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A science fiction movie directed by James Cameron

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"Game over, man! Game over!"

  • Aug 27, 2012
**** out of ****

If Ridley Scott's "Alien" will always be remembered as the film to introduce us to the Xenomorph and franchise favorite, the heroine Ripley (Sigourney Weaver); then James Cameron's "Aliens" will be forever known as the truly rare sequel that really, really could. With sequels to great movies, it can be tempting to bank on the previous film's success; but instead Cameron shows a general interest in expanding on the universe while developing a story of his own that shares DNA with that of "Alien" without completely relying on it. With the flick of a finger, a genre switcheroo (from horror to action) gives the film that Cameron wanted to make more gravity and weight; a healthy dosage of each. And what you get is a film that, in the end, manages to weigh itself down. It's borderline exhausting in its highly cinematic exhilaration.

Leaving off from Mr. Scott's film, "Aliens" begins with Ellen Ripley being discovered as the sole survivor aboard the ship Nostromo. She is rescued by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and is informed that she has been asleep for fifty seven years under stasis. When Ripley tries to explain to the corporation what occurred on the planet LV-426, she is met with much skepticism. Her story goes something like this: the Nostromo crew landed on the planet, explored a crashed ship, and discovered an alien lifeform that terrorized and killed everyone but her. To them, it looks like murder; but we've seen "Alien", and we know what happened. Since she entered stasis, terraforming colonies have been set up on the planet; and of course, there haven't been any recent reports, certainly none regarding alien life.

This is because contact has, for the time being, been lost .Weyland-Yutani representative Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), with the help of Lieutenant Gorman (William Hope), hopes to send an assembly of highly trained marines to the planet in order to conduct a thorough investigation into the matters at hand. They also take with them an android named Bishop (Lance Henrikson), who Ripley at first fears because of her previous experience with Nostromo's very own murderous android. Once they're in, there's no going back; and it doesn't take long for the new crew to stumble upon the face-huggers (encased, as they were being studied), the distinctive interiors of the alien ship, a few of the victims, and the Xenomorph itself. Although this time, the title is plural; so it's an entire army of these bastards.

"We're on an express elevator to Hell, going down." This quote probably best explains my experience watching "Aliens". It is action genre filmmaking at its finest; in fact, it juggles enough different genres (science fiction, and even a little bit of horror regardless of the suspense never quite living up to the kind found in "Alien") to leave its mark. As a film, I regarded it as one meant to stir our fondest emotions; fear and excitement among others. It's a classic piece of cinematic badassery written in bullets, futuristic space technology, and acid blood. As far as action movies go; they don't get much better than this right here.

The Ripley character was definitely one of my favorite parts about Ridley Scott's "Alien". She was a strong and intelligent heroine (for once, right?); likable, but able to hold her own in a fight with an extraterrestrial. There was a feminist edge to it all, and "Aliens" pushes that notion about as far as it can go without being overly preachy. Ripley now finds herself in a man's world, even though there are two tough-as-nails women amongst her crew. The crew members of the Nostromo accepted Ripley as one of their own; but she has a harder time with these new fellows, who just want to drop in and kill some shit, although it's never that simple. But maybe Ripley defies gender classification; she has all the charm of a woman and all the raw strength of a man. By the end of the film, she's seen it all.

I feel that most action movies are far too simplistic. Here's one with considerable depth; not only in its visual conception and design, but its conception in general. Cameron says that a lot of the film was based on the Vietnam War; which I find most interesting indeed. Then there's the promise that every sequel to a "monster movie" must fulfill; a new monster. In this case, it's the Alien Queen, basically the Xenomorph but larger and somewhat uglier (although I don't know how much uglier you can be when you're a part of that alien family). It all leads up to a final showdown between heroine and monster; although there are plenty of other showdowns and shootouts to hold you up until then. It's difficult to watch this movie without geeking out completely. I did not find this with the original "Alien", but then again "Aliens" is a different movie. It is more action oriented without sacrificing its rich tension. It is also very well-paced, unless you're watching Cameron's "Director's Cut", which kind of kills it. "Aliens", simply put, kicks all kinds of ass if you're watching the right cut and with the right mind-set.

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September 09, 2012
One of my fave movies!
More Aliens reviews
Quick Tip by . June 06, 2012
posted in SF Signal
The best of the Alien stable. Saw the Director's cut again recently. It wasn't as sharp as the original, but if you love the original it's hard to resist seeing some new scenes, some additional backstory. Brilliant alien. Fantastic female role.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2012
posted in SF Signal
I can't really rate this film high enough.   In fact this film has ingrained itself in my heart so much I even undertook the arduous task of sampling the mothership computer sound and turning it into my iPhone text alert sound.
review by . July 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
The other movies after this one mostly suck....mostly.
Aliens is the only other movie in the Alien canon to have any real impact before the series grossly ran out of steam and imported the Predator to keep movies being made.      Picking up nearly 60 years after the first film, Ripley the lone survivor of the previous movies ordeal has awoken from her space sleep only to find her being questioned for the loss of the ship in the first film.  The Company board doesn't believe her stories of the Alien and suspends her flight …
Quick Tip by . May 02, 2010
Must watch movie that everyone will absolutely delight in. Hire it now!
Quick Tip by . December 29, 2009
Follow up to Alien has Ripley awaking 57 years later to go on a rescue mission with Marines to destroy the Aliens. Awesome in many ways.
Quick Tip by . December 21, 2009
The quintessential sci-fi movie with visuals that look just as good today changed sci-fi forever. A classic.
review by . May 08, 2009
Aliens is the follow up to the first film. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is in trouble. Not only is the corporation's multi-million dollar spaceship is gone but so is the crew. To add to her worries, she's missed a lot of time during her last trip. With no one willing to listen to her ramblings and a whole lot of explaining to do, Ripley is stuck between a rock and a hard place. That is until the corporation gives her an offer she cannot refuse.    All though it's not as well directed …
review by . February 15, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Up front, I must state that Aliens is my all time favorite science fiction movie. The action is intense and scary and unlike many science fiction movies, the personalities of the characters are as important as the futuristic aspects. The DVD version has 17 additional minutes of footage and unlike some expanded versions where the extra is little more than padding, each additional frame significantly adds to the story.   We see the colonists going about their lives, Newt's parents are the …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of the alien attack on the mining ship Nostromo, awakens half a century later when she is found by a salvage ship. The welcome given to her by the "Company" officials is far from warm, since they refuse to believe her discovery of alien existence and strip her off her flight officer's license.

Ripley also discovers, much to her horror, that the planet LV-426 where her crew had encountered an alien species for the first time, is now colonized by the company. But when all contact from the planet is lost Ripley is called back into action again as an advisor to a team of tough space marines with lots of firepower.

To get rid of her recurrent nightmares about the alien creature, Ripley prepares for a final battle with the monsters - and this time, there are hundreds of them out there. Written by Soumitra
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