The "not quite the director's cut but probably closer to what he planned".
Paul McGann's subplot as Golic definitely adds a sense of substance to the proceedings, but the thematic strengths aren't sufficient to counteract the averageness of the plotting. The puppet Alien effects aren't up to much either, as there is never any doubt that the creature is not in the same space as the rest of the action.
The incessant swearing is also rather banal, shining a spotlight on the paucity of decent dialogue. This viewing was the first time I noticed the blatant (and ludicrous) product placement where Ralph Brown holds a bottle of Coca Cola.
This version makes sense of some muddled sequences and, even if it maybe allows itself a little too much room to breathe, captures a more consistent funereal mood than the theatrical. Improvements include the beach scenes, the toxic waste chamber trapping of the alien and Golic setting it free.
On the other hand, the second attempt to deal with the alien lacks verve; it amounts to little more than a load of baldies screaming as the alien takes them out. The baldcap Ripley chest burst death is better executed (in the theatrical cut) than what we have here, but I don't think either is particularly well-realised.