Back for the third time (and no, it's not Alien Cubed
as the title would have you think), Lt. Ripley and H.R. Giger's brainchild face off in this beautifully shot and utterly uninteresting sequel. Director Fincher is best known for his music videos (Madonna, Paula Abdul) and his MTV sensibilities are in full evidence, right down to the film's breakneck pace and jagged editing. Set on a remote penal colony where her escape pod has crash landed, Ripley finds herself an unwelcome guest amongst 24 “double Y-chromosome” psychos along with their warden and medical officer. Not long after her arrival, prisoners start dying in gruesome fashion and before you can say “chestburster,” the prisoners put one and one together and the film is off. The catch here is that, since this is a penal colony, there aren't any high-tech weapons to use against the beastie (unlike the last time out, which was an enjoyable sort of Rambo In Space).
Rumors have abounded concerning just how troubled a shoot the film was, and it does have a sense of confusion about it. The inmates have discovered god and formed a semi-christian cult in which they can soothe their consciences and make their stay in hell a bit more palatable (a holdover from the original script, which was set in a colony of monks). It's an interesting twist, but hardly enough to sustain a 120-minute film. Fincher's camerawork gives the movie a jittery feel, and his video-trained eye lends the prison sets the look of a dilapidated cathedral, but again, there's really nothing here that we haven't seen before, and better, at that. Nice title, though.