Released in theaters in 1992, David Fincher’s directorial debut ALIEN 3 divided fans of the popular xenomorph franchise. Some, like myself, appreciated it’s artistic design and its return to horror, the roots originally planted by Ridley Scott in his 1979 masterpiece ALIEN. However, coming off the adrenaline rush of James Cameron’s ALIENS (1986 ) proved to be a tough act to follow. Fans wanted more Colonial Space Marines versus Alien action. Fans wanted to see the continued adventures of Ripley, Hicks, Newt and Bishop. Instead, ALIEN 3 raised a big middle finger to fans by killing off everyone but Ripley in its opening scene. Hey, I get it, the Alien universe isn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows, but even I found the grim concept a bit hard to swallow.
Director Neill Blomkamp has promised to fix all that with ALIEN 5, the film to take place right after ALIENS with Ripley and Hicks (and presumably Newt and Bishop) still being alive. It’s rumored to totally ignore the events of ALIEN 3 (and Resurrection). I guess we’ll find out… if we ever get there after Ridley Scott’s many planned Prometheus sequels. Nothing against those, mind you, but Sir Ridley needs to wrap things up and let others share the stage.
Ah, but I digress. We’re here to talk about ALIEN 3, specifically NECA’s latest assortment of 7-inch action figures. Team Predator may have 16 waves to brag about, but Team Alien (go xenos!) is quickly catching up with Series 8. In stores now, this all ALIEN 3 assortment stars Ripley (in Prisoner Uniform) doing her best Sinéad O’Connor impression, the re-release of the hot selling Dog Alien in an original brown and a new gray color scheme, along with my personal fave, the Weyland Yutani Commando.
It’s still hard to believe that we’re getting all these officially licensed Sigourney Weaver action figures from NECA! Those that have her previous Alien looks – her long hair and white Nostromo Space Suit figures from ALIEN, short hair and pulse rifle/flame thrower-toting ALIENS Ripley, and even her rad Kenner tribute figure – will want to add ALIEN 3 Ripley to their collection.
Continuing her hair style evolution, ALIEN 3 Ripley sports a bald look. For those that saw the film, shaving one’s head is required on the prison planet due to lice. And also because Ripley is on a prison planet, she gets to dress up in the requisite prisoner’s uniform.
It’s not the most exciting look, but NECA manages to make the figure more interesting by adding a nifty feature: an alternate bare arms/ tank top look. To achieve this, simply pull off the figure’s sleeved arms (it’s not as painful as it sounds), slip off the rubber jacket, and then plug in the included bare arms. Bingo bango! New look.
The figure also includes two means of illuminating the dark corridors of the penal colony: a traditional flashlight and a torch. The latter, if I’m not mistaken, was used to herd the Dog Alien into their trap. No gun this time around, which is no fault of NECA, so if you want to slip out of movie accuracy, you’ll have to provide your own.
Attentive followers of NECA’s Alien figure series will recall that we got a Dog Alien before… way back in Series 3. There was also the more recently released Classic Video Game Appearance figure, but for those that prefer their Dog Alien in original colors, NECA’s re-release is just what the doctor ordered. Collectors have their choice of the previously released brown color scheme, along with what is being described as gray. Personally I see it as more brown with nice silver highlights. Of the two, this new gray version is my favorite: the silver really brings out all the gorgeous sculpted bio-mechanical detail on the figure.
Articulation is identical to the original release: extreme. Double joints at the knees and elbows allow for radical poses. Combined with a long bendy tail and multiple ball-joints in the torso/ neck and you can achieve some truly awesome poses, including the Dog Alien running on all fours or standing erect. A clear display base is included to help you achieve the former (and it helps with standing too).
With it’s smooth translucent head dome and a sinister opening jaw with retractable teeth, the Dog Alien is a close second to my favorite Alien design, HR Giger’s original “Big Chap”.
Blink and you missed him, the Weyland Yutani Commando was shown in ALIEN 3’s closing scene as a soldier standing in the background for a few seconds of screen time. Oh, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression on fans. The mysterious Weyland Yutani Commando was like a mouth-watering piece of chocolate cake just out of arm’s reach. Enough to entice you, too far away to eat. For a film that didn’t give us any anticipated Colonial Marine action, the Commando’s brief appearance was a godsend.
NECA’s Weyland Yutani Commando action figure is a testament to the success of the Alien series and the collectors who support it. This is an obscure cool looking character that I never thought would get made. Decked out for cold conditions like a Star Wars Snowtrooper, the Weyland Yutani Commando features an amazing layered outfit in a weathered and worn white-beige color scheme. White is a hard color to pull off on an action figure, often looking too pristine and plastic-y. NECA has mastered white, first with their Ripley in Nostromo Space Suit and now with the Weyland Yutani Commando.
Intricate sculpted detail aside, the pops of silver really bring this figure to life. There’s the removable combat knife on his ankle, two grenades strapped to his chest (alas, not removable), some funky armor shards on his right arm, and finally the out-of-this-world helmet.
While the helmet can not be removed, NECA actually sculpted a head underneath to enhance the realism. Another nice gesture from NECA is the inclusion of two (2) visor pieces. This allows you to display the Commando with his goggles positioned down (my favorite look), or flipped up!
Lastly, the Weyland Yutani Commando comes armed with a pulse rifle painted in matte black. It all adds another layer of military mystery to these soldiers.
NECA’s Aliens Series 8 brings out the best in ALIEN 3. Love the film or hate it, most will agree that these three figures – Ripley, Dog Alien and Weyland Yutani Commando – are the most interesting characters in the entire film. I can only imagine a few more characters being made, such as a mangled Bishop or molten lead version of the Dog Alien. Perhaps some of the prisoners, but without cool weapons or the selling power of Ripley, I think they’d make for some boring action figures. But that’s all in the potential future! NECA’s Aliens Series 9, arriving in September, brings us back to ALIENS. We’ll get the first-ever Private Vasquez and Private Frost figures with authorized likenesses, as well as an Albino Alien concept figure based on the original James Cameron screenplay.