Title: Aliens (1986)
Director: James Cameron
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton
The plot of Aliens follows Ripley (Weaver), who is found floating in space having escaped her infested ship in the previous film. She has recurring nightmares about the alien bursting out through her chest and wakes up drenched with sweat. Eventually she rather unwisely agrees to accompany a team of marines on a reconnaissance mission investigating the fate of a colony of settlers on a remote planet. Unfortunately that planet is the same one where Ripley had been before. Along for the trip is a sleazy space rep called Burke (Paul Reiser), who appears to be supportive. After initially encountering little resistance, things start to go awry at an alarming rate. Helping out the team of rescuers is a small girl called Newt, who is seemingly the only survivor of the colony.
Sigourney Weaver is fantastic as Ripley and is one of a very few truly kick-ass female action heroes. Thoroughly believable, she was even nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. Even though she failed to win, it was still a huge achievement to be nominated for a Sci-Fi movie. She impresses in particular in her role as guardian to Newt, who she comes to see as a daughter, having lost her real daughter during her years floating in space. The supporting cast is great with Lance Henriksen really nailing the weird, aloof nature required to play a robot and Bill Paxton is hilarious as the cowardly Private Hudson. Michael Biehn was well cast as Corporal Hicks, but he isn’t in it very much in an action sense.
The movie’s sets and props are incredible and you would never guess that it was filmed in a studio in England. The locations are very atmospheric and the film also incorporates models to great effect. It retains much of the feel of the original film Alien, but takes on its own style also, which is very important.
This is one of the best action films ever, despite the fact that it contains long periods of talking and exposition. This works very well and the pacing is perfect as you really want to see the action that the story is building up to. Aliens is certainly up there with Die Hard and Terminator Judgement Day as one of the greatest action titles and will live long in the memory. It also has one of the greatest false endings ever, which really hooks you right when you thought everything was okay. It’s thirty years old this year.