Alien Vs Predator (15)

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Review byMatthew Turner18/10/2004

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Despite (or perhaps because of) some laughably bad moments, this is surprisingly enjoyable – unless, that is, you’re a huge fan of either the Alien or Predator films.

The tag-line for Alien Vs Predator is just asking for abuse, really, isn’t it? The posters proudly declare: “Alien Vs Predator. Whoever wins…we lose”, which is an irresistible set-up for film reviewers everywhere.

Surprisingly, however, the film isn’t nearly as bad as you might expect, although it’s much more enjoyable if you approach it as a trashy ‘B’ movie and try to pretend that it has nothing to do with the original Alien films. (Alien movie fans tend to take these things pretty seriously, though one imagines that Predator fans are rather more laid back about the whole thing).

Pyramid Of Total Doom And Extreme Violence

Anyway, when craggy-faced billionaire industrialist Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) discovers a mysterious “heat bloom” emanating from deep under Antarctica, he assembles a crack team of scientists, archaeologists and assorted boffins to investigate. Chief amongst these is Alexa “Lex” Woods (Sanaa Lathan) and you can tell she’s the lead because a) she’s kinda hot and b) she’s one of the few characters to actually have a name.

Once they arrive in Antarctica (on a ship named Piper Maru, as a sweet nod to X-Files geeks), they are somewhat perplexed to discover a mysterious pyramid 2000 feet below the earth’s surface. However, before any of the boffins can translate the hieroglyphs that read “Run for your lives!” the pyramid shifts its walls around and traps them all inside, splitting them up from each other in the process.

Things go from bad to worse after that, because it turns out that the pyramid is actually a Predator-designed hunting ground where rookie Predators can hunt specially bred Aliens. Suddenly there are Aliens and Predators everywhere and the mother of all inter-galactic smackdowns takes place, with the puny humans either stuck in the middle or used as breeding vessels for more Aliens, John Hurt-style.

Laughable Plot – But Who Cares?

The plot is extremely laughable (it turns out that “Predators taught humans to build and were worshipped as gods”), but Anderson is canny enough to throw in several nice touches and in-jokes to at least try and keep fans happy. Chief amongst these is the casting of Lance Henriksen, whose robot-loving character is a direct link to Aliens – at one point he even taps between his fingers with a pen.

Sanaa Lathan makes a good lead, which is fortunate, because the other actors are just Alien-fodder. Henriksen is good value, as always but Ewen Bremner just babbles incoherently, to the point where you’re actually willing the Aliens to get him.

The film is so hilariously bad in places that you suspect it’s actually meant to be funny – how else to explain facehuggers jumping in bullet-time or a sequence where Lex and Predator One run away from an explosion, Stallone-style? In fact, the film eventually becomes a sort of mismatched buddy movie – there’s a lovely bit where Predator One realises that he and Lex share the same hairstyle and you can see him thinking, “Hmmm – this chick has moxie!”

In short, Alien Vs Predator may be silly but the effects are good and there are enough shocks and gruesome deaths to keep things entertaining. However, if you were remotely excited by the scene in the trailer with millions of Aliens swarming up the pyramid, then prepare to be disappointed, because it’s only a brief flashback moment.

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Alien Vs Predator (15)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 07:42

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