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Rated R
Copyright 1997 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Dan Kretzer on 6 October 2002

The Characters:  

  • Ripley #8 - Sigourney Weaver! An instant adult clone of Ellen Ripley with all of Ripley's memories. Her genes were crossed with the alien's, giving her acidic blood and black fingernails.
  • Call - Winona Ryder! Turns out to be an android, which might explain the acting.
  • Vriess - Paraplegic space pirate mechanic. Inexplicably survives.
  • Johner - Ron Perlman! Pirate who "mostly just hurts people." He survives. Hooray.
  • Christie - Space pirate with a talent for calculating angles of bullet ricochet. This does not save him.
  • Elgyn - Space pirate leader. Very curious for a guy who just wants to get the hell off the ship. Impaled.
  • Hillard - Lady space pirate. Loves foot rubs and thong underwear; a slow swimmer. She dies and all hope for a random gratuitous breast shot dies with her.
  • General Perez - Dan Hedaya! Radical right-wing general. BOO!! HISS!! Lives seven seconds without a brain, which is several decades less than screenwriter Joss Whedon.
  • Dr. Wren - Radical right-wing military geneticist. BOO!! HISS!! Corniest death in the entire "Alien" series.
  • Gediman - Brad Dourif! Slimy, bungling assistant to Dr. Wren. Head eaten.
  • Distephano - Soldier who teams with the space pirates. Head crushed like a beer can.
  • Purvis - Impregnated with an alien by the military. Goes out in a blaze of glory.
  • Aliens - For a species hell bent on catching the humans, they sure do spend a lot of time not chasing them.
  • Disgusting Alien Baby - Genetic cross between human and alien (it has Ripley's eyes). Its guts get ripped out by the cold vacuum of space, and after watching this movie, you will know just how it feels.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

That Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece "Alien" is one of the greatest horror films (and THE greatest horror/scifi film) ever made only makes this vile and offensive third sequel all the more painful. "Alien Resurrection" takes one of the great movie monsters of all time and renders it boring in a tedious effort to teach us a lesson about the dangers of cloning and to take a cheap shot at the military. This movie trades in the suspense, mayhem, and dark humor of its predecessors for a preachy, unimaginative plot that plods along from episode to episode, clubbing the audience about the head and neck with its political messages. I was waiting for "Alien Resurrection" to end. You really cannot say anything worse about a movie.

The action (if that's the right word) is set entirely on board the USS Auriga, a covert military science ship operating in "unregulated space," 200 years after Ellen Ripley's death at a prison colony in "Alien3." A villainous futuristic military has acquired a sample of Ripley's blood from the prison colony. Apparently she was pregnant with an alien queen at the time she was bleeding, so naturally cloning that blood will result in a new, fully grown version of Ripley - called #8 by the scientists (more on that later) - who is somehow ALSO pregnant with an alien queen! Dr. Wren and Gediman succeed in removing the queen from Ripley #8. She survives and miraculously has all of Ripley's old memories! PROBLEM: Cloning someone's blood would theoretically give you a fetus genetically identical to that person. The fetus would have no memories and certainly would not have any parasitic aliens. This D-minus grasp of basic scientific principles infects the entire movie and makes one marvel that screenwriter Joss Whedon ever managed to get his computer plugged in. It also sucks the gravity out of the serious issue of cloning, which in a better movie might frighten an intelligent audience. Instead, this plays out like propaganda by morons for morons.

General Perez is in charge of this super-secret program to bring back the aliens and use them as biological weapons. One of the biggest problems I had with the "Alien" series is the idea that any military commander in his right mind would desire to use the aliens as weapons. They are unpredictable, dangerous to hold in captivity, and would render any target utterly useless to the conquerors. What good is taking a city if you then have to clear out the aliens, which are by definition tougher than the initial resistance? Sure, maybe you want to destroy the city altogether and render it useless for all, but we can do that now with nuclear weapons! It all amounts to a nonsensical concept with which to unfairly slander the military, but Perez is big on the idea for some reason. To this end, he hires a group of space pirates to hijack a ship full of miners in cryogenic stasis to use as alien breeding vessels (you can see why this would be classified).

The military wastes no time at all in impregnating the poor cryogenically frozen miners despite the fact that the space pirates who delivered them (but don't know about the alien project) are staying for a few days, presumably to enjoy the dark rusty pleasures of the science ship. Call, a young space pirate, reveals herself to really be an anti-alien activist. She finds Ripley's cell (they couldn't at least give her a bed??) and tries to kill the alien she thought was still inside her. Wren captures Call and then seizes all the pirates and threatens to silence them permanently. With some concealed weapons and fancy shooting, the pirates turn the tables and capture Wren.

Meanwhile, back in the lab, the hubris of man backfires ala "Jurassic Park" and the aliens escape their cells. This leads to the only five enjoyable minutes in the movie as panicking soldiers scramble for their escape pods as aliens butcher them. Perez is de-brained, but manages to take a chunk of his skull and stare at it in horror for a second or two. Can you imagine something like that happening in the first three movies? Me neither. Anyway, the soldiers hop into the last escape pod, leaving the pirates, Wren, and Distephano behind. Ripley narrowly escapes aliens crashing into her cell.

After Elgyn is killed while investigating a strange noise - that's what I'd do if I were rushing to my spaceship to escape - Ripley saves the rest of the pirates and assumes command. At this point they learn that the Auriga is moving via auto-pilot back to Earth which is just three hours away. This infuriates me, because in this universe Earth has colonized places so far away you have to go into hibernation for the journey, and it was established that the Auriga was operating in "unregulated space" to hide its covert activities. You would think that "unregulated space" would be somewhere a little more remote than three hours from the CRADLE OF ALL HUMANITY!!!

They set off for the pirates' ship, which is conveniently (for the screenwriter) at the other end of the Auriga. At this point, the aliens stop chasing the protagonists so they can peacefully stroll through several scenes of dull exposition and nauseating special effects. First they come to a strangely unlocked door labeled "1-7." Ripley #8 makes the obvious connection and enters to find seven failed Ripley clones, each one a grotesque fleshy blob of human and alien features; none of which resemble anything that would result from actual cloning. (That bonking sound is you getting hit over the head with the anti-cloning message.) Ripley blows away clones 1-7 and torches the room. On to the next room!

In the next room, our heroes find what is left of the miners who were used to breed the aliens. Oh, what horrors the military will commit in their blind quest for the ultimate weapon. Bonk! Bonk! Anyway, they discover Purvis. Even though all the other aliens have gestated and grown to maturity already, Purvis's alien is still growing inside him. I don't know - maybe he forgot to take his prenatal vitamins? Now they have picked up a guy who is pregnant with an alien. Oh yeah, the pirates did not realize that their cargo, which they wheeled off their ship themselves, was cryotubes with people in them. But, I mean, how would they have known? They are only EXPERIENCED SPACEFARERS!!

The aliens suddenly remember that Ripley and the gang are on board and begin chasing them right as they get to a flooded part of the ship and must swim ninety feet underwater. Two pirates get killed, but more importantly, Wren turns against the group and rushes off on his own to make sure the ship flies back to Earth... ...which it was doing ANYWAY! Call is exposed as an android. She interfaces with the ship's computer to keep Wren from getting to the pirate ship, but does not bother redirecting the Auriga away from Earth! The aliens forget about the humans and stop chasing them for the rest of the movie! Must control urge to kick television.

As they press on, Ripley hears the call of the alien queen and goes to her for some reason. A cocooned Gediman acting as the voice of the queen explains that Ripley gave the alien queen a human reproductive system, making her the perfect alien. The alien queen gives live birth to a disgusting alien/human hybrid that suddenly turns around and kills the queen! How did the queen lay the eggs earlier in the movie with a human reproductive system? Why does a human reproductive system make her perfect? If anything it makes her less of a threat! If it's a human reproductive system, then who fathered that alien baby? Why did the alien baby kill its mother? Arrrrrrgh!! Damn you Joss Whedon! ROT IN HELL!! The disgusting alien baby then chases after Ripley and she runs away or something. Yeah sure... ...why not?

The grand finale takes place when the pirates reach the ship. Wren tries to hijack them, but Purvis opportunely gives birth to his alien and clutches Wren's head to his chest so the alien busts through Wren's skull. Ripley makes it to the ship at the last second, but of course the disgusting alien baby sneaks aboard and Ripley manages to kill it in the most nauseating possible manner available to her. As the pirate ship swoops in over the clouds, the Auriga plummets to Earth and explodes in a mushroom cloud the size of Spain - which I guess is what it was programmed to do? The film closes with Ripley and Call exchanging such an inane bit of dialogue that I actually forgot it as it was spoken. Screenwriter Joss Whedon is now raking in millions for his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" TV series, which is evidence enough for me that there really is a Satan.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • In the future, security systems will verify our identity by smelling our breath.
  • The military is always interested in biological weapons that are impossible to contain or control.
  • If someone sarcastically suggests that you check their wheelchair for weapons, check their wheelchair for weapons.
  • Alien DNA makes you good at basketball.
  • Don't taunt aliens. Ever.
  • Aliens that can bash through reinforced titanium doors are foiled by really thick glass.
  • Science ships that have quarantine emergencies are programmed to fly back to Earth and crash into it.
  • People experiencing panic underwater can exhale all of their air a maximum of just three times before having to resurface.
  • Having acid for blood is actually very handy.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 5 mins - They painted her fingernails and grew her hair out for this?
  • 21 mins - This is SO illegal.
  • 27 mins - He is probably going to regret doing this.
  • 34 mins - That is a hell of a bank shot considering he could not see the target.
  • 41 mins - MAN IN A BLENDER!
  • 60 mins - Hey neat! That is the glider pilot from "Saving Private Ryan"! Okay, back to vomiting.
  • 63 mins - You said it, Johner.
  • 79 mins - Aim at his CHEST you idiots!
  • 93 mins - That hatch is closing awfully slowly, but the alien probably will not catch up.
  • 95 mins - You know, if you let the alien get to Earth it just might kill the person who wrote this garbage.


  • Elgyn: "She is severely f**kable; ain't she?"
  • Johner: "Well if you don't want to play basketball, I know some other indoor games."
  • Ripley: "I should have known (you were an android). No human is that HUMANE."
  • Ripley: "I'm finding a lot of things funny lately, but I don't think they are."
  • Johner: "What's burning?"
    Vriess: "Us!"
    Johner: "Shit, you're right!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note alienres1.wav Perez: "It has memories! What does it have memories?"
Wren: "Well, I'm guessing, but: inherited memories, passed down generationally, at a genetic level by the aliens, like its strength."
Green Music Note alienres2.wav Ripley: "She'll breed. You'll die."
Green Music Note alienres3.wav Call: "Ellen Ripley died two hundred years ago. You're not her."
Green Music Note alienres4.wav Ripley tells one of the "impregnated" about what is going on.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipalienres1.mpg - 1.9m
This is probably my (Andrew speaking) main reason to watch the movie: seeing aliens swim. Heck, they did a better job of it than would be expected. The aliens look pretty natural in the water; something that cannot be said of the sharks in "Deep Blue Sea."

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