Lieutenant Ripley is back and boldly battling her acid-blooded nemesis for a third time -- but with mixed results. Frequently viewed as an overwhelming disappointment, Alien 3 fails to take the celebrated sci-fi series in a new and exciting direction. While James Cameron's Aliens was a breakneck "Rambo in space," Alien 3 and its creative team take the film in a completely new direction that is doomed from minute one. Screenwriters Larry Ferguson, David Giler, Walter Hill, and Vincent Ward set the story on a drab penal colony teeming with bald convicts who possess no weapons. As a result, the dark and depressing storyline cannot provide the bullet-blazing action that Aliens audiences crave; furthermore, the stifling and redundant narrative doesn't give way to the intricate sets, state-of-the-art special effects, and compelling plotlines of the first two movies. All of the suspense, emotion, and brilliant characterization is virtually nonexistent in this effort. Former music-video director David Fincher brings his MTV sensibilities to this project, desperately trying to save the ailing narrative with a frenetic pace, slick editing, and jittery camerawork. Unfortunately, viewers quickly disconnect from the movie because there is nothing new to discover about Ripley's character or her predicament. Alien 3 quickly becomes a repetitious game of hide-and-seek, and it's nearly impossible to become involved with the gloomy and oppressive storyline. Even though die-hard fans of the Alien series will feel the compulsion to see this sequel, this is one space saga that never kicks into hyper-drive.
by Adam Goldberg review