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Aliens (1986)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Aliens (1986) What can be said about this film? It's a classic and the EXTENDED CUT DVD edition of James (THE TERMINATOR) Cameron's epic works just fine. Picks up right after ALIEN, with Ripley (Sohorny Beaver) being rescued and finding out that the planet where the Nostromo crew discovered the original evil, unstoppable Xenomorph is now colonized. When they lose contact with the colony, Ripley and a tough team of commandos head back to the planet to engage in war on an ARMY of aliens! Ripley is amped up into female Rambo status by the end, rescuing lone survivor little girl Newt with Michael (TERMINATOR) Biehn by her side. She sports a huge gun that blasts off endless bullets, flames, and even grenades! Then there's the end confrontation with the Queen Alien---oh man, this still sends chills up my spine decades later, every time I see it. That Queen Alien is one mean mutha, compliments of a fully built 15 foot tall creation by FX maestro Stan Winston. Ripley gives it her all, even doing hand-to-hand combat with the Queen while wearing an armored cargo loading robot suit. ALIENS has it all---breakneck excitement, over-the-top action, jaw dropping moments of terror, suspense galore (especially the use of tracking devices when the commandos are being "stalked" by the aliens), great acting (love the whining Bill Paxton character!), and perfect pacing. The film also hits every note the original ALIEN did in terms of story, from the crooked company selling out the grunts to Ripley ending up in a finale lone confrontation with the alien. It's hard to believe something that is such a copy of the original film feels so original and more like an extension of that film, so kudos to Cameron! My biggest beef with the film is that the xenomorph creatures are so easy to kill, when in the first film the alien seemed almost impossible to kill, short of blasting it into outer space. In ALIENS, xenomorphs are casually shot, burned, machine gunned, blown up, and run down with a truck to the point that they seem almost helpless. In the original alien, the creature was smart, cunning, and unstoppable. Here, the "worker drone" angle makes them seem helpless, short of the acid they bleed when killed. Still, a small beef with a classic sequel. Is it better than the original film? That's always the question, the debate. Since I'm more of a horror fan myself, I'd have to go with the original as being the better flick---it set everything up and the creature was much more original and scary in that film, even though the Queen is intense beyond belief. But the spooky, haunted house atmosphere of the original coupled with the TEN LITTLE INDIANS storyline and the originality of it all escalate part one for me. (Not to mention the nice shot of Sohorny's wet beaver through those panties at the end---an extra star for that, sorely missing in this follow-up!) Overall, ALIENS is an epic follow-up to the game-changing original that remains splendidly entertaining all these years later.

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