Alien Resurrection (***, 1997)

Brad Dourif is one creepy mofo.

I watched you. While you were sleeping.

I’ve decided this movie gets a bad rap. It is by no means a great film, but its reputation suffers since it has the legacy of its predecessors (forgetting for a moment Alien3) to live up to. Taken by itself, however, Alien Resurrection is a rollicking and goofy sci-fi flick with hints of screenwriter Joss Whedon’s eventual excellence.

After having fought the shark-like brutes on an interstellar cargo ship, a terraforming colony and a prison planet, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) must again tussle with the titular aliens on a military science vessel seeking to weaponize the xenomorphs. Having tossed herself and an alien in a pit of molten lead at the end of the previous film, Ripley finds herself alive and well after a two-hundred year hiatus via a cloning process which has mixed her DNA with an alien’s. She’s stronger, faster and has corrosive blood. Win.

It knows why the caged bird sings.

What the film sets up is an opportunity for a ragtag space freighter crew to team up with mutant Ripley in yet another gruesome survival match versus the skeletal demons with whip tails and eggplant heads. Special guest stars include Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Winona Ryder and Brad Dourif (LOTR: The Two Towers, the Chucky movies). People are of course killed off in various ways and it wouldn’t be a Whedon production if some arrogant authority figures (here the military and their scientist cronies) didn’t get their comeuppance. The cinematography is often blackish and muddy, but the production design and creature effects gel nicely. It doesn’t have the snap, crackle and pop of a great genre film, but I wouldn’t call it boring. There’s enough carnage to keep things interesting.

Its better predecessors were great accomplishments, A+ films in their respective genres and exemplary icons of movie-making. Resurrection, however, is a B movie through and through–but it gets an A for effort.

 
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