When comedy and drama stars turn to fist fights and shoot-outs
Sigourney Weaver, 'Aliens'
As warrant officer Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's "Alien," Weaver was about as far from a traditional action hero as you could get. Not only was she female, but her long-limbed, elegant beauty belied the mental and physical strength she was capable of projecting on-screen as her character - the film's lone human survivor - engaged in a fight-to-the-finish with the slimy, chest-bursting creature of the title. Of course, it wasn't until her masterful performance in James Cameron's full-throttle 1986 sequel "Aliens" that she truly broke the mold, managing to somehow make Ripley's transformation into a ballsy, machine gun-toting female warrior entirely convincing. For her efforts, she scored a surprise Oscar nomination the following year - perhaps the most incredible feat of all for an actress starring in a genre film.
- Chris Eggertsen