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The "Alien" tradition is one of the strongest in Hollywood; relying on the youthful vigor of young, untested directors, you're almost always guaranteed of something interesting. A neophyte Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner") did the first, a young James Cameron ("T2") crafted the second, and current wunderkind David Fincher ("Seven") had a whack at the third.
Enter acclaimed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who has mesmerized audiences with "Delicatessen" and the gorgeous "City of Lost Children," but never had anything filmed in English. Directing through a translator, he has brung our heroine Ellen Ripley back from the cinematic grave, this time 200 years into the future, where a group of misguided scientists are trying to resurrect the alien inside her for study purposes. Of course, the alien gets loose from the cage (didn't anyone tell them their blood can corrode metal?) and lots of people die.
This flick would probably be considered a success were it not for the undeniable brilliance of the first two alien movies: "Alien" kickstarted a genre, and "Aliens" is one of the best action movies ever filmed, fierce in its fighting, subtle in its theme of motherhood. "Resurrection" seems to tread heavily in the same path that made "Aliens3" such a downer. Mean, gooey and harsh, this movie has an unrelenting edge that never approaches the emotional core of the first two.
Still, there are scenes worth experiencing: Ron Perlman is fantastic (and damned funny) as the bootlegging hero Johner, and the cast of misfits play well against Sigourney Weaver's half-alien/half-human countenance. One scene, where the regenerated Ripley finds the room where several unsuccessful clones of herself have been attempted, is so heart-wrenching that it is worth WAY more than the price of admission.
But wrapped in such bleakness, there's barely enough to cheer for by film's end; Weaver seems exhausted, Winona Ryder (as a pixie-ish mechanic) seems out of her league, and the audience seems to long for the days when "Alien" movies touched us at a level that hung with us for years.
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