Year of Release: 1986

Genre: Science Fiction

Related to/Remake of: Alien, Alien 3 (sequel), Alien: Resurrection (sequel)

Directed By: James Cameron

Music By: James Horner

Starring: Sigourney Weaver (as Ellen Ripley), Michael Biehn (as Corporal Dwayne Hicks), Paul Reiser (as Carter Burke), Lance Henriksen (as Bishop), Carrie Henn (as Rebecca “Newt” Jorden), Bill Paxton (as Private Hudson), Jenette Goldstein (as Private Vasquez), Mark Rolston (as Private Drake), William Hope (as Lieutenant Gorman), Ricco Ross (as Private Frost), and Al Matthews (as Sergeant Apone)

Basic Plot: Ripley is awakened from hypersleep after the events of the first film and asked to accompany a group of marines back to the planet where the creature that wiped out her crew originated from.  The reason: the planet has since been colonized, and all contact with its crew has been cut off.  When they arrive, they discover the facility has been overrun with “xenomorphs” (aka aliens).

Rating (Out of 4): 4

Pros: Completely different in tone from its predecessor, this movie has incredible action set-pieces, and tons of the titular alien creatures.  By keeping the cast relatively small, it allows us to grow attached to the characters, adding weight to their deaths.  Awesome musical score ratchets up the action.  Sigourney Weaver steals the show in one of the rare instances where a science fiction film’s lead actress gets recognized during the Oscars.  Although all of the cast shines in this movie, special mention should also go to Jenette Goldstein as Private Vasquez, the very definition of a woman who can bring the pain just as much as any of her male counterparts.

Cons: The addition of a child character is both annoying and contrived.  No offense to Carrie Henn, but her acting skills, even for a child, just aren’t up to par with the rest of the cast, and her constant screaming will drive you up the wall.

Extra: If you can, you should definitely watch the director’s cut of this movie, as it adds to Ripley’s backstory and gives a better look at what the colony on LV-426 was like prior to being attacked by the aliens.