If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Believe it or not, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is back. She's been in hyper-sleep for over fifty years when she is found and awoken by a company that needs her to go back to the planet she found the xenomorphs on and get rid of the entire colony. After some resistance, she obliges and is sent with a group of soldiers to finish them all off.
Now right off the bat there is a major problem with this movie: The people on Earth find out that a group of 158 terraformers have been slaughtered by an alien race that is known as a perfect species that can't be killed easily, so the logical conclusion is to sent a dozen soldiers up to take care of the problem? For a group willing to spend billions upon billions of dollars to terraform an alien planet, they sure did skimp out on protecting it. And for that matter, you've been on this planet for decades and the first time anybody ventured outside, for no apparent reason mind you, wasn't until Ripley woke up and was able to explain what was about to happen? I get plot convenience but that's just plot for the sake of plot. And why are they even called xenomorphs? Somebody just brings that word up and one of the soldiers even asks him to repeat and he's just like, "You know, xenomorphs." Since they didn't explain what that meant I decided to Google it. It's a type of rock. Leave it up to director and writer James Cameron to come up with a name for something that makes absolutely no freaking sense.
But that's just nitpicking, which I can probably do for hours on this film. What really matters is that this movie is suspenseful and thrilling, like the first Alien but even better, right? Oh, they decided to throw all that out and just make it a straight action film? Okay, I don't understand that decision but I can deal with that I guess. In that case all you need is a bunch of really likable characters that you don't want to see die and that alone will hopefully be enough to build tension. But no, all of these soldiers they send up with Ripley are completely unlikable jerks who only exist to be killed by the aliens. The worst offenders are Pvt. Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) and Lt. Gorman (William Hope), who spend the entire movie making me wish they would just kill them off already. It also doesn't help the tension when every single time they encounter the aliens, apparently all of them completely ignore the fact that these things have acid for blood because they don't mind it spraying all over their faces. That's how half of these people die, which is just stupid and clumsy. I understand reacting in the heat of the moment but it's acid. Think about it for half a second.
They also try to humanize and personalize Ripley's character by having a girl named Rebecca (Carrie Henn), who goes by Newt for some unimaginable reason, be the lone survivor of the attack. Aside from the fact that this doesn't make any sense considering she would have been among the first to die because her parents were the ones who brought the aliens into the base, she really serves no other purpose in the movie than comic relief (which falls flat every time because the actress is really awful) and sympathy (of which I have none because, again, she's a terrible actress). Honestly, I already feel like they humanized Ripley in the first one really well. They did it with subtlety and it only took a couple minutes to set up. Here they try to bring in this subplot about her having a daughter who died while she was asleep, and maybe her taking care of this little girl is her way of making up for all those years she wasn't with her daughter. But her daughter looked like she had a happy and full life, so what Ripley is doing is pretty much just selfish if that's what she's doing. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt given the circumstances though, since maybe it was just her motherly instincts kicking in when she found this girl.
There is really nothing I enjoyed about this movie. All the atmosphere from the first movie is gone. All the tension is gone and all the suspense is intentionally thrown aside in favor of big explosions (inside what they refer to as a nuclear reactor, yet that never really becomes an issue). I would say this film is worthless but apparently I'm in the minority on hating this thing so much, so make your own judgement.