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(1997) (Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder) (R)

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Sci-fi/Horror: The crew of a spaceship finds themselves racing back to their vessel as they try to escape from a space station infested with deadly aliens.
Two hundred years after she committed suicide to kill the alien creature growing inside her, Ellen Ripley (SIGOURNEY WEAVER) has been cloned by a research team interested in her encounters with those alien creatures. On board the research ship "Auriga," Dr. Wren (J.E. WREN) is conducting genetic experiments while General Perez (DAN HEDAYA) supplies the military support. It seems that Wren has already removed an alien from Ripley, who is now genetically part alien herself, and is breeding other aliens that need human hosts.

Thus the arrival of the space ship, "Betty," captained by Elgyn (MICHAEL WINCOTT), whose crew has hijacked several unsuspecting cryogenically frozen people for the task. Along with Elgyn is Annalee Call (WINONA RYDER), a diminutive woman who is determined from the onset to destroy the creatures; Johner (RON PERLMAN), a scar-faced tough guy; Vriess (DOMINIQUE PINON), the paralyzed chief mechanic; Christie (GARY DOURDAN), a gun- toting man in dreadlocks; and several other crew members.

Soon after depositing their "cargo," the crew of the "Betty" face an unpleasant surprise. The intelligent and highly deadly aliens have escaped and are roaming about the research vessel. After most of the "Auriga" crew is killed, the ship goes into autopilot and sets a course headed for Earth. From that point on, the crew of the "Betty," along with Ripley, try to make it back to their ship while avoiding the aliens.

If they liked any of the original three films in this series, or are fans of someone in the cast (in particular, Winona Ryder if they're male teenagers), they probably will.
For strong sci-fi violence and gore, some grotesque images, and for language.
  • SIGOURNEY WEAVER plays a cloned, no-nonsense woman. Part human, part alien, she's quite tough and shows it by displaying her high pain tolerance (running a knife through her palm, etc...).
  • WINONA RYDER plays a character who's determined to stop the alien breeding/testing. Rather two dimensional, this is later explained when we learn that she's not quite who/what she says she is.
  • The rest of the characters aren't developed enough to be anything beyond stereotypical villains or "tough guys."


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    In 1979, director Ridley Scott teamed up with writers Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett to create one of the more gripping, sophisticated sci-fi thrillers in years. Mixing elements from old 1950's "B" sci-fi flicks like "It! The Terror From Beyond Space" (featuring a lone space creature hunting down a spaceship crew), "Twenty Million Miles to Earth" (with a space creature that just keeps on growing and growing), and adding some cool new features (acid for blood), they created one of the most menacing threats ever to hit the big screen.

    The film was a big success and the inevitable sequel followed. Director James Cameron, however, didn't retread the monster in the haunted house setting, but instead turned "Aliens" into a thrilling action film that opened in 1986. Both films featured Sigourney Weaver as the unlucky lady who constantly has to battle the critters, and the second film was overflowing with them. Weaver received an Oscar nomination for her role and the movie did big business at the box office, meaning yet another sequel was on the way.

    The third film, "Alien 3," arrived in 1992 and director David Fincher (who later went on to great critical success with "Seven" and "The Game"), took a different approach with it. Jettisoning any weapons the humans could defend themselves with, along with all of Weaver's hair, the film had a highly stylized look. The fact that the humans couldn't blast the aliens, however, left audiences rather dissatisfied. Additionally, by making Weaver perish in the finale, everyone figured the series was finally done.

    Yet with the three films grossing more than $200 million domestically, 20th Century Fox didn't want the series to end. After all, there had to be plenty of aliens left out there. The problem was, the series' heroine was dead, and Weaver had grown tired of playing that role (especially after having to shave her head). What was the studio to do? Well, after a lucrative contract and a little bit of resourceful sci-fi writing, Ripley is back in "Alien Resurrection." Helmed by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("Delicatessen"), the film goes after the style and feel of Cameron's "Aliens."

    For the most part, and without taking into consideration the previous films, this is an okay sci-fi horror feature. Comparing it with the other three, however, it comes out better than the last, but pales when measured against the first two. Its main problem, like many sequels -- particularly when the numbers extend beyond "2" -- is that we've seen just about all of the material before. There's the crew that's being hunted down, the macho fighting men, the alien queen, a flame thrower scene (torching mutants instead of egg pods) and of course, the rest of the "sneering," drooling aliens, one of which always manages to make it onboard the getaway ship for a suspenseful ending. Die-hard fans of the series will love to see all of this material again, but the rest of us will have something of a "been there, seen that" feeling.

    To its credit, the film does offer some unique new material, something that's quite rare in this high of a numbered sequel. The scenes we're referring to are the ones where the crew must swim underwater through several flooded compartments to safety. Of course, that's taken right from "The Poseidon Adventure," but unfortunately it's done without Shelley Winters who would've found her upside down boat swim easy compared with the "obstacles" this film introduces.

    For what we get here are aliens that can swim underwater. Using some spectacular computer generated effects, the sequence is quite thrilling, and like a good roller coaster ride, follows that up with more back to back thrilling scenes. There are also some fun touches such as a door sentry panel that uses the smell of one's breath as the entrance i.d. Sure makes you wish you didn't eat all of that garlic for lunch when the aliens are breathing down your neck. And a man with the obligatory alien in his chest makes everyone mighty nervous when he has a bout with regular indigestion.

    The aliens look as superb as ever, although a new addition that appears near the end is nearly comical in design and nowhere near as menacing as the ones we've seen in the past. Additionally, its concluding "showdown" with Ripley pales in comparison to the endings of the first two movies. Regarding our old "friends," they've been given what I'd call the "Jurassic Park" make- over. Whereas the aliens in the past had a high pitched "scream," these guys have been given a shot of testosterone and now have deep, guttural growls and behave in somewhat of a raptor-like fashion. Of course they still "sweat" and drool like there's no tomorrow, and it makes you wonder how much water (or rocket fuel, or whatever) they have to drink to replenish those liquids.

    The film does have its share of unintentionally silly or stupid events. While a clever scene has several aliens spilling the blood of a third to escape via its metal dissolving acid quality, this film, like the second and third, has forgotten the extent to which that acid will bore through many levels of a spacecraft. While that's somewhat shown in the above scene, it -- like all of those in the other films -- ruins the wonderfully wicked setup the original film offered. There, a small bit of blood ate through level after level of the craft, endangering the crew by possibly making it to the outer hull. The crew obviously had to figure out a different way to deal with the alien, and that gave the film a much more intelligent thrust. While the adrenaline pumping mayhem of the latter films was thrilling to watch, it dispelled that initial clever setup.

    Likewise, the whole bit of Ripley being cloned is a bit far-fetched, even for a sci-fi film. While we can accept that her body could be cloned and she'd look like the original, the film makers have taken the easy way out by keeping her memories, skills and behavior intact as some sort of biological, predestined code. They easily could have gotten around this, but when Ripley sits down to pilot a spacecraft (and others comment about her "knowing" how to), the film sinks into laughable preposterousness.

    Granted, they've thrown in a bit of alien genetics to make her a super crossbreed, but that also diminishes the impact her character once had earlier in the series. In the original film, she was a frightened, but capably determined woman who overcame great odds and survived due to her wits and pluck. The second film added a mothering aspect where she cared for the orphaned girl Newt. Now, we have the acid bleeding Ripley who's something less than human, especially when she shreds back steel with her bare hands. While it allows her to be even more of a take charge, kick butt character, it lessens our involvement with her.

    The rest of the cast is standard issue for this type of film, with the glaring exception being Winona Ryder. Not only is she horribly miscast, but her role becomes more laughable as we learn more about who she really is. None of it's at all believable, even for a sci-fi film. I've liked Ryder in other roles, but here she sticks out like a sore thumb, although her appeal (noted by hormone- raged adolescent male outbursts at our screening) is unquestionable to this film's target audience.

    If you're looking for a fun-filled ride that doesn't require much brain power, you'll probably enjoy this film. Mixing the series' obligatory retreaded material with enough new and occasionally clever moments, this feature should please die-hard fans and entertain others who enjoy this genre, thus resulting in what should be a promising box office future. We give "Alien Resurrection" a 6.5 out of 10.

    If you've seen any of the other films in this series, then you pretty much know what's in store for you and/or your kids. There is scene after suspenseful scene of people being attacked by aliens, or on the lookout for such attacks. The results are quite violent and even bloodier and thus the film isn't for the easily frightened or queasy. Profanity is also extreme with nearly 20 "f" words, and while there is some nudity, most of it is done with special effects and involve the bare breasts seen on half human, half alien mutant creatures. An IMPORTANT NOTE is that a scene does involve full screen repetitive flashing of lights for those who may be prone to seizures. Since many kids will probably want to see this film, we strongly suggest that you examine the content, particularly if younger kids plead for you to allow them to see it.

  • General Perez puts a solid cube of whiskey into a glass that's then changed into a liquid, and he and Elgyn drink.
  • Johner drinks from a flask.
  • The aliens and their eggs are quite gooey and slimy.
  • Scientists remove an alien from Ripley's chest. We see a large and quite bloody surgical incision, as well as the bloody little creature.
  • Ripley has a bloody nose after a man has hit her.
  • Ripley's hand is a little bloody as is the knife she's just used to run through it. Later, her hand is bloody again.
  • Several guards who are shot are bloody.
  • A man yanks part of his arm off after it's been flash frozen (but there's no blood).
  • An alien jumps into an evacuation pod and we see a great deal of blood splattering onto the windows.
  • After an alien has impaled the back of a man's head, he reaches around and grabs what appears to be a bloody part of his brain.
  • A man is quite bloody after he's been pulled down through a grate.
  • We see many dead people whose chests are bloody and ripped open from aliens bursting from them.
  • We see several half human, half alien mutants whose appearances are quite grotesque.
  • A woman sticks a probe through the skin of her arm.
  • A man with an alien in his chest beats another man severely enough that the latter is quite bloody. Then the alien bursts from his chest, blood pours from his mouth and his chest, and squirts onto everyone else.
  • We see a lot of blood as a new creature bites into a man.
  • An alien is slowly sucked through a hole in a window and we see all sorts of blood and guts coming through the small hole.
  • The general setup of this operation has both as the crew of the "Betty" has hijacked people in cryogenic sleep and sold them to the scientists who then use them as hosts for the aliens.
  • Several male crew members have both toward Ripley and Call as they treat them like sexual objects and are demeaning toward them. Johner doesn't understand why Ripley torched a lab of human/alien mutants and says, "It must be a chick thing."
  • A crew member says that for them to make decent time to escape they'll have to "ditch the cripple" (the disabled man).
  • Some viewers may also find scenes listed under "Violence" as tense.
  • An operation where surgeons remove a small alien through a chest incision may be unsettling for some viewers.
  • We see several people strapped to the wall with alien egg pods in front of them. As the eggs open, one of the people wakes up and screams in terror.
  • A scientist teases an alien through a safety window (that makes the audience nervous from knowing what might follow).
  • The aliens escape and begin attacking the humans and the rest of the movie is essentially tension filled.
  • The crew must swim underwater through the ship to get to safety. Along the way, the aliens swim after them. A woman is grabbed by the foot and pulled down into the depths. The others finally break through a sheathing at the surface only to find themselves in an egg pod room.
  • An alien chases the crew up a ladder and grabs ahold of one of them.
  • Ripley falls into a "snake pit" of slithering, writhing aliens.
  • We see a new, alien/human mutant creature that's somewhat menacing looking, and it approaches and licks Ripley with its long tongue.
  • Ripley races to get to the escape ship, only to find that an alien is also on board.
  • Electrical zapper: Used by a guard to render Ripley harmless after she attacks a scientist.
  • Knives: Used in various scenes. See "Violence" for details.
  • Futuristic handguns/machine guns: Used to threaten, wound, or kill many people and aliens.
  • Grenades: Used to kill several aliens and to blow up an escape pod.
  • Flame thrower: Used by Ripley to torch a science lab.
  • Phrases: "Kiss my ass," "Shut up," "Bastard," "Chick" (for a woman), "Cripple" (for a disabled man), "Sucks," and "Bitch."
  • A man replies that his authorization code is E-A-T-M-E when asked for it.
  • Call prepares to use a knife on Ripley who then takes the knife and runs it through her own hand to show that it doesn't hurt her.
  • A man gives another man "the finger."
  • A man is grabbed by the face as an alien yanks him into a hole in the floor.
  • Sudden music is jolting as a broken hose startles a man (and the audience).
  • There are a few other scenes where aliens jump out at the humans.
  • A "baby" alien (a "face hugger") jumps and lands on Ripley's face.
  • The movie is filled with a heavy amount of suspenseful music.
  • None.
  • At least 19 "f" words (4 used sexually, 1 used with "mother," and 1 a mispronunciation of the word "fork" by Ripley), 18 "s" words, 8 asses (6 used with "hole"), 4 uses each of hell, damn and S.O.B., and 8 uses of "G-damn," and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Oh my God," and "For Christ's sakes" as exclamations.
  • We see a nude young girl in a suspension chamber. Moments later, we see Ripley in the same, but her arms are covering her breasts and the shot cuts away after the camera pans down past her navel.
  • Later, as a doctor examines Ripley's chest scar, we see part of the side of her breast.
  • A crew member says that Call is "severely f*ckable." Later, Ripley says, "Who do you have to f*ck to get off this boat?"
  • Johner tells Ripley that if she doesn't want to play basketball with him, "I know some other indoor sports."
  • We briefly see a woman's bare butt (in her thong underwear).
  • We see the bare breasts of several half human, half alien mutants.
  • Elgyn smokes a few times.
  • None.
  • The cloning of people and what traits are inherited vs. which are learned.
  • Ripley attacks a scientist and is then zapped by some sort of weapon that knocks her to the floor.
  • Johner purposefully drops his knife that lands in Vriess' paralyzed leg.
  • Ripley bounces a basketball that hits Johner in the crotch and she then backhands him as well. Another man hits her in the face with a metal rod. Unfazed, she smashes a basketball into his face.
  • Call prepares to use a knife on Ripley who then takes the knife and runs it through her own hand to show that it doesn't hurt her.
  • Christie pulls out his guns and shoots several guards dead. A standoff then follows, with Christie finally shooting a ricocheting shot that kills the last guard.
  • Two alien creatures kill a third.
  • An alien kills a man.
  • A man is hit with a freezing gas that turns him brittle.
  • General Perez blows up an escape pod filled with humans and one attacking alien.
  • The aliens attack and kill several people.
  • Ripley shoots and kills an alien.
  • Ripley uses a flamethrower to torch a lab filled with experimental half human, half alien mutants.
  • Call punches a scientist.
  • The aliens attack the crew as they swim underwater through the ship. Several humans are killed, along with a few aliens.
  • Christie fires several grenades that blow up many egg pods.
  • A fleeing scientist shoots a crew member in the chest.
  • An alien squirts acid in a man's face.
  • A scientist shoots a man (who has an alien in his chest) and then holds a gun to Call's head. The man with the alien in his chest then attacks the scientist and severely beats him. As the alien finally bursts from this chest, the crew shoots it and him dead.
  • A new creature kills an alien and then bites into a man, killing him as well. It's later sucked, bit by grisly bit, from the ship into the vacuum of space.

  • Reviewed November 20, 1997

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