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Alien vs. Predator (2004)
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Review Date: August 13, 2004
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Producers: John Davis, Gordon Carroll, David Giler
Actors:
Sanaa Lathan
Lance Henriksen
Raoul Bava
Plot:
An underground pyramid has been discovered in Antartica and a team of no-name actors pretending to be characters that nobody cares about, head down to see what all the fuss is about. What they quickly find out is that they are in the middle of a sparring match between aliens and predators, two awesome killers from other, better movies. The battle between the extra-terrestrials begins as the humans take cover...and get slaughtered.
Critique:
First of all, a big "booooooooo" to Fox studios for hiding this film from the press before its opening. We're very rarely not given the chance to review a movie before it opens and it's usually because the studio believes the film to be a monster size crap-- so thanks for lowering that bar. That said, this highly anticipated movie didn't turn out to be as great as I hoped it might, but also didn't turn out to be as bad as it could have either. It's basically a "blah" entry into the ALIEN and PREDATOR franchise list, most likely due to the studio's decision to rate it PG-13 and to clip from it, everything that would make an ALIEN and PREDATOR movie an ALIEN and PREDATOR movie, so that more 13-year olds can go watch a lot of people getting killed...well, watch a lot of people about to get killed, and then see the camera pan away. Another example of this is when a character in the film pays homage to Arnie's classic line from the original PREDATOR, but instead of completing their thought, says only: "You're one ugly motherf---" before being cut off. I guess they figure teenagers have never heard the word "motherfucker" before. Friggin' MPAA. The one really great thing about this flick is (and thank God for that!) the actual aliens and predators. These friggin' beasts rule! Why the film spends about an hour or so building up to them, and then only half and hour with them, is beyond my meek comprehension, but when we do get to see the aliens scrap it out with the predators, it's a barrel of sci-fi fun!

If only we didn't have to sit through moronic dialogue pieces about the "Hunter's moon", listen to a character we don't care about go on about his sons (we get it...you're a dad...I give a shit!) and sit through, what seemed like, endless shots of the predators looking into their electronic gadget suit's tracking of "The Hive"...oops, I mean the underground pyramid. I've never been one to bash director Paul W.S. Anderson, but I found that a lot of this film reminded me of his previous directing gig, RESIDENT EVIL, only with a lesser hottie as the lead, lesser slick kills and lesser overall action. Of course, no one in their right mind should be going to see a movie entitled ALIEN VS PREDATOR for character development, so why spend so much time on them anyway? I recently watched the original PREDATOR on DVD (it still comes through) and within the film's first 10 minutes, they were all locked, stocked and in the jungle, ready to kick mighty ass. This movie rambled on for too long, spent way too much time in the dark and started off with an action sequence that barely showed any of the action (there's quick cuts and then there's cutting a scene to the point of not being able to identify anything in it) Thankfully, some of the film's later fight sequences kicked ass, particularly the big one between the two beasts (although I had already seen it on the Net) and the final confrontation. I also really liked the final shot of the movie, the quick flashback background given to the predators/aliens' arrival on earth, as well as the lead character's trajectory nearing the end of the film (didn't see that coming) Lance Henricksen also provided a nice anchor to the story, the special effects were solid and not overdone and I loved the new predatorial weapons (but alas, they weren't used as much as they could have been)

That said, there were very few of the "kills" that I remember because the camera cut away before we saw anything, nothing about the movie was scary or suspenseful and the lead actress had none of the charm, strength or bite required for such a role. Sigh. Catch it on video so that you can fast-forward to the good parts and call it a life.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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