Two hundred years after her suicide, Ellen Ripley's cloned by scientists intent on nurturing the alien foetus inside her. The new Ripley couldn't care less - she's dead already - but goes along for the ride when Call (Ryder) and a band of marooned space pirates fight the inevitable rearguard action. In outline, the resilient Alien movies may be little more than slasher movies in space, yet equipped with strong, imaginative directors, each has proved distinctive and surprisingly resonant. Jeunet, the series' supreme fantasist, plunges deep into the nightmarish genetic whirlpool concocted by screenwriter Joss Whedon. After an ominous, memorably ghoulish opening, however, the Frenchman can't disguise a lack of engagement with the action sequences. The laziest stuff is all linear, mechanical business, much of it concerning Ryder, inadequate in a role designed simply to guarantee the teenage male fan-base. With her deep-freeze intensity and sinewy self-sufficiency, Weaver needs no such back-up. Choking as she comes face to face with earlier, aborted clones, grappling with residual maternal feelings towards the monsters she spawned and contempt for the humans she's long since left behind, Ripley Mk II is a terrifyingly ambivalent millennial saviour, more frightening than a score of aliens.