Director: James Cameron
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton
Best quote: “Game over, man! Game over!”
The killer scene: Ripley straps into a Power Loader suit to destroy the alien queen.
Moms and ammo
When James Cameron stepped into Ridley Scott’s space-horror boots to direct the sequel to the brilliant Alien, he didn’t try to ape the sickening, paranoid, slow creep of the original. He just said “Screw that subtlety shit” and went big on explosions, big on aliens, and let the guns (and mech-robots) do the talking. Where before there was endless deep-space dread and grimness, now there was fully fledged big-screen action. Cameron was a relative newbie at the time, having previously only directed The Terminator, but he took to big-budget work with gusto.
Sigourney Weaver is pitted yet again against a vicious many-toothed foe, this time in an abandoned space colony, but now she’s surrounded by weapon-heavy Marines, hell-bent on kicking ass and taking no names. As in Alien, the plot centers around a male-dominated corporation’s obsession with developing bioweaponry, no matter what the human price may be. Yeah, it’s kind of a metaphor for the evils of big business, and sure, it’s an empowering fable about the strength of the female voice in a male world, but we all know what you’re here for: to watch Ripley stomp around in a huge mechanical suit and destroy some shockingly phallic alien bastards. And that’s awesome.—Eddy Frankel