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Film review: Alien 3

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A sequel to director Ridley Scott's "Alien" was inevitable, of course. This traditional horror movie set in outer space simply made too darn much money for the studio to simply let it stand alone.

Surprisingly, when director James Cameron took over, he was determined to make a different movie rather than merely rehash the first. Thus, "Aliens" was adventurous, taking the story in new and exciting directions as an action-adventure yarn instead of another horror movie.

Indeed, a number of critics feel "Aliens" is better than "Alien."

But now comes "Alien 3 " - as unnecessary a sequel to a major movie as we've seen in some time. First-time director David Fincher and four writers have created another horror movie, attempting existential overtones as they make the alien in this film Ripley's "Moby Dick."

But "Alien 3 " begins by changing the ending of its predecessor and knocking off nearly all the characters we cared about. Fans will recall that Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Hicks, Newt and the android Bishop escaped in a space ship at the end of "Aliens." But this film begins with their being ejected from the ship and crash-landing on a prison planet, which kills all of them except Ripley!

On this maximum-security planet, where lice infestation requires everyone to be bald, Ripley finds that the lone surviving monster is still with them. Soon, she's organizing the prisoners to be on the alert, but since there are no weapons of any kind on the entire planet, they wind up playing hide-and-seek with the creature for most of the movie.

There are a lot of problems with this film, but the worst are its dreary, dark motif; the lack of sympathetic characters; the unpleasantness of the film's premise, which has Ripley eventually discovering she has a queen alien growing inside of her; and a lengthy chase sequence that is so dark, and edited so chaotically that it becomes confusing.

Those looking for thrills or some enhancement to the first films will be very disappointed. Those looking for a headache will have come to the right place.

And why is it "Alien 3 " instead of simply "Alien 3" or "Alienz" or "Alien: One of Those Slobbering Monsters Survived After All"? It's probably just a gimmick to get writers like me to ponder the question and give the film a little more ink. It worked.

"Alien 3 " is rated R for considerable violence and gore, as well as profanity, vulgarity, implied sex and a brief moment of nudity.