JAMES CAMERON has written and directed so many great films—TITANIC, TRUE LIES, THE TERMINATOR, and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY—ALIENS is like a cute puppy lost out in the rain. But if you actually watched ALIENS, you’d know the science-fiction film was nothing like a cute puppy. It was a mean, nasty, monstrous epic that outdid the original in almost every way.

ELLEN RIPLEY, played by SIQOURNEY WEAVER, has nightmares of her last encounter with an XENOMORPH on the ill-fated Nostromo. Now she is asked to return to those nightmares by journeying to a terraforming colony located on the exomoon HADLEY’S HOPE. RIPLEY refuses at first; she is too distraught by her last encounter. But Colonial MARINE LIEUTENANT GORMAN and CARTER BURKE, a representative for a corporation called Weyland-Yutani, convince her to make the trip.

Aboard the USS SULACO, a spaceship that resembles a six-bladed sword slicing across the blackness, RIPLEY meets a platoon of MARINES, and an android named BISHOP, which scares the bejeezus out of RIPLEY: ASH, the last android she encountered, tried to kill her.

Via dropships, the SULACO’S crew touches down on HADLEY’S HOPE. MARINES are deployed; armed weapons are at the ready. The interior of the colony is thoroughly examined. But none of the colonists are accounted for, save one…a young girl nicknamed NEWT.

As one would expect, it isn’t long before SULACO’S entire crew square off with a legion of XENOMORPHS. It is one action-packed scene after another. Machine guns wail. Shell casings scatter to and fro. Walls and armor are splattered with acid blood. It’s total war.

There are no spoilers in my review. None at all. I could tell you BURKE betrays the entire crew. I could reveal the only survivors are RIPLEY, NEWT, a split-in-half BISHOP, and a MARINE named HICKS. But I won’t reveal any of that good stuff. I am too nice of a guy.

Watch ALIENS if only you want to bite your nails until the tips bleed. Watch ALIENS if only you want to have a massive heart attack after seeing the first XENOMORPH crawl out of its ghastly cubbyhole.

I give ALIENS a B+ for believable special effects, likable characters, and great, memorable dialogue. “They mostly come at night. Mostly.”