Thought it was time to finally write a review for the greatest action movie of all time.
When you run down some of the best action movies of all time, the list can get pretty long. Aliens, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight, The Matrix and Heat. All incredible in their own rights. But none of them hold a candle to not only the greatest action movie ever made but the greatest sequel of all time. This is about to be 30 years old, I’ll say that again. This movie turns 30 this summer and it still feels so inventative, so original and so ground-breaking that with every single re-watch, it still amazes me in new and surprising ways.
James Cameron coming off just a slew of home runs, most notably Aliens, was set to direct a sequel to The Terminator, the movie that put him on the map. Already proving he could direct a worthy sequel with Aliens being one of the best movies to come out in the 80’s. This time around he was dealing with his own child, the ultimate killing machine, the Terminator.
We open up about 10 years later and Sarah Connor is not that shy and naive girl from our previous encounter. She has done a lot of growing up and even had a baby boy! John Connor as we know is the future leader of the resistance against the Terminators and she will do anything in her power to keep him safe. Enter Edward Furlong and his clear claim to fame. Does James Cameron know how to cast excellent kid actors or what. The second he’s introduced with Guns N’ Roses ‘You Could Be Mine’ playing in the background, it kind of says everything you need to know about his character. A troubled kid, but what kind wouldn’t be with their mom in a psycho hospital because she thinks machines are going to take over the world. For a film that introduces Edward Furlong he doesn’t such an incredible job acting beside both Linda Hamilton and Arnold.
I’ll never forget going years and I mean YEARS without watching this movie, so I was in university and fired it up and we arrived at the best sequence in the movie – the Galleria Mall and tunnel car chase. When Arnold meets Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in the back hallways of the Mall, the hairs on my arms stood up. It was instant goosebumps because I forgot how intense and just beautiful this moment was. Imagine being a person sitting in the theatres in 1991, because the movie did a really great job at not showcasing who the bad guy was in the movie. Until that time, Arnold was the bad guy, the Terminator sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor.
Speaking of bad guys, how fantastic has Robert Patrick’s T-1000 aged? Not only his running form, which remains god like, he really could give the Flash some lessons on proper running form, but his whole performance has really stood the test of time. From his stoic demeanor, his almost likeability at the beginning of the movie, and finally just how much ass he kicks. Without a doubt, the movie just isn’t the same if they go with a different actor.
From the pitch-perfect pacing, with action set-pieces that seem so simple, yet are excecuted to perfection, because that’s what James Cameron does. To the memorable performances across the board, Terminator 2 is just a beautiful movie to watch unfold each time you play it back. Even the score has just be embedded in movie history, you hear that epic score, you know exactly what is about to go down.
Judgement Day is something that I watch about once a year and it’s just a movie I’ll never really get tired of. How can you? From Arnold learning how to reload a shotgun while riding a motorcycle, to the horror elements from the T-1000. This movie provides so many iconic one-liners that you almost think this movie invented the cool one-liners, or simply has the most ever in a single movie.
Put this movie in a museum and throw away the key, or in some canister much like the robotic arm from Cyberdyne.
It might not make a whole lot of sense, but Alita: Battle Angel is one impressive feat. Visually stunning, some of the best visuals I’ve seen in recent memory. Must be seen on the biggest screen possible. This movie kind of kicks a ton of ass.
A deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.
When you walk into the movie theatre and two words flash on the screen, those two words can get any movie fan excited. James Cameron. He’s kind of a big deal when it comes to Hollywood, and creating some of the most spectacular films this world has ever seen. So when he was attached to Alita: Battle Angel, I became very interested. Not knowing anything about this property, like zero, and that’s kind of rare for me, I was worried I wouldn’t really be invested, but after seeing the movie, that wasn’t the case at all. With a strong female character, that you root for the entire time and get behind the moment you meet her. Themes about what it means to be human, the war that goes on between the rich and the poor, and female empowerment. There’s a lot to digest here, but there are moments of a pure adrenaline rush, and some of the best visuals I have ever seen. You really need to see this movie in IMAX, because I was blown away.
Now, all of these great aspects of the film aren’t completely beaten down by a god awful script and a love story that had no business being in a movie like this. This is the type of movie where every single person is talking in exposition, no one really has a normal, everyday conversation. It can get tiresome in moments, but sometimes the exposition is needed, to explain this complicated story of sorts. For someone who has no prior knowledge of any of this, it was nice to be caught up within the first 20 minutes or so. The film as a whole is so engaging because everything you’re looking at is beautiful, you’re immediately swallowed up by this world. Alita is also chalked full of legit movie stars. That’s why I’m shocked the script wasn’t worked on because when you get this kind of talent, you want to make the most of it. Alita who was played so wonderfully by Rosa Salazar, in a powerful role kind of blew me away. Christoph Waltz who plays her mentor/father-figure was his usual awesome self. They had great chemistry together, and it was the tent pole for the entire movie. Throw in Mahershala Ali, who plays the villain Vector. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do, but the guy is so charismatic and is just so damn good, he didn’t need much to do. Jennifer Connelly, who I feel like I haven’t seen her in any giant blockbuster in a long time. Then a bunch of terrific actors and actresses playing some kick-ass cyborgs.
The cyborgs are the best part of the entire film. They are sleek and a ton of fun to watch on the big screen. In this world, there is a sport called Motorball. It’s kind of like Rollerball, but way more violent and much more badass. When this incredible Motorball sequence gets underway, I was sucked in. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and I didn’t want it to end. It’s sports mixed with cyborgs killing each other. They should honestly make a Motorball spin-off. I had no clue this whole aspect was even in the film, I had no clue what Alita was about, the trailers felt so vague, but I was intrigued. I feel like they could have marketed this movie so much better because it had a terrible first weekend at the box-office. I don’t understand the reviews either. It always blows my mind when movies kind of drop the ball when it comes to trailers and promoting their movies. This campaign could have been unbelievable and really showcased a ton more. They didn’t need to make the love story the focal point of the trailers, because that is the least compelling part of the entire film.
When you have James Cameron attached to your project, you know visually it will be stunning. The guy is the master of creating stunning visuals on the big screen. But this movie could have been so much more. I waited a few days to write this review because I wanted to really think about it. I want to see it again, and I almost didn’t see this movie at all. I think Robert Rodriguez is a very competent director, I loved Sin City, and this was right up his alley. This movie isn’t flawed because of its direction. But overall this movie does kick a ton of ass when it wants to, and it isn’t completely bogged down by the stupid love story. Alita is a warrior, and one of the cooler female characters we’ve gotten in a long time. I feel like no one was really talking about this before it came out, and I don’t know anyone who has seen it. Well, get your butts to the theatre and support this thing because I want a damn sequel.
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Alita: Battle Angel = 77/100
I could never decide what was scarier, the aliens or Newt carrying around that doll head.
See I told you, I’m a man of my word, and this week I just watched Aliens, highly regarded as one of the greatest action movies of all time! Again this movie was released even before I was on planet Earth, in 1986, directed by the legendary James Cameron, he took what Ridley Scott did in Alien, but he made it his own. Right off the bat I’ll say this, it would have been pretty damn easy for James Cameron to take this franchise and these characters and just ruin them, or try to change them, but he doesn’t. He didn’t try to redefine the Alien franchise, he simply expanded on it, and made Aliens his own thing, and well it’s just short of perfection. I remember growing up; I would always call this movie the sleepover movie, or the birthday party movie. I can recall countless times this is the movie that would be put on at night, because at the time there just weren’t too many movies like it, and it just kicks so much ass. I fell in love with this franchise at a very early age, and I’m glad I did because there are some wackos out there who’ve probably never even seen this movie. That’s simply just a crime against humanity, or maybe that’s just me being a complete and utter nerd, someone step up and tell me please!
So Aliens takes place 57 years after the events of Alien, our hero Ripley has been floating in her stasis pod the entire time, and by dumb luck a cargo ship comes across her vessel and BAM, our story continues. As she tells the tale of her encounter with the Xenomorph, the company she works for just isn’t buying it, seeing how since she’s been in deep sleep, there is now a colony of people living on the planet where her and her crew stumbled across the parasite (face hugger) in Alien. So relieved of her duties, it isn’t till a few days later, where suddenly they have lost all contact with anyone on LV-426, mysteriously after no events of anything happening, now dead silent. So they are sending in the Marines, and they want Ripley to tag along to be a special advisor to the operation, seeing how she’s the only one who knows first hand with what they are dealing with. Sigourney Weaver was nominated for an Oscar with the performance she gave in Aliens. Just stop and think about that for a second, that is unheard of. Someone from a massive summer action blockbuster being nominated for an Oscar, not in this day in age, so kudos to Sigourney, because she is actually simply spectacular in this movie. Ripley decides to tag along with these Marines, and that’s where we meet the rest of our lovable cast! Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn), the leader of the crew, who is our main male character in the movie, Bishop (Lance Henriksen) a droid who Ripley isn’t to fond of due to the fact that the last droid on her mission tried to kill her, but Bishop really becomes a hero at the end. We have Vasquez (Janette Goldstein) and can I just say, I’ve always loved this woman in Aliens, she’s such a badass character and honestly they don’t really have female characters like this in movies anymore. Well they try to but they usually fail miserably, Vasquez always sticks out in my mind for being one of the first real tough, badass chicks in movies. We got the Sergeant of the group, Apone, who just has some of the best lines in the movie, “you know the drill, assholes and elbows everyone!” Kind of wish he stuck around longer in the movie, and we got to see him kind of do some ass kicking of his own. The slim ball company man of the group Burke (Paul Reiser), what can I say about his character, another than the fact that he’s simply just an asshole. He is truly the films main villain and the movie does a great job not really showing us that card until the last third of the movie, and I always thought that was pretty cool. It’s not a twist or anything, there are clues along the way, but going into Aliens, you would think the bad guys would just be the creatures themselves, when in fact their biggest threat was actually one of their own. Rounding out the crew, good old Hudson played by the phenomenal man Bill Paxton himself. We lost this great man earlier this year, the only person who could say that they’ve been killed by a terminator, an alien and a predator. Now that’s some legendary stuff. He’s the comedic relief of the movie, and his most infamous line “game over man, game over!” was actually improvised during that scene, which makes it all that much better. He’s almost the best part of the movie, but that title always stay with Ripley, he’s a goofy douche, but can throw down with the best of them, and is a Xenomorph killing machine. We simply lost this man way too soon. So these Marines land of LV-426, only to find it deserted and what once was a rescue mission, quickly turns into a survival mission. The only survivor is a little girl, known as Newt. She has somehow survived weeks, living in the air vents and when you think about it, she’s honestly just such a little trooper, I would have lasted all of 10 minutes before one of those things would get me. One of the big reasons Newt is such a vital part to this story is that when Ripley was in her deep sleep, she lost her daughter, she simply died of old age and when Ripley hears about this, it crushes her. It makes her realize just how long she’s been gone for and how different the world must be. So when they find Newt, Ripley takes it upon herself to not only be a mother figure to this poor helpless girl, but to protect her at all costs. It just added a nice extra layer to Ripley’s character and made her just seem a little more human and have compassion for someone in such a dire and intense, life-threatening situation.
So once they find Newt, they start to dig deeper into the complex, to see if anyone else is still alive, and they just so happen to stumble across the alien hive. Not knowing this of course sets our Marines up for total annihilation and the majority of them are wiped out before our very eyes. The hive scene for me will always be one of my favorites from all of cinema. I think its perfect, to how its shot, you have the Marines point of view, and then you have the view of Ripley and the others watching horrified through monitors, as they see them being picked off one by one. It manages to blend horror, suspense and action all into one and James Cameron does it tremendously. It’s really hard to blend so many different feels, and movie genres all into one scene without over doing it. The hive is just so cool looking, as the aliens use the walls of the cocooned hive to camouflage themselves so well, that when they re moving towards our Marines, even though they have a motion sensor tracking system, they simply just cannot see them coming. This always stands out to me, as just masterful filmmaking. Just one of the many iconic scenes throughout the movie, when it’s all said and done, only a few Marines are left standing and now it’s time for them to find a way off this rock. Trapped on the planet with the aliens, this is where James Cameron really gets to show off the awesome weaponry. For being made in 1986, the weaponry in Aliens is some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen in film. From the sentry guns, to the pulse rifles, to the guns I don’t even know the name of, you know the BFG’s that Vasquez and Drake use in the hive scene, those things will cut you in half.
So when it’s just down to Ripley, it’s her duty to save Newt from her potential fate, so she has to go back into the hive but this time around she stumbles across the queen! Surrounded by eggs, Ripley grabs Newt and they think they are in the clear. It’s then they notice the queen has attached herself to their ship and it’s time for one last showdown between the queen and Ripley, in a some kind of cargo moving mech suit! You know “get away from her you bitch!” line. Again this is just such an iconic scene and one that I’ll certainly never forget. How else were we expecting Ripley to go toe-to-toe with the mother of all aliens, the queen! For what this fight is, obviously it’s slow but powerful, and you couldn’t really expect much else from two huge things battling it out! They just simply don’t really make movies like the used too, 1986 and it still holds up to this day. My opinion, the greatest science-fiction action movie ever created and one of my all time go to movies. It’s just damn near perfect, I can’t think of a single flaw in Aliens, I can try and maybe if I think long and hard about it, I could nitpick something, but what’s the fun in that. James Cameron made a masterpiece and one thing I’ll say about James Cameron. His ability to find young actors and get the most out of them, whether it’s Newt from Aliens or Edward Furlongs character in Terminator 2. These were both their first roles and you wouldn’t have guessed that for a second, it really is something special, an underrated talent of directors. Up next is a film that I think is way undervalued and that would be Alien 3!