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Aliens (1986)

This time it’s war

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 137 minutes

UK Certificate: 18


Last time we met Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), she was a survivor. This time, she’s a fighter. Hardly surprising given that, for this sequel to 1979’s ‘Alien’, Ridley Scott has been replaced in the director’s chair by James Cameron – and we all know Jamesy likes his leading ladies to kick some serious booty. Draw parallels, if you will, to the transformation of Sarah Connor from mop-topped wimp to muscle-bound chick-man in Cameron’s ‘Terminator’ movies, and you’re on the right lines.

This one’s set a whopping 57 years on from the original, and Ripley, fairly understandably, has got issues. The alien she blasted into space at the end of episode 1 still pops up in her nightmares and, having heard her explanation of what went on aboard the Nostromo, everyone back on Earth thinks she’s bonkers. The only thing is, they’re about to start believing her big-time when a human colony goes missing from that same planet where last we saw John Hurt having his face sucked off.

Before long, the Ripster’s been talked into joining a crack team of hard-butt marines in exploring the planet to find out what’s gone wrong. Gulp.

Where last time we had a horror movie, Cameron’s masterpiece is an all-out action-packed rocket-launcher of a film, with Ripley and pals battling tooth and nail against a seemingly endless stream of snarling space beasties. There’s a considerably larger cast on board (that goes for both the humans and the aliens, come to think of it), which means pivotal roles for the likes of Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser and Lance Henriksen.

Carrie Henn is also thrown into the mix as Newt, the gutsy-but-noisy little girl who easily rivals any B-movie damsel in the screaming stakes. The tagline last time famously told us that, ‘in space, nobody can hear you scream’ – and you’d certainly need to be a couple of planets away not to pick up Newt’s high-pitched shrieking.

It's Got: 17 minutes-worth of additional scenes, which probably aren’t entirely necessary to the story, but make interesting viewing if you’re an Alien anorak.

It Needs: The volume control handy for Newt’s scenes.

DVD Extras Original theatrical trailers, James Cameron interview, behind-the-scenes footage, photo stills, and the inclusion of around 17 minutes of deleted ‘director’s cut’ footage. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


An intense, explosion-filled edge-of-the-seat space romp that easily lives up to its predecessor.