Review: Alien: Resurrection

The much-maligned last part in the Alien quadrilogy should be approached as the comic-book actioneer that it is.

Alien: Resurrection
Photo: 20th Century Fox

The much-maligned last part in the Alien quadrilogy should be approached as the comic-book actioneer that it is (only Slate’s David Edelstein seemed to recognize the film’s ridiculous allure at the time of its release). Jean-Pierre Jeunet was brought on board by the suits at Fox to give Alien: Resurrection the look and feel of his overrated The City of Lost Children. That he did, but with a lot more laughs. Two-hundred years after Fincher’s Alien³, some company has resuscitated Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) as a human/alien hybrid that combines the best and worst attributes of the old model. The new and not-so-improved Ripley has the same touching mother instinct and sex drive of her predecessor, but she’s also considerably more jaded. Weaver gets to deliver one humdinger after another, evoking Tallulah Bankhead in a sci-fi version of Lifeboat when she wails, “Who do I have to fuck to get off this boat?” Not much has been written about the similarities between the film and Romero’s Day of the Dead, but they’re impossible to ignore: the nature/nurture debate (Ripley versus the docile zombie Bud) and the ego of a military operation under attack. Of course, Alien: Resurrection is nowhere near as sophisticated and profound as Romero’s classic, but it’s still every bit as fun. As General Perez, Dan Hedaya spearheads a human retreat from the film’s military compound that’s remarkably orchestrated and ends with his goofy demise. If the film doesn’t bullshit around, the same can’t be said about Winona Ryder. As a closeted robot sent to destroy Ripley, the perpetually constipated actress declares at one point: “I can’t make critical mass.” How touching.

 Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif, Raymond Cruz  Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet  Screenwriter: Josh Whedon  Distributor: 20th Century Fox  Running Time: 116 min  Rating: R  Year: 1997  Buy: Video, Soundtrack

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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