Alien vs. Predator (2004)


We Have to Consider the Possibility That We Might Not Make it Out of Here.

After having watched far too many Alien and Predator related movies back to back, I think I figured out what probably got today’s movie started.  I wouldn’t personally have drawn any comparisons between those two movies myself were it not for today’s film until I rewatched Predator 2.  In that movie, you can see what is clearly a Xenomorph skull inside the Predator’s ship, implying that the Predator could defeat the Xenomorph.  Fanboys being what they are, the Predator fans probably started to rub that in the face of Alien fans, causing Alien fans to defend their preferred series.  Over time, it became very similar to the Star Wars/Star Trek debates, and studios decided that they needed to make two movies that answered the questions of the fans.  Either that or the studios wanted to make more money.  Either way, the movie came out, and later became the subject for my review of Alien vs. Predator, written by Shane Salerno, written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and starring Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Ian Whyte, Tom Woodruff Jr., Raoul Bova, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan, Joseph Rye, Agathe de La Boulaye, Carsten Norgaard, Liz May Brice, and Sam Troughton.

A mysterious heat signature shows up underneath the island of Bouvetøya, 1,000 miles north of Antarctica, attracting a lot of attention, most notably from Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), head of Weyland Industries.  He hastily assembles a team of experts to go and investigate what appears to be a temple buried beneath the ice, and contracts Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) to lead the expedition, against her better judgment.  When they arrive, they find that some airborne anomaly has burrowed a hole from the surface to the temple in less than a day, even though the technology to do that doesn’t exist as far as humans know.  They get down to the temple and quickly find that this temple is a training ground for the Predators, who have kept a Xenomorph queen on ice in the temple until she’s needed to produce eggs, which then produce facehuggers, which then produce Xenomorphs, which then battle the Predators.  And the humans are now caught in the middle of the fight.

I can’t remember it that well, but I feel like my biggest problem with this movie was the same that I had with the movie Freddie vs. Jason: the studio/writer is too afraid of fan feedback to make a decision about who would win the fight that is the entire basis of their movie.  Freddie vs. Jason refused to make the decision and Alien vs. Predator made the wrong one.  And by that I don’t mean that I had picked who I wanted to win and they didn’t.  I mean that they made the humans win, or at least the one human win.  That’s not how the word “versus” works!  I’m not a huge boxing fan, but I’m pretty sure the winner of the famous Ali vs. Foreman fight was not Steve from row three.  Make either the Alien or the Predator definitively win, or don’t bother making the movie.  The world wouldn’t have missed the movie that much either since it really wasn’t that good.  Not horrible, but not great either.  I’m sure most of us know – because of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – that two great things can work great together, like chocolate and peanut butter.  But some of us (namely me) know that two great things can be horrible together, like chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter.  And yes, I know that from experience.  The story was weak and barely worth paying attention to.  It was mainly just there for the purposes of the setup and then completely forgotten about, just like Alexa’s rules.  I distinctly remember her first rule being that everyone stays together, but the whole problem stars because the group splits into two.  Later on, she even brings it up again.  I guess getting six people killed by forgetting your rule will make you remember it a little better.  They also take to something I’ve hated about movies like this for a long time: why the hell would you even bother bringing an expert when you have no intention of listening to them?  When the expert on ancient cultures tells you not to take the Predator’s guns out of the coffin, why are you going to not just ignore him, but look him right in the eyes as you disobey him and single-handedly get everyone killed?  I also don’t like the Predator working with the humans.  That’s entirely out of character.  The closest thing Predator’s do to work with humans is occasionally to not kill them.  I didn’t even like the entire premise of the movie.  I don’t think the Predators and the Xenomorphs are a good match for each other.  The Predators are skilled hunters and the Xenomorphs are just semi-dumb creatures (at least as they’re portrayed in this movie) that don’t win with cunning or power, just sheer numbers.  This movie is supposed to be a battle between two powerful creatures and it turns into more like the battle I had with the ant hill the other day.  Granted, the Xenomorphs did their damage, but it was more to the humans and only against the Predators with either surprise or numbers, which kind of takes away from the power of the Xenomorphs.  The only occasion where they seemed to show any intelligence was when they raptor-ed the guy in the hallway at one point, having one appear in front to distract him but then hitting him with two from either side.  I was surprised that he didn’t applaud the girl’s cleverness.

I didn’t find any of the performances to be anything special.  Sanaa Lathan was the de facto lead of the movie.  She performed alright, but I get the feeling like they were trying to mooch some of Ripley’s badass chick character, but never really managed to do it, even though this chick did do ridiculous things that should never have happened, like at the end of the movie when she saved the Predator from something really big that it was fighting.  Lance Henriksen was also in the movie, and he was solid in his performance, but it didn’t usually require much more out of him than coughing in the background of a scene.  I was also shocked to see that I had actually seen more than one movie with Ewen Bremner in the cast, the other being the Rundown.  I’ve probably seen more, but I hadn’t yet paid attention to him until I saw him in a role I liked, as with his character in the Rundown.

Alien vs. Predator is two great things that probably should have never been put together.  They didn’t make it a decent fight, they made a silly decision on the outcome to the battle, and they didn’t put very much of interest in the movie to make up for that.  They did much more to damage the two things they brought together than they did to help it along, and for that I say you should skip this movie.  It’s okay, but there’s so many things that would probably bother fans of either of those two creatures, and people that weren’t fans of either probably wouldn’t consider watching the movie anyway.  Alien vs. Predator gets “It’s a bomb.  Well, I hope it kills every fucking one of ’em!” out of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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