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ALIEN VS PREDATOR (UNRATED EDITION)
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Reviewed by: Rees Savidis

Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring:
Sanaa Lathan
Lance Henriksen
Ewen Bremner

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Why, it’s the fight of the century or course. Two of the biggest, baddest franchises in sci-fi history finally get together to beat the xenomorphic shit out of each other. Spoiler to follow at the end of this review.
Is it good movie?
This review marks the third time I’ve check in on the proceedings and I have to say it does get a little bit better as time goes on. However, this is the first time I’ve seen the film in its much batted-about ‘unrated’ form. For most folks, opinions towards the film have already been formed – probably long before the film even showed up in theatres. But for those still sitting on the fence about the whole affair, let me see if I can help sway you one way or the other.

If you hated ‘AvP’ when it first arrived in its highly debated PG-13 form, chances are you’re still going to. There is really nothing in this new cut that raises the film much above mediocre. The newly added scenes do little but pad the running time. There are a few instances where scenes have been extended slightly, adding a bit more fat to some of the characters and the dynamic between them. To answer the question that’s on the lips of most, if not all, fans of both ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ films no, this is NOT the all-out gladiatorial splat-fest we hoped for - that movie was never shot. It would seem, to me at least, that most of the excised scenes were either cut because of their redundancy or to secure a ‘kiddie-dollars’ friendly PG-13.

The flip side of the coin is this: ‘AvP’ is a very polished and at times very entertaining film. It is briskly paced and ably directed, with enough kick-ass to satiate this fanboy. I’m a bit of a Paul (Wide-Screen) Anderson apologist so I find myself forgiving him for most of his cinematic shortcomings. It is obvious the lad has a passion for the films he makes and that genuine excitement usually finds its way up onto the screen. Say what you will, he still made ‘Event Horizon’ and that flick rocks!
Video / Audio
VIDEO: Gorgeous! The 2.35:1 transfer on this disc is a real stunner.

AUDIO: The 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS tracks presented here are best described as punishing! That’s a good thing!
The Extras
This bitch is loaded! Check it.

Disc one contains both the theatrical and the extended unrated cuts. There are two commentary tracks on the theatrical cut, one with director Anderson and actors Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen and one with some of the VFX artists. It eludes me as to why there is zero vocal styling on the extended cut. It would have been nice to hear Anderson’s take on the new cut.

Disc two holds the wealth of the package’s special features and they are quite exhaustive. They are as follows:

Pre-Production: A 25 minute piece on the origins of the film, bringing the avid fan and casual viewer up to snuff on the finer points of getting a multi-million dollar effects-a-palooza off the ground. Sweet!

Production: An entire hour’s worth of nitty-gritty gettin’ the flick made goodness. It’s a very informative and entertaining piece that is the core of this special edition package. Nice!

Post-production: A groovy 30 minute segment showcasing some of the elements involved in bringing the visual effects to snarling, acid bleeding life. Rad!

All said-and-told, there is nearly two hours’ worth of making-of goodies for folks to get down and dig on. Very pleasing indeed.

The rest of the disc is rounded out by a few pieces explaining the origins of the ‘Alien Vs Predator’ world as well as a nifty little piece showing the endless line of figures and collectables that have such a positive impact on Todd McFarlane’s pocket.

There is also a smattering of trailers and one of those lame-ass ‘HBO First Look’ fluff pieces that no one ever needs to watch.
Last Call
It’s the cinematic fight for galactic supremacy we’ve been waiting for since Dark Horse first presented the idea in comic book form well over a decade ago. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. While it’s most certainly not the film most of us wanted to see, it’s still something to get a new installment from either franchise, let alone sticking them together. Aliens and Predators are cinematic icons and no matter how light and brisk their teaming up wound up being, it was still cool-as-hell to watch them brutalize one another.

Oh, and by the way…we win. End spoiler.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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