Return of the Ripley
I didn't think much of "Alien 3" when compared to it's predecessor's and welcomed the fact that Ripley died and in doing so appeared to bring closure to the series. Unfortunately in Hollywood death is never final and so 5 years after her death Ellen Ripley is brought back to life in a test tube so that we can have a fourth movie "Alien: Resurrection". Sadly "Alien: Resurrection" is no better than "Alien 3" and whilst we have Ripley recreated in the science lab so that the Alien she carries can be harvested what follows is simply same old same old with Ripley battling the Alien whilst those around her end up as Alien fodder. Yes there are embellishments and twists along with a bucket load of special effects but none of it disguises the fact that "Alien: Resurrection" is just a repeat of what we have seen before.
200 years after having died, scientists working for the Company manage to recreate Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver - Copycat) in a science lab and at the same time extract the Alien which she had been carrying at the time of her demise. But in recreating Ripley her DNA has become infused with that of the Alien's and has a deeper connection to the creature from hell. When the Alien manages to escape from the science lab it is up to Ripley and a band of space pirates to stop it from killing everyone as the space vehicle they are on is heading for earth.
Well you really can't have an "Alien" sequel without Ellen Ripley, or at least shouldn't, and so "Alien: Resurrection" starts with us basically discovering that scientists have managed to recreate her from DNA in the lab for the sole purpose of harvesting the Alien she was carrying when she died. Far fetched, yes but this is sci-fi so it doesn't really matter and on a plus note allows us to watch Brad Dourif playing a nasty scientist who seems to be in love with the Alien.
Anyway get beyond this and the intro to a crew of less than savoury characters who turn up with prisoners to become human Alien incubators and "Alien: Resurrection" quickly descends into familiar territory. And that familiar territory is the Alien running wild across a space vehicle killing at will with Ellen leading a small group of survivors in the hope of not only escaping but destroying the Alien once and for all. It is so annoying that whilst there are embellishments and twists, such as Ellen's inner connection with the Alien what we end up getting is just a repeat of what has happened in the previous movies.
As such "Alien: Resurrection" tries to recapture the rollercoaster ride of action which James Cameron gave us in the first sequel "Aliens". And yes it is action packed with battles between Ripley and her small band of survivors with the Alien all drenched in special effects but none of it is that memorable. In fact one of the most memorable scenes is when Ripley meets the brutish Johner who she toys with him as she plays with a basketball. That doesn't mean that the action and effects aren't good, in fact in many ways they are better than what was offered up in "Alien 3" but none of it stands out as being that original or memorable. And what it certainly doesn't do is make you feel afraid which was why "Alien" was such a great movie, instilling horror into the audience.
One of the only really good things about "Alien: Resurrection" is that Ripley has now had a change of character and has this bitch side, which we presume has been brought on via not only having an Alien inside her but something which happened in the lab. As such Ripley is a much stronger character, confident with almost a touch of evil about her in a very hardened sort of way. And because of the change in character it makes Ripley interesting especially with Sigourney Weaver seeming to love playing this more forceful and commanding character who oozes sexual dominance. In fact Sigourney Weaver is the best thing about "Alien: Resurrection" as whilst there are nice performances from the likes of Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman and Michael Wincott they are over shadowed by Weaver's dominance.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Alien: Resurrection" is a touch more exciting than "Alien 3" it does end up as just a repeat of what we have witnessed before as Ripley once more battles the Alien whilst leading a group of survivors to safety. It's not overly memorable and only really works because Ripley, having been recreated in the lab, is sexier, harder and almost evil which makes her a lot more interesting. Otherwise "Alien: Resurrection" is a case of seen it all before.