This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Clobby Clobsters’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Aliens is a freak show, plain and simple. This film will probably be my last encounter with the franchise, but I'm glad that I'll end it on a high note. Both Alien and this one make a solid duology, even if Scott directs one and Cameron another. If Alien introduces its titular antagonists and subgenre (I'm assuming), then Aliens is a harmonious continuation to where the former left off.
As she drifts through space, a group of scavengers retrieves Ripley's spacecraft before the corporation convinces her to join a Colonial Marines squadron as they travel to the Xenomorph's planet after losing contact with its colonists.
When the marines first enter the belly of the beast, the deaths are quick and erratic. But instead of staying with the victims the entire time, the film cuts back to those watching. There Ripley (who wants to be nowhere near the aliens) and the Lieutenant try to call them back, but their communications aren't working; all they can do is watch. It's gripping because we know the Xenomorphs are attacking, but there's nothing our protagonist can do—their helplessness reminds us of ours, which makes it tougher to watch.
Ripley's PTSD is an unexpected revelation, although it doesn't get much development. I mean, we have to have an action movie, but it feels like something more for shock value than actual conflict.
Now, before I end the review, I want to talk about two deleted scenes. The first comes from the director's cut, where Ripley mourns the death of her daughter. I wish it were in the (I'm assuming theatrical) cut I saw because it would've planted the seeds for her development later. The second is the colonists' discovering the Xenomorph ship. It starts with a family on a journey further away from the colony before they supposedly "hit the jackpot". The two parents leave a sister and brother aboard their vehicle. The sister asks if their parents will be all right, and the brother responds, "don't worry; dad knows what he's doing." before the mum, slamming the door open, cries into her radio for help. At this moment, the girl, rushing to the door, sees her dad on the ground, with a facehugger wrapped around him, before screaming for a long-ass time. This scene is excellent—something straight out of Doctor Who—but I understand why they cut it. If they kept it, by the time Ripley and the team arrive, we'd know the Xenomorphs killed them. But without it, the movie leaves us uncertain.
Anyway, Aliens is a satisfying continuation. Although a group of ordinary people facing against a blood-hungry killer has some charm to it, I can't deny that I found the guns-blazing action more thrilling to watch. Suspenseful, fun, and gratifying, Aliens stands on its own while serving as a faithful continuation.
I can't believe the "Game over, man, game over!" I hear in every laser tag place came from Bill Paxton in this movie. oOo
Also, Bishop is a good boi.