Year: 1996
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron/Dan O'Bannon
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Beihn, Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen
What hasn't already been said in endless praise about the action/sci-fi movie of the 1980's, maybe of all time?

Cameron didn't just pick up on Ridley Scott's idea and run with it, he reinvented it, somehow staying true to every tenet of the original and infusing it with a sci-fi and action flavour all his own, with such a virtuoso taste for what movie goers love to see that many consider it one of the few sequels to outstrip its predecessor.

In it's way, a strong precursor to Titanic, an extremely visual film with the details down to every inch of sets and lighting virtually flawless.

Where Cameron stands head and shoulders above the rest however is that he's one of the finest writers as well as one of the finest directors in Hollywood, and the combination is unbeatable. Where too many action movies drown under claggy scripts, the dialogue, story and characters are classic even today over a decade later.

And imitation being the finest form of flattery, it laid the groundwork for several genres and movie fixtures for years to come; the gung-ho bunch of military grunts overflowing with testosterone, quips and personality, the female action film protagonist, and the dark, slimy corridors hiding unseen horrors.

Ripley, after drifting in space for 57 years in hypersleep following the ordeal that ended with the destruction of the Nostromo, is found by a salvage crew and returned to Earth alive but badly scarred by her experience.

When a sleazebag from The Company (Reiser) visits to tell her of lost contact on the planet she and her crew were called to, she feels bound to go with a squad of marines to try and help.

They land on a nightmarish planet and set about investigating the oxygen pumping station where the colony lived, walking straight into the newly established nest of the iconic creatures from the original, now led by a queen and revealing themselves to be an insect-like race.

The mythology from the original film - like the acid for blood, face huggers and slowly opening eggs, are put to excellent use and not a minute of the plot is wasted advancing the story - another rarity in action movies - despite it being a story based in action.

The guns, the aliens, the dark starships, the power loaders, the drop ship; so many elements that are part of popular culture fill the film from beginning to end, testament to the enduring legacy of a brilliant film.

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