go to hell.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 8 mins - So the Queen Alien had enough time between crawling out of the landing gear on the Sulaco to lay all these eggs? Busy xenomorph.
  • 15 mins - Gratuitous 'hey I'm dead' Newt scene. Where is Hicks? Curse you, Fincher, and your little dog too!
  • 25 mins - RANDOM INTERNAL ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A DOG!
  • 30 mins - I'm not feeling so well; maybe it's the prison food.
  • 35 mins - Satan: "And for your failure you shall now go to 'Last Action Hero,' Sardo!" Sardo: "Noooooooo!"
  • 40 mins - And now the criminal element shall be snuffed out, one by one.
  • 60 mins - Boxing an Alien was not how I imagined spending my last day.
  • 74 mins - New and improved Bishop II, with the Lie-Chip!
  • 115 mins - I cannot believe I just sat through this senseless drivel.

Quotes: 

  • Superintendent: "As some of you know, a 337 model EEV crash landed her at 0600 on the morning watch. There was one survivor, two dead, and one droid that was hopelessly smashed beyond repair. The survivor is a woman."
    Convicts: "Waaahooo!"
  • Bishop I: "How are you? Oh, I like your new hair cut."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note alieniii1.wav Ripley: "We have to do an autopsy."
Clemens: "What?"
Ripley: "I told you: we have to make sure how she died."
Clemens: "And I told you: she drowned."
Ripley: "I'm not so sure, I...I have to see inside of her."
Green Music Note alieniii2.wav Dillon: "Yeah, well you don't want to know me, lady. I'm a murderer and rapist of women."
Ripley: "Really? Well, I guess I must make you nervous."
Green Music Note alieniii3.wav Ripley: "We have no weapons. Is that correct?"
Aaron: "Right."
Ripley: "I haven't seen one exactly like this before. It moves differently."
Green Music Note alieniii4.wav Ripley: "If this organism gets off the planet it will kill everything. The Company doesn't care about that. They just want it for their bioweapons division, okay? So, we can't let them come here."
Aaron: "F**k you! Look, I'm sorry you've got this thing inside you, but I'm getting rescued. I don't a s**t about these stupid prisoners, but I've got a wife, I've got a kid!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipalieniii1.mpg - 3.8m
Ripley announces, "It's here!" just seconds before the Superintendent (who did not believe all this Alien claptrap) is grabbed by the head and pulled into an air shaft.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 5
Re: Alien 3
Reply #9. Posted on August 15, 2008, 12:24:09 PM by Jordan
This movie seems to get a really bad rap amongst Alien fans (and well... the general public as well). As Torgo noted, the extended cut in the Alien Quadrilogy set is far superior to the theatrical cut, and oddly enough, the xenomorph in the film was (as I recall) born from an ox on the prison planet. I agree that the theatrical version is quite flawed, but I would suggest you take a glance at the longer cut before making a final decision on this one.

Quote
    Molten lead cannot kill an Alien, only p**s it off. Cold water, on the other hand, is devastating.

I know this was written for the sake of humor, but Lord Hades, have you ever seen what happens when cold water is tossed into a puddle of molten lead first hand? KABOOM!

As for the molten lead not killing the xenomorph: It has acid for blood and is hurt by, but not killed by, liquid nitrogen (as shown to us in "Alien: Resurrection"). With that in mind, I'm not so shocked that molten lead didn't kill this hardy and adaptable critter.
Re: Alien 3
Reply #10. Posted on August 15, 2008, 11:53:20 PM by Shadow
I saw this film on opening day. The first showing of the day, in fact.

When it was over, I stood up and booed.

I have never watched it again in its entirety.
Re: Alien 3
Reply #11. Posted on August 16, 2008, 05:12:05 PM by Kutter
I've held the position since I saw this movie in the theater on opening weekend that it actually is a really good Sci Fi thriller, if you take it out of the Alien franchise.  It's a tight, atmospheric thriller in an interesting setting with a credible monster. 

However, in the context of the Alien franchise, it's crap.  The movie obviously wasn't written for the franchise, and the backflips it had to do to wedge it in hurt both the movie and franchise considerably.  It's like the studio balked at the budget necessary for a proper follow up to Aliens and finally just said the hell with it. 

It's kinda sad, really.
Re: Alien 3
Reply #12. Posted on August 17, 2008, 01:18:14 AM by J.D.
This explains why it sucked so bad. Not entirely the director's fault.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_3
Re: Alien 3
Reply #13. Posted on August 17, 2008, 04:27:55 AM by Kutter
Funny thing is, this franchise could be fixed by making a new film that just decided that, while Alien3 happened, Newt and Hicks didn't get ejected and were eventually rescued.  Then we could pick up with Newt some 20 years later fending off an Alien invasion of Earth, either as it happens or in an Alien infested post-apocolypse. 

That would kick so much ass it wouldn't even be funny.  Especially if they got Micheal Biehn to reprise Hicks as kind of a Sarah Conner figure to Newt.

Fincher should be pushing for this.  He needs some redemption on the Alien front.
Re: Alien 3
Reply #14. Posted on August 17, 2008, 05:44:42 PM by Cameron
LOL. I didn't even make the connection with the dog and the Alien (cf: cani-alien). I did not see the film until the Extended Edition of the quadrilogy came out a few years ago - having seen Aliens in the theater a few times and Alien on Showtime every time it was broadcast (I was 10). It was a disappointment - but not as bad as it was made out to be
Re: Alien 3
Reply #15. Posted on August 18, 2008, 12:00:04 AM by Ken Hart
The Dog-Alien thing makes sense to me. Considering all the xenomorphs previously had been pretty much exclusively human-born, it isn't a stretch to assume that it is possible   for the host genetics to play a part. I mean, this is the same creature that grows from the size of an egg, to the size of a house python in several hours, then grows to what, like 6 or 7 feet tall in days or less.

Still, I have been p**sed about Hicks dying since I was like 8.
Re: Alien 3
Reply #16. Posted on August 18, 2008, 07:20:18 PM by Intangible Skeleton
Alien 3 has a charm to me, and even though it can be called bad (I call it bold choices), the real stinker of the Aliens franchise is Ressurection. AR is an absolute abomination - there is not a single good scene, where as Alien 3 has quite a few.
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