The Abyss (1989, dir. James Cameron)

A team of deep sea drilling experts attempt a rescue on a sunk nuclear submarine. Overambitious but in parts dazzling SF/action hybrid. There’s too much going on, but the film looks great, feels as authentic as it might, and is still impressive in technical respects.

Here’s the trailer.

Aliens (1986, dir. James Cameron)

57 years later, Ellen Ripley faces the xenomorphs again. Superlative sequel, balancing the body horror shocks of the original with military action, suspense, and a then-voguish Vietnam War aftermath aesthetic.