CinemaClown’s review published on Letterboxd :
Alien³ often gets a lot of flak from most fans of the first two chapters of Alien franchise & in a way it deserves that. In its very opening moments, this film makes the huge mistake of discarding all the characters we grew to care about in the last film, leaving behind only Ripley and thus taking the whole premise back to square one. Compared to Ridley Scott's Alien & James Cameron's Aliens, Alien³ is an absolute atrocity. As a standalone feature however, it's not too shabby.
The film opens with the shot of an escape pod carrying the survivors of the last film crash-landing on a prison-run refinery planet, killing all but Ellen Ripley. However, on investigating about what caused the crash, she finds out that an alien organism was on board with them all the time. As the new-born alien matures & begins its killing spree, Ripley tries to warn the inhabitants about the grave situation they are in and eventually discovers a deeply disturbing secret about herself.
Directed by David Fincher, the film marks his feature film debut but was a harrowing experience for him. Troubled production, numerous rewrites, shooting without a finished script, constant interruptions by the studio executives, creative differences & then a complete dismantling of the director's version by the studio by reworking the plot for its theatrical release, it's no wonder why Fincher left the project before production ended and still hates it more than anyone else.
Despite having more budget than the previous two chapters combined, Alien³ is still a massive downgrade in every filmmaking department. There is less suspense, less action, no real sense of direction and it is far more predictable than expected. The sets do provide an inhospitable look to the film but there is nothing impressive about it. Camerawork isn't that bad, editing is much more improved in the Assembly Cut, and the background score isn't that impressive either.
Coming to the performances, apart from the characters of Ellen Ripley & a couple more planet's inhabitants, the rest are present in the film as death fodders only. And although Sigourney Weaver immerses nicely in her career-defining character, others are found hamming like crazy in their given roles. The alien creature itself is given a new design but it's so poorly rendered that it never really looks like a part of the picture but a highly artificial entity superimposed on the screen.
On an overall scale, Alien³ manages to work in bits n pieces and as a standalone feature is slowly gaining a cult following of lately. It is quite entertaining, some sequences are excellently filmed, Weaver manages to impress again but the negatives far outweighs the positives this time as it really makes you wonder where the hell all its budget was spent on considering its poor visual effects, not-so-impressive set pieces & shoddily rendered alien. It's best to approach this film without expecting the level of experience its predecessors delivered or else you're destined to hate it.
P.S. Make sure you grab the Assembly Cut, for it is little bit closer to the rough vision David Fincher had in mind while crafting this feature, and is far better than the original version in all aspects.