Funny, endlessly quotable and ultimately tragic, the colonial marines are one of Aliens’ most adored cinematic strengths
Taking into account their heroism, personalities and overall entertainment value as Aliens turns 30, we salute the sci-fi classic’s lovable soldiers – and rank them from worst to best.
(Warning: Spoilers if you have’t seen Aliens)
Who is this guy again? What does he do? Why is he even there?
For sheer baffling reasons of leaving no impression whatsoever, this fella has to be bottom of the pile.
Pretty much the same deal here.
But Crowe’s fellow expendable gets a bonus point for one startled look to camera – and a Grade A scream as all hell breaks loose (and Hicks desperately yells his name).
Goddamnit Gorman. If there’s a more woeful example of incompetence by a movie military officer out there, we’d like to see it.
He’s inexperienced. He’s tactically inept. He’s crap under pressure – and only brings a piddly little pistol to the firefight. The only reason he isn’t bottom of the pile is that he ultimately shows some mettle, by going back to try and help Vasquez in the tunnels.
A bit of a personality vacuum right here.
But let’s give the co-pilot props for a mildly amusing name – and the fact that he notices something’s amiss on the drop-ship before he gets back on board.
The main flying officer, on the other hand, spectacularly fails to notice an alien presence on board her craft until it’s too late. But hey, she’s winningly sarcastic and gets a couple of neat one-liners.
“We’re in the pipe. Five-by-five.”
We rather like the unsung medical officer. She patches up Newt, tries to help the woman strung up in the atmosphere processor depths, and also wields a flamethrower like a right pro.
Shame she ends up aiming it at her own comrades, but hey ho…
Speaking of which, isn’t it slightly ironic that Frost ends up anything but cold? Still, you’ve got to love the man for his withering cynicism. Wakes up from cryo-sleep? “I hate this job.” Handed a bag full of heavy ammo that ends up blowing to hell? “Thanks a lot Sarge.”
He’s like the Dolorous Edd of Aliens.
Scarred, hard, and an absolute monster of a squaddie – even and especially when sh*t hits the fan – Vasquez’s partner in mayhem and smart-gun buddy takes out a good few Xenomorphs as the platoon battle to escape from harm’s way.
Run out of ammo for that gigantic cannon? No worries. Here’s a handy flamethrower he prepared earlier. Got to love that.
We’re used to tough drill sergeant types with booming voices and sharp put-downs to match, but the thing is, Apone is not just a highly competent leader and soldier; underneath all the bluster you can tell he genuinely cares about his troops.
Watching him get taken out while he’s struggling to listen to Gorman’s garbled blithering is an absolute tragedy.
He sleeps through the combat drop like your Dad after Sunday lunch. He saves Newt and Ripley from Burke’s dastardly plan. He stays completely calm when things are at their darkest, and – together with Ripley – pulls all the survivors together.
Even after an acid blast to the face he keeps on smiling – and reveals to us all that his name is Dwayne. DWAYNE. The ultimate everyman hero.
There are innumerable reasons as to why we love Hudson. His histrionic outbursts are the stuff of legend; his adrenaline-soaked meltdowns utterly captivating.
Let’s be honest. If it was us being stalked by murderous space monsters we’d act just the same. And we bloody adore him for it.
Hudson may have called himself the ultimate badass – but that accolade definitely goes to Vasquez.
Handling Hudson’s taunts with aplomb wins your admiration (“No – have you?”), but it’s her role as a formidable frontline soldier that really sticks in the mind. Always on the attack. Always ready to die fighting. She probably takes down more Aliens alone than the rest of her comrades combined.
Forgetting someone? Yes, that’s right. He may not get the limelight, but the platoon’s resident android (sorry, ‘artificial person’) is, alongside Ripley, the true saviour of the day.
Without him noticing the damage to the reactor, they wouldn’t know to evacuate. Without him braving the outside world to remote-pilot the ship, there would be no craft to airlift the survivors to safety. What a guy.
Plus – lest we forget – that knife trick is just awesome.