AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
USA / English
"Whoever wins... We lose. "During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in the Antarctic ocean, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realise that only one species can win.
Alien vs. Predator plays like a video game
Twentieth Century Fox has taken two of its most popular sci-fi
franchises and paired them in a Super Bowl of monsters in Alien vs.
Predator. The result is OK entertaining but ultimately a pale version
of the original classics, Alien and Predator. It helps to get some
The concept, while intriguing, is not entirely new. Quite recently,
Jason (Friday the 13th series) and Freddy (the Nightmare on Elm Street)
did battle as studios attempted to milk every last drop of revenue from
waning sequels. Three-quarters of a century ago, Universal pictures
became what would be the greatest horror film studio with Frankenstein,
Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, and Creature from the Black Lagoon among
others. When it became apparent that each franchise was running its
course, the natural thought was to pair their monsters in a showdown.
Most prominent was Frankenstein Meets Wolfman. So it is no wonder that
a clip from that very film shows up at the beginning of Alien vs.
Set on present day earth, a satellite detects a thermal event in
Antarctica which triggers a hastily assembled scientific expedition
financed by the Weyland Corporation. Its enigmatic head is Charles
Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) who wants to leave a legacy as his
health begins to fail. Sanaa Lathan is the mountain climber/guide who
leads the group to the thermal anomaly and discovers an ancient pyramid
beneath the deep ice. Unfortunately, the explorers trigger a sequence
of events including the birth of new Aliens via the dreaded facehuggers
and the arrival of a group of Predator warriors ready for a new hunt.
As the body count rises, the Aliens multiply in number and thus a
battle royal is ready to commence. Will there be any humans left? How
come nobody told the Nostromo crew in the first Alien movie about these
critters? And what happened to the Henriksen character's namesake who
reappears in the guise of Bishops 1 and 2 in later films? So many
questions are left unanswered.
The plot does have plenty of holes and glosses quickly, almost too
quickly through the story as characters we barely get to know or want
to care about quickly perish. Fans of both film series will appreciate
the multitude of references to the Alien life cycle and Predator code.
There are a couple of inconsistencies which may nag the purists such as
the rapid maturation of the Aliens from egg to adult in record time,
and the ease with which the dwindling humans understand the whole
scenario. In fact, not only do the humans quickly realize who the
Aliens are, namely the ultimate quarry for the Predator hunter
warriors, but that human beings have been used like cattle to
perpetuate the Aliens every 100 years as game for the returning
Predator race. Note that the film Predator 2 hinted at this very
concept with a brief glimpse of an Alien skull inside a Predator
spaceship. Alien vs. Predator also serves as a kind of prequel to the
Alien films and a kind of sequel to the Predator films in its timeline.
Sanaa Lathan is actually good in the role of the guide and it is
possible a better script and strong direction would have brought echoes
of Ripley from the Alien films of old. The set design of the pyramid is
fascinating though confusing with all of its ever changing mazes. The
creature effects are not bad though reserved for the latter half of the
movie. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon) does a serviceable
job here and the PG 13 rating is designed for all those fans of the
video games and comics featuring the Alien and Predator battles.
Business should be brisk though limited to those loyalists who will
find this installment diverting and certainly not the disappointment of
Alien 3, or is it we've just lowered the bar a bit more?
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