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Charles S. Dutton,
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When a private satellite encounters an unidentified source of heat in Antarctica and it is found to be a pyramid buried deep underground , a search team comprising of top-of-the-line archaeologists and engineers is sent to Antarctica to find out more . Once there , the team comes across signs which indicate that the place is inhabited by an unknown alien species . It is not long before the aliens begin to hunt the team members . At the same time , a trio of coming-of-age Predators have arrived to collect the skulls of the aliens as trophies , and the humans are caught between a deadly battle between the two warring species . Written by
Since the film has no opening credits, the end credits begin with an extended primary credits sequence. This sequence is shown over close-ups of various aspects of the Predator pyramid interior. See more »
Twentieth Century Fox has taken two of its most popular sci-fi franchises and paired them in a Super Bowl of monsters in Alien vs. Predator. The result is OK entertaining but ultimately a pale version of the original classics, Alien and Predator. It helps to get some useful perspective.
The concept, while intriguing, is not entirely new. Quite recently, Jason (Friday the 13th series) and Freddy (the Nightmare on Elm Street) did battle as studios attempted to milk every last drop of revenue from waning sequels. Three-quarters of a century ago, Universal pictures became what would be the greatest horror film studio with Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, and Creature from the Black Lagoon among others. When it became apparent that each franchise was running its course, the natural thought was to pair their monsters in a showdown. Most prominent was Frankenstein Meets Wolfman. So it is no wonder that a clip from that very film shows up at the beginning of Alien vs. Predator.
Set on present day earth, a satellite detects a thermal event in Antarctica which triggers a hastily assembled scientific expedition financed by the Weyland Corporation. Its enigmatic head is Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) who wants to leave a legacy as his health begins to fail. Sanaa Lathan is the mountain climber/guide who leads the group to the thermal anomaly and discovers an ancient pyramid beneath the deep ice. Unfortunately, the explorers trigger a sequence of events including the birth of new Aliens via the dreaded facehuggers and the arrival of a group of Predator warriors ready for a new hunt. As the body count rises, the Aliens multiply in number and thus a battle royal is ready to commence. Will there be any humans left? How come nobody told the Nostromo crew in the first Alien movie about these critters? And what happened to the Henriksen character's namesake who reappears in the guise of Bishops 1 and 2 in later films? So many questions are left unanswered.
The plot does have plenty of holes and glosses quickly, almost too quickly through the story as characters we barely get to know or want to care about quickly perish. Fans of both film series will appreciate the multitude of references to the Alien life cycle and Predator code. There are a couple of inconsistencies which may nag the purists such as the rapid maturation of the Aliens from egg to adult in record time, and the ease with which the dwindling humans understand the whole scenario. In fact, not only do the humans quickly realize who the Aliens are, namely the ultimate quarry for the Predator hunter warriors, but that human beings have been used like cattle to perpetuate the Aliens every 100 years as game for the returning Predator race. Note that the film Predator 2 hinted at this very concept with a brief glimpse of an Alien skull inside a Predator spaceship. Alien vs. Predator also serves as a kind of prequel to the Alien films and a kind of sequel to the Predator films in its timeline.
Sanaa Lathan is actually good in the role of the guide and it is possible a better script and strong direction would have brought echoes of Ripley from the Alien films of old. The set design of the pyramid is fascinating though confusing with all of its ever changing mazes. The creature effects are not bad though reserved for the latter half of the movie. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon) does a serviceable job here and the PG 13 rating is designed for all those fans of the video games and comics featuring the Alien and Predator battles. Business should be brisk though limited to those loyalists who will find this installment diverting and certainly not the disappointment of Alien 3, or is it we've just lowered the bar a bit more?
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