A satellite from Weyland Industries picks up a heat signature from deep below the Antarctic ice. After leading an archaeological expedition to the site, independently wealthy mogul Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen, in a welcome return to the series) discovers a buried Aztec temple within a pyramid to be the subterranean source. Once inside, they makes grisly discoveries that anyone familar with the term “facehugger” will recognize. Also responding to the heat signature? A group of Predators, who kinda want the place to themselves. Which species, if any, will make it out alive?
I didn’t care if I saw this or not (although I like both series, the title made me flashback to the incredibly bad “Freddy vs Jason”) and, as I watch very little television, I had managed to avoid the hype. Lucky me, because I wound up quite enjoying this film. If you can stand the complete ludicrousness of a ship being able to cut through ice that suddenly becomes 2,000 feet thick, then it’s not too bad.
The action doesn’t truly take off until about 40 minutes from the end but, once started, doesn’t let up until the credits roll. Yes, it still takes too long to get to the good stuff, but the half-hour of creature battles and exploding face-huggers that follows more than makes up for the wait. That said, there’s some pretty good stuff here (including one really tense scene when two people, who are trying to evade a Predator, run across a floor that happens to be rising – fast).
I was quite pleasantly surprised by an unexpected pairing in the film as well; I thought it to be both plausable and creative. Additionally, the effects are a quite incredible looking blend of animatronics, suits, and CGI.
The major complaint I have is Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s penchant for ripping off the terrific Canadian film “Cube.” He did this in his previous film “Resident Evil.” I chalked the derivative scene in that film up as homage, but this time the theft is so obvious and on such a larger scale, that I’m shocked litigation isn’t pending. It will be interesting if to see if he can make a film that is entirely his own, now that there’s nothing left for him to steal from “Cube.”
It’s been a long wait for fans of both the “Predator” and “Alien” series and, for the most part, the end result was worth it. Yes, the ending is overused and predictable, and it takes a bit too long to get going, but AvP is otherwise better than it has any right to be.
Pros: Great effects. Quite tense. One creative and surprising pairing.
Cons: Director Paul W.S. Anderson needs to start coming up with his own ideas…or start giving credit to the original authors whose work he’s been pilfering.
Review Rating: A solid 3 out of 5 painful Warrior Markings.
“Alien Vs. Predator” (2004)
Also known as: “AvP: Alien Vs. Predator”
101 Minutes; USA / Canada / Germany / Czech Republic / UK
Rated PG-13 for violence, language, horror images, slime and gore.
Sanaa Lathan (Alexa Woods)
Raoul Bova (Sebastian de Rosa)
Lance Henriksen (Charles Bishop Weyland)
Ewen Bremner (Graeme Miller)
Colin Salmon (Maxwell Stafford)
Tommy Flanagan (Mark Verheiden)
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson, based on a screen story by Paul W.S. Anderson, Dan O’Bannon, and Ronald Shusett.
Viewing Format: Theatrical Release
(Originally published on ScifiWatch.)