I love almost all of James Cameron’s films. He does a great job of building up interesting characters, and that includes villains. Pretty much all of his villains are memorable, and most of them have impressive deaths. I’ve decided to rank the demise of James Cameron’s villains to see which one is the best.
I’m only going to include main villains on this list. No side villains or anything like that. Also, you won’t find Piranha II: The Spawning or Titanic on here. I don’t consider Piranha II a true James Cameron film because he had so little control over the production. And Cal Hockley dies off screen in Titanic. On with the list!
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6. Avatar – Colonel Miles Quaritch
Everything in Avatar is meh to me. I could barely even remember how Quaritch dies. It left almost no impression on me. From the music and choreography to the dialogue and acting in this scene, it’s all so generic and boring.
5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day – T-1000
After spending the whole movie completely devoid of emotion, the T-1000 finally has a moment of shock when T-800 shoots him with a grenade launcher. And then he dies an agonizing death. Unfortunately, this death scene goes on way too long and it feels indulgent rather than satisfying. It’s not perfect, but this death scene at the end of Terminator 2 is at least memorable.
4. Aliens – Alien Queen
You could argue that Burke is the real villain in Aliens, much like Ash could be seen as the real villain in Alien. But, in my opinion, Burke is just the means of getting Ripley back to LV-426 to face her true nemesis: the Alien Queen. And she literally does as she goes toe to toe against the giant creature while strapped into a Power Lifter. The whole scene is great, and watching the Alien Queen scream in fury and fear as it flies out of the airlock is oh so satisfying. But it’s pretty much a copy of the fate of the first Alien, so I can’t give it props for originality.
3. True Lies – Salim Abu Aziz
This is definitely the funniest villain death in James Cameron’s filmography. And no, I don’t count Bill Paxton’s death as the funniest because it only happened in Harry Tasker’s head. There are so many great villain deaths in True Lies. But this last one really takes the cake. Classic Schwarzenegger.
2. The Terminator – T-800
Now this is how you kill a Terminator. Nice and simple. There’s a perfect setup for it earlier in the scene. Plus, it completes Sarah Connor’s transformation from damsel in distress to cold killer. She becomes the titular character, and it’s only in the sequel that she finds redemption and becomes more than a terminator.
1. The Abyss – Lieutenant Hiram Coffey
The Abyss is my favorite James Cameron film, and it also has his best villain death. This death scene has it all. Coffey has been suffering from high-pressure nervous syndrome throughout the film, so we can never tell if he’s completely in control of his actions. This makes him a sympathetic villain right to the end. Even after he launches a nuclear warhead at the aliens at the bottom of an abyss and cripples Bud and Lindsey’s mini-submarine, it’s still sad to see him die. It’s fitting that the pressure that has been harming him winds up killing him in one fantastic implosion.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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