Given that the first two films stand up as sci-fi classics in their own right, 27-year-old rookie director David Fincher had a virtually impossible act to follow with this second sequel.
He makes a surprisingly good fist of it, developing the maternal themes of first sequel Aliens (1986) and providing an exhilarating final showdown.
Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley, who this time crash-lands on a prison colony planet (Fiorina “Fury” 161).
“We’re 25 prisoners in this facility,” says warden Andrews (Brian Glover). “All double-Y chromos. All thieves, rapists, murderers, child-molesters. All scum. Just because they have taken on religion doesn’t make them any less dangerous.”
The injured Ripley survives her crashlanding but naturally, an alien egg was aboard the escape pod. It duly hatches and grows before proceeding to pick off an eccentrically cast collection of British thespians (including Charles Dance and Paul McGann) for alien food.
While it certainly isn’t in the same class as the first two films, it provides a satisfactory entry in the series.
Still, it would have been interesting to see what second-choice New Zealand director Vincent Ward would have made of it – apparently, he was brought in when Renny Harlin left after script disagreements but was himself replaced when it emerged that his version of the movie would be set in a monastery and the alien itself wouldn’t be appearing . . .
With Ripley’s death at the end of Alien 3, it seemed the franchise had come to the end of the line. You can’t argue with nearly $160 million worldwide though, and both the franchise and Ripley were resurrected courtesy of a screenplay by Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
Set 200 years after the events of Alien 3, Alien Resurrection (1997) revolved around the successful cloning of Ripley so that scientists could extract the Alien Queen that she had been impregnated with.
Warrant Officer Ripley
Charles S Dutton
Christopher John Fields