It goes without saying that Alien 3 was a serious disappointment that failed to live up to the first two films. Alien Resurrection, though, is a decent sequel that is far better than the third film. It has action, good acting, cloning and a story that is not half bad. While it isn’t anywhere near as exhilarating as Aliens this is more watchable than Alien 3 ever was.
Two centuries after the previous film’s events Ripley is cloned by a group of scientists on the USM Auriga. After that the ship becomes infested with Aliens and Ripley is forced to escape with a group of survivors. Unlike its immediate predecessor Alien Resurrection has lots of action which is not as exciting as before, but just fun enough to view. It is fortunate that some action was included in this sequel because as proven by the third film the Alien series does not really work without at least some action sequences. It is just a shame that the film has been practically neutered of all the scariness that was present in the previous films. Instead we are left with flat tension that does not even reach the level of jump scares.
Like everything else the effects are better than they were in Alien 3. The computer generated diarrhea of the third film is replaced with good old stuntmen in Alien suits. The CGI is kept to a minimum and mercifully only appears in about two scenes. After the Alien Queen from the second film the best use of animatronics comes in the form of a new type of Alien that appears near the end of the film. This creature is far more complex and impressive in appearance than any other animatronic in the film. It also looks way more disgusting than your average alien so it isn’t exactly pleasant to look at when you think about it carefully. As far as visuals go this is a serious step up from the rubbish seen in Alien 3.
The characters are less relatable and yet remain as cool as usual. Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ripley who is portrayed as a slightly darker character due to her being cloned from human and Alien DNA. This version of the character is slightly less likable than before which is a little upsetting. Winona Ryder is very good as Call one of the more sophisticated characters in the film series. Call is probably the only character who comes close to replacing Bishop who is absent this time around. Ron Perlman provides one the best performances in the entire film as the character Johner. He is probably one of the most badass characters in the series after Hicks from the second film. J.E. Freeman portrays the evil scientist Dr Wren who is yet another character who underestimates the Aliens intelligence. Didn’t the franchise have enough stock morons already?
It is easy to hold the third film with the utmost contempt, but Alien Resurrection is a fairly good sequel that solves some of the problems of Alien 3. With a modest amount of action and great acting this is a film that does its best to impress its audience and overshoots the mark a little. Bleak and entertaining this is not the best, but is far from the worst of the Alien films.