Alien 3 is one of those situations where the quality of the film we got is no one and everyone's fault. With a young and inexperienced David Fincher, an actress making demands, a script that was being written on the fly, and a less than compromising studio, Alien 3 is about as disappointing of an end to a trilogy as I can remember.
Alien and Aliens are two entirely different films that provide tension in different ways. Alien relies on our fear of the unknown, while Aliens is a relentless action film that never lets down its guard. Alien 3 once again changes up the formula, but is inferior in every way. Slow, brooding, and lacking any excitement or tension provided from the first two makes this film only watchable because of Ellen Ripley. But even that feels tarnished due to Sigourney Weaver demanding Ripley to not hold any guns, which in turn meant the entire prison she's trapped in seem illogical. Let me get this straight, we're on a prison filled with murderers and rapists, and the guards don't have any weapons to use if things go bad?
But really the problem with Alien 3 is just that there were way too many cooks in the kitchen. It seems like everyone involved had their own agenda and vision for how the story should pan out. What we got was a messy script, an uneven tone, and unfinished CGI/visual effects. Not to mention the fact that some of our favorite characters from Aliens were swept away to either glorified cameos or killed off unceremoniously. The entire production of this film was an absolute disaster. Sadly, it's hard not to think of how this film impacts some people's viewings of the first two masterpieces.
There's always something to be said for taking a film series in a new direction, and Alien 3 attempts to do that with Ripley's unique relationship to the Xenomorph. But if you're going to do that, don't compromise the story or tarnish the spirit of the films that came before just to get what you want out of a threequel. In my mind, this series ends after Alien and Aliens, and begins with Prometheus. Including Alien 3 and Resurrection in the discussion is off the table. Heck, David Fincher himself has disowned the film that he directed.
+The attempt at changing the feel of the third film
-Too many cooks in the kitchen
Alien 3 is a gritty with solid acting quality is there and the setting that does have its own undeniable flavor to it. There is a love-hate relationship with this movie for most of people, for some even both.
You should definitely watch extended cut at least. If you keep an open mind and don't fanboy over Aliens too much, it's a nice stand alone movie to watch.