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Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Rated R

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, and Brad Dourif

Rating:
*1/2
out of
*****

After 1992's abysmal Alien 3, the masterminds at 20th Century Fox just had to find a way to bring back Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) for one last go round in the Alien universe. One would think that after five years of brainstorming and script options, they would have created a kick-ass finale to the Alien series. Unfortunately, they did not.

Picking up 200 years after Ripley was killed on a prison planet, a rogue band of scientists is attempting to breed the xenomorphs that have slaughtered everything and everyone they've come in contact with. Apparently, this time around, the scientists are looking for a method of urban pacification. By extracting genetic material from the body of Ellen Ripley, who was carrying an alien fetus when she died, the scientists believe that they may have found a way to tame the aliens by infusing them with human genetic material.

When a ship carrying a cargo of potential victims arrives at the scientists' space station, its motley crew finds themselves in the middle of an experiment about to go horribly wrong. The aliens, courtesy of their human genetic information, are now smarter but no less dangerous, nor willing to listen to the demands of a few measly scientists. When some of the aliens escape from their holding pens, the crew and the newly cloned half-breed version of Ripley attempt to make their way off the station, which is hurling toward Earth.

Although the movie contains a lot more action than the previous installment, it still fails to excite. Mainly, this is due to the fact that aside from Ripley, these characters aren't fleshed out enough for us to care whether the aliens kill them or not. Actually, Ripley isn't REALLY Ripley and the aliens, quite frankly, aren't very numerous or scary.

As the movie unfolded, I kept wondering if the movie had been heavily edited. It still ran a little longer than necessary, but still managed to leave me feeling as though the film was missing chunks of dialogue that might explain a few things for clarity's sake. Still, even if that dialogue was present, the movie still misfires in so many ways, it's unlikely I would have enjoyed it any more.

The alien effects are top-notch and the sets are properly claustrophobic, but the key ingredients like worthwhile characters, a decent storyline and an ending that's worth the wait are all missing. Hopefully, the series will end on this note and not raise hopes that anything will even attempt to top James Cameron's 1986 benchmark sequel, Aliens.

Trivia: Sigourney Weaver actually made the behind-the-back half-court basketball shot on her own, despite the fact that the way the ball disappears offscreen for a split second before going into the basket implies that she had offscreen help. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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