ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Alien 3 (1992)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Fincher

Starring:
Sigourney Weaver/Ripley
Charles Dance/Clemens
Charles Dutton/Dillon
Lance Henriksen/Bishop2
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
The Suloco crashes on a shit pile of a planet killing everyone on board but Ripley (Weaver). She’s saved from the wreckage by a bunch of monk-like inmates who live in a prison facility on the planet. Of course, an alien also winds up on the premises and grows up to be quite the nuisance! Will this be the last time?
THE LOWDOWN
This much-hated sequel isn’t half bad once you get over the fact that the film starts off by wiping out everybody we cared about in "Aliens". Kind of makes ALIENS seem like a big waste of time if you ask me, but I have to let that shit go, don’t I? Ok, I won't let it go, I have to vent out at least once: WHY DID YOU HAVE TO KILL NEWT AND THEN RUB IT IN BY AUTOPSYING HER??? WHY DID YOU HAVE TO KILL THE HYPER-KOOL HICKS! I LOVED BOTH OF THEM! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU, ALL!!!! Okay, now that I got that out of my system...I can continue.

If you look at the Alien movies as a trilogy (forget "Alien: Resurrection" for a moment), the direction this third entry takes kind of makes sense. I mean Ripley started off as a naïve officer in "Alien", then she went to face her fears in ALIENS and in ALIEN 3 she finally comes to terms with her fate. Ripley hasn’t had a very good life since that slimy creature entered her existence. Everybody she ever cared about dies. And I mean everybody! In this third sequel, we feel like they're going for that certain sense of closure, that Ripley knows this “demon” will always follow her until her final days and that in order for the nightmare to end; she must end. Yes, it's fucking depressing.

The problems that I have with "Alien 3" are mostly on a script level (although I hear the film was severely edited, so keep that in mind). First off, the character development is quite weak. For the exception of Clemens (Dance) and Dillon (Dutton), I didn’t give a rat’s ass about any of the secondary characters. What made the two previous entries gripping is that the creature(s) went after people that we cared about, and even with limited screen times, they all had strong individual presences. Here all I could say was: there goes another bald head! Oh well…next!

Furthermore, the film is so persistent in not giving its lead a break that it sacrifices the most interesting and developed character of the movie (not counting Ripley) very early on. Yes, I’m talking about Clemens (Dance). I loved the guy and having him exit so fast was quite a disservice to the movie. His relationship with Ripley and his persona brought lots of “humanity” to the film. To make matters worse, his death is very bland. He deserved better. Actually most of the kill scenes in this movie are pretty "blah". Since we couldn’t care less about the secondary characters who croak, that affects the suspense factor. Compared to the two previous flicks, the tension here is quite low. So you would think that they might compensate for that fact by slapping in some more gore but everything happens so quickly in this film, that you ultimately don't see very much. It all makes for very un-involving killings.

The film has a few plot holes that bothered me as well. First off, how can a few drops of acid blood cause a whole ship to malfunction? What kind of crappy ship is this? Also when did the Alien queen lay an egg in the Sulaco at the end of Part 2? Where did she find the time? Sneaky bitch isn’t she. Last but not least: doesn’t a facehugger die after one impregnation? If so, how did he manage to lay his seed twice? Us sci-fi/horror geeks don’t let that shit go that easily, Mr. Screenwriter. Don’t undermine our intelligence.

The effects here are also quite weak compared to the ones in the previous two entries. I didn’t mind the twist of the alien adopting some characteristics off his host (in this case a Rotweiller) but I did mind the cheesy effect they used to execute it. The close-ups of the creature are fine (mostly because it’s a guy in a suit) but when we get wide shots of it running on all fours it looks pretty fake (because it’s a visual effect). Another effect pet peeve, it's fairly small but I have to mention it: the outside shots with the debris flying in the wind…the debris is way too phony looking…why bother?

The ace this movie is holding in its deck is the Ripley character. This flick is all about her. Since the secondary characters are mostly thin (Dillon kept me interested though) and that Clemens disappears early on, all of our love, attention and 99% of our interest is directed at her. And having warmed up with the two previous ALIEN flicks, Weaver gives a captivating turn here and alongside the directing and the depressive aura, is the big reason why this flick grabbed me.

Now I’m going to get existential on this one and say that "Alien 3" is a lot like real life. It doesn’t go the way that you would hope and it’s not perfect. But you can’t deny its honesty and "balls on" approach. I appreciated its themes of religion, redemption, death and sacrifice. I loved Fincher’s beautiful direction (the scene where they incinerate the bodies inter-cut with the birth of the alien is awesome), I dug the main hallway chase scene with the alien POV and I cried like a beeyatch on PMS when the poignant conclusion came to. Where the first movie was about slow building suspense, the second about relentless action, this third entry is mostly about drama, mood, sadness and closure. "Alien 3" is not a fun movie but in my humble opinion, it’s a fitting ending to the series. Not perfect! Not happy! Fitting. Can someone facehug me…I’m sad…
GORE
We get some quick alien chomping through heads, a man getting torn to pieces by a huge fan, some chestburster action, an autopsy scene that’s gory in what it doesn’t show and a very messed up Bishop (half his face is missing).
ACTING
Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) gives her best Ripley performance to date. She has more confidence here than she did in the two previous films, she doesn’t overact and all of her emotions are properly conveyed. She should have gotten the Oscar nomination for this one. Good show girl, too bad you had to say that awful “crud” line. The word “shit” would have been more appropriate. Charles Dance (Clemens) gives a sweet and subtle performance. His chemistry with Weaver is so "on" and every scene they shared was a pleasure to watch.

Charles Dutton (Dillon) sure knows how to deliver those speeches. He even got me all riled up! His strong presence helps the viewer identify with someone other than Ripley in this bald head festival of a film. Good stuff. I love Lance Henriksen (Bishop2) and wanted more than just a cameo. But I guess a bit of Lance is better than no Lance at all. Brian Glovers (Andrews) is very convincing as the bitter warden and I was growing to like him but then…well…you know. Ralph Brown (85) plays dumb real good, he reminded me of Forrest Gump. Danny Webb (Morse) is bald and acts like a wide-eyed jerk-off. Worked for me! Pete Postlethwaite (David) is wasted in a small role.
T & A
Weaver’s shaved head…I liked it…
DIRECTING
Fincher is all over this one. His music video background is very evident here. He slaps in a lot of quick cuts, image superimpositions, effective fade in/outs, slow motion, close ups (loved the Newt eyelash CU), overhead shots and some gnarly alien POVs. He seems to really want to upset the viewer with this film (actually all of his films) and he succeeds. The Newt autopsy scene, although beautiful to look at on a technical standpoint, is still a very unsettling scene to watch. Fincher succeeds in injecting some suspense in some scenes but the thin characters work against him most of the time. The film does have a very Gothic look, helped by the color scheme (kind of rust orange) of the sets and their designs.
SOUNDTRACK
Elliot Goldenthal is mostly on the ball with his score. I dug the choral music at the beginning and the depressive vibe that popped up here and there but didn’t like the overbearing score he used when they poured the lead. Easy there dude…easy...
BOTTOM LINE
Yes, this a mean spirited movie. It starts off by killing 3 characters whom we cared about and then continues on that path. Nobody here gets what they want! Not Ripley, not Clemens, not the prisoners, not the company and not me for that matter! Starting with "Alien" and up until and including this sequel, I got real attached to the Ripley character and to see her end in this manner really saddened me. Fincher accomplishes what he sets out to do. He scarred me, depressed me and ruined my day. But just because the film goes against my wishes for the characters (a happy fate) I still can’t ignore its quality. In my opinion, this is the end of Ripley right here. She did her time and I wish she could’ve rested in peace. But the studios with their love for the almighty buck thought differently and unleashed "Alien: Resurrection" upon the world. Now hadn’t Ripley suffered enough!?! I hope Part 5 starts fresh, makes Resurrection a bad dream, introduces a new hero and lets Ripley be. Her tale is done.
BULL'S EYE
THE FACE HUGGER THEORY: It is rumored that Newt was the first to be facehugged. Because the foetus was drowning (along with Newt) he couldn't exist in that host any more. The foetus proceeded to come out of Newt and enter Ripley’s cryo-chamber. That would explain the acid burns on two of the cryo-chambers as seen in the movie. The foetus then entered Ripley by her throat. This would also explain the reason why Ripley had a very soar throat during the first parts of the movie. The Dark Horse Comic "Alien 3" movie adaptation is the source of this rumor. That fucking facehugger got busy or what!!!

H.R. Giger once again designed the alien creature.

The screenplay was written by Walter Hill, Larry Ferguson and David Giler.

Many writers took a crack at the Alien 3 screenplay, namely: Eric Red ("The Hitcher"), David Twohy ("Pitch Black") and William Gibson (Johnny Mnemonic)

Newt is played by Danielle Edmond not Carrie Henn of ALIENS.

Here is Dillon’s fine funeral speech for those who care: "Why? Why the innocent, punished? Why the sacrifice? Why the pain? There aren't any promises. Nothing certain. Only that some get called, others saved. She won't ever know of the hardship and grief of those of us left behind. We commit these bodies to the void with a glad heart. For within each seed, there is a promise of a flower, and within each death, no matter how small, there is always a new life. A new beginning."
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3:05PM on 08/05/2011
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7:03PM on 05/18/2011
I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to seek out the Fincher Version, to me it is a vast improvement. While the script problems remain it is an indication of what could have been.
I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to seek out the Fincher Version, to me it is a vast improvement. While the script problems remain it is an indication of what could have been.
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8:33PM on 06/26/2010

Unlike most....

...I actually saw Alien3 before the first two. That said, I feel that the series couldn't have ended in any other way. I agree with everyone who said that Sigourney Weaver puts in the performance of her career in this film; she keeps us anchored through the whole thing, and throughout the whole series, it felt as if her struggle was OUR struggle.

Anyways, I won't repeat what's already been said about the film. For what it's worth, I think this one is every bit as good as the first 'Alien'
...I actually saw Alien3 before the first two. That said, I feel that the series couldn't have ended in any other way. I agree with everyone who said that Sigourney Weaver puts in the performance of her career in this film; she keeps us anchored through the whole thing, and throughout the whole series, it felt as if her struggle was OUR struggle.

Anyways, I won't repeat what's already been said about the film. For what it's worth, I think this one is every bit as good as the first 'Alien' film, but for different reasons. It's just that any sequel to a PERFECT-IN-EVERY-WAY film like 'Aliens' is going to come off as a disappointment.
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12:07PM on 01/01/2010
I agree with Tyler_Durden. This is one of the most misunderstood movies ever. The Assembly Cut is amazing. For a film with such a troubled production its amazing how great the movie turned out. I love what it does with Ripleys character. Sure, it does seem cheap and cold to kill off Hicks and Newt before the film even starts. But it gives the filmmakers a chance to take Ripley in a whole new direction. This is by far my favorite portrayal of the character. Beat, broken, but still willing to do
I agree with Tyler_Durden. This is one of the most misunderstood movies ever. The Assembly Cut is amazing. For a film with such a troubled production its amazing how great the movie turned out. I love what it does with Ripleys character. Sure, it does seem cheap and cold to kill off Hicks and Newt before the film even starts. But it gives the filmmakers a chance to take Ripley in a whole new direction. This is by far my favorite portrayal of the character. Beat, broken, but still willing to do what she feels is right. I love how her and the Alien are somehow meant to battle with each other until one is defeated. Some of the prisoners are faceless, but Clemens, Golic, Dillon, 85 and Morse have enough screentime for us to like them and get to know them. I also feel the end chase rivals the Queen fight in the thrills department. The ending is also pitch perfect, something Resurrection ruined.
Alien 3 is a bleak, dark, mean film and thats why I love it.
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+0
4:12PM on 01/21/2008
This was a hell of a lot better than I remember (I recently picked up the trilogy!) I loved Fincher's direction, specifically during the scene with Newt's funeral and the dog/alien. Awesome. Yeah, some of the characters are one-dimensional, but Sigourney Weaver keeps you involved all the way. I think this was the performance of her career, if you ask me.
This was a hell of a lot better than I remember (I recently picked up the trilogy!) I loved Fincher's direction, specifically during the scene with Newt's funeral and the dog/alien. Awesome. Yeah, some of the characters are one-dimensional, but Sigourney Weaver keeps you involved all the way. I think this was the performance of her career, if you ask me.
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10:55AM on 03/14/2006
I feel this is one of the most misunderstood films, well, ever. And a lot of that has to do with that it was originally supposed to a balls-to-the-wall action film that blew Aliens out of the water. It also has to do with the fact that only about 25% of the budget ended up on screen. So for all the fighting and work Fincher had to do (and even if not that) it's a damn good film. I really agree that Resurrection should be a seperate part of the continuum and next time around they should just
I feel this is one of the most misunderstood films, well, ever. And a lot of that has to do with that it was originally supposed to a balls-to-the-wall action film that blew Aliens out of the water. It also has to do with the fact that only about 25% of the budget ended up on screen. So for all the fighting and work Fincher had to do (and even if not that) it's a damn good film. I really agree that Resurrection should be a seperate part of the continuum and next time around they should just leave Ripley be.
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+0
1:29PM on 12/31/2005

BORING, PREDICTABLE, BUT HAS IT'S MOMENTS

Nice flick at some parts, but sometimes boring and predictable. This is crap compared to the first 2 but it has it's moments. An okay film.
Nice flick at some parts, but sometimes boring and predictable. This is crap compared to the first 2 but it has it's moments. An okay film.
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