The movie starts right at the end of Aliens. After escaping with Newt and Hicks from the alien planet, Ripley crash lands on Fiorina 161, an all-male prison planet and host to a correctional facility. Newt and Hicks do not survive the crash, but an alien has. This time the alien has evolved into a new and deadly form.The prison does not allow weapons and with aid being a long time away, the prisoners must survive in any way they can. When help does arrive, the true intentions of the Company become clear.
The story is easy to follow and is like Alien all over again, with just one alien and a "crew" of "unarmed" people. But this time, the alien isn't an unknown creature because Ripley has fought them twice before. At first viewing, I didn't care for this film because it felt unoriginal but it grew on me.
The tone and atmosphere, for me, is set with the location and colors used. The location is an all-male prison where the "crew" are all killers and rapists, and they're religious now. That pretty much is the tone,
character-wise. The colors used are more yellowish, creating a murky, grungy and unclean feel to it - just like the prisoners. While the alien aspect is about the same, the characters make a world of difference, they're given more detailed personalities. Ripley, being the only woman there, is a great temptation for the men and it causes tension.
The alien is different this time, whether it's evolution or a different class of alien. It's more slithe and faster. The ending is surprising in several ways and adds a new twist to the alien mythos. It's never boring.
The SFX are as good as ever but the alien is a new type. It's basic features are the same but it's sleeker now. Good amounts of gore and the yellowish tones make it look like pus from a sore. Yuck! It's great! :)
The cinematography is great, with lots of shot in more enclosed locations. Several shots of panicky scenes which added to the adrenaline rush.
The actors are great, although I didn't recognize many besides Sigourney & Lance, who are great as always. Most are English but very good actors with stage experience. Charles Dutton aka Roc is great; his life history is great - he went from being in prison for murder to training at Yale to act! His role here is unique as the only black character in the movie.
Overall, this is a great addition to the Alien franchise. The prison planet without weapons was a unique idea. Alien fans will love it!
This is part of the Special Edition 9-Disc Alien Quadrilogy set. It contains one disc for each of the four Alien movies, one disc of extras for each movie, and one bonus disc. The jam-packed extras for this movie are below.
Audio Commentary - 1. Terry Rawlings and Crew
1992 Theatrical Version
2003 Special Edition Version
DEVELOPMENT: Concluding the Story
TALES OF THE WOODEN PLANET: Vincent Ward's Vision
THE ART OF ACERON: Conceptual Art Portfolio
STORYBOARDS: Art of Fiorina
Xeno-Erotic: H.R. Geiger's Redesign Featurette
PRODUCTION GALLERY: Photo Archive
FURNACE CONSTRUCTION: Time-Lapse Sequence
ADAPTIVE ORGANISM: Creature Design
E.E.V. SCAN MULTI-ANGLE VIGNETTE
OPTICAL FURY:Visual Effects
MUSIC, EDITING AND SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS: Photo Archive
POST-MORTEM: Reaction to the Film