Alien Resurrection (R)
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This came out on 1997, but I didn't see it until 2017. It's the fourth movie in the Alien franchise, set 200 years after Alien3. This movie is set on a military ship called the Auriga, which is currently outside controlled space, in order to conduct a secret experiment (which has apparently not been approved by the government). The crew is led by General Martin Perez (Dan Hedaya), and of course there's also a medical team, led by Dr. Mason Wren. Somehow, they had obtained blood samples taken from Ellen Ripley before her death in the previous film, and they've cloned her. They did this specifically to also clone the alien queen's baby, which had been implanted in Ripley. (We'll later see that several previous attempts at the cloning process had gone horribly awry before finally succeeding.) After removing the alien embryo, they could have just killed the Ripley clone, but instead they decide to let her live. It takes some time for her memories to return, and when they do... she doesn't seem like quite the same old Ripley. It's as if part of her has become alien, herself, even though she looks perfectly human. I think the most interesting aspect of the movie is watching her, listening to her, and trying to gauge whether she's actually on the side of the humans, the aliens they create, or if she perhaps doesn't particularly care too much one way or the other which side wins, in the inevitable struggle for survival. And I think Sigourney Weaver plays this ambiguity very well.
Anyway, I guess the embryo they extracted from her has grown quickly to become a new queen and start laying eggs. Meanwhile, General Perez has made a deal with a crew of mercenaries from a ship called the Betty, to bring them some "merchandise" they had obtained: they had hijacked a spaceship whose passengers were all in cryosleep. It turns out those passengers were bought by Perez to become hosts for alien embryos from the eggs the queen had laid, so that he and his people could breed a whole army of aliens, to use for their own purposes. Which, obviously, turns out to have been an incredibly big mistake. The aliens eventually escape and begin killing the crew of the Auriga. I don't think it takes long for all of them, except Dr. Wren, to be killed. So it's left to Ripley, Wren, and the mercenaries to try to survive against the aliens, and make it back to the Betty, so they can escape. They're later joined by Larry Purvis, the only one of the captured humans used as alien hosts who hasn't yet died. (But it's only a matter of time before the alien growing inside him bursts from his chest. This of course makes him and everyone around him nervous, but when it eventually happens... well, I don't want to spoil it, but I thought he did something rather clever.) Oh, the mercenaries are also joined by a soldier from the Auriga named Distephano. (I was reminded of this by Wikipedia... and if it hadn't specifically said he was from the Auriga, I probably would have assumed he was part of the Betty's crew. I'm not good at picking up on details, let alone remembering them.)
There's not much else I can really say about the plot, without spoiling anything. Although I do want to say that the last alien we see is probably the creepiest version ever, more like a monster from a straight-up horror movie than a sci-fi/horror movie. (And the reason for that is one of the things I don't want to spoil.) So, other than that... I just want to mention the mercenaries. Their captain is Frank Elgyn, but he was of little interest to me. The most interesting member of the Betty's crew is a young woman named Call (Winona Ryder). She obviously knew things about Ripley and the aliens that her crewmates didn't. I had a theory about her identity, but it turned out to be wrong. Still, there is an eventual revelation about her that was reasonably interesting. Another one of the mercenaries is named Johner, who is of interest to me basically just because he's played by Ron Perlman. And their mechanic, Vriess, is a paraplegic. The first mate of the Betty is a guy named Christie (whose look in the film vaguely reminded me of Tyr from Andromeda; but then again, it's been a long time since I've seen that show, so my memory could be off). And I guess the pilot was a woman named Hillard, who was apparently romantically involved with Elgyn. And I can't really think of anything more specific to say about any of these characters.
Um... I do want to mention I found it vaguely interesting that while the ship's computer from the original "Alien" movie was called "Mother," the Auriga's computer was called "Father." I'm not sure if there's any significance to that, but either way, I thought it was worth noting. Anyway, it was my least favorite of the four movies in the quadrilogy, but it was okay.