Aliens is so important in terms of female action hero movies, because you have Ripley who starts out as somewhat of a Snow White, she’s literally out of her own time and no one believes her and what happened, but gradually throughout the movie she’s more and more assertive and takes over directing the marines. She’s experienced with the xenomorphs and saves asses continually, and also is very maternal, taking care of Newt who no one else is willing to look out for. She could have easily just left Newt in the nest, but NO, she goes back when everyone else is ready to go, and she fucking takes on the QUEEN to get her back. Also, she has probably one of the best lines in any film ever - “Get away from her you bitch!”. If you’re ever going to write a female in an action-based movie, Ellen Ripley is probably where you should look to first for inspiration.
Then you Vasquez, a totally badass marine who no one will even mess with and all the marine’s treat her equally (except Hudson but he just likes messing around with her but she gives it back to him just as good “Hey Vasquez have you ever been mistaken for a man?” “No, have you?”), and she doesn’t take anyone’s shit but is actually very protective of her team.
And then you have Newt who’s a little girl, of what, ten years of age? And she’s managed to survive amongst the xenomorphs for weeks which the marine’s just can’t get over or believe, and she helps the marines out, navigating them through the tunnels and actually saves them on many occasions by knowing where to go and not to go. She’s literally lost her entire family, her friends, everyone she’s known on the colony, and she’s the SOLE survivor out of the entire colony.
So James Cameron really made a terrific sequel to Scott’s Alien, his female characters weren’t in the background, or two-dimensional, they weren’t pushed to the side so the men could have their moment, they totally had some of the best lines in the film, and the marines wouldn’t have stood a fraction of a chance without any of them.