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154 out of 299 people found the following review useful:

It took 14 years...

Author: dee.reid from United States
14 August 2004

...Before a possible showdown between the iconic monsters of "Alien" and "Predator" would occur, when they would cross paths on screen and battle to the death. There's a scene in "Predator 2" that occurs towards the end of the film, where Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) ventures into the Predator spaceship and accidentally stumbles onto the alien hunter's trophy room, and neatly placed towards the back amongst the various awards, was an alien skull. Those 10 seconds of film spawned over a decade's worth of rumors that one day these titans were going to go at it head-to-head, and that whoever won, we'd lose.

As a fan of both the "Alien" and "Predator" franchises, I've been looking forward to "Alien Vs. Predator" for a long time, since that historic scene. I've admired the two monsters for years, collecting all kinds of memorabilia, including books and action figures; you name it, I've probably seen it.

With "Alien Vs. Predator," director Paul W.S. Anderson has achieved something of a mixed bag. Undoubtedly critics will balk early into the film. They'll pick apart its MTV-style editing, bad pacing, and lack of spirit of a genuine "Alien" or "Predator" film. Die-hards will balk at Anderson's direction and the fact that he was even allowed near the film.

I had fun watching it, despite some inconsistencies regarding our two iconic monsters who like to either use humans as hosts for more of their hideous offspring, or trophies which can be displayed in their intergalactic showroom of skulls.

The story is that a massive, ancient Aztec/Egyptian/Mayan temple has been discovered deep below the surface of the Antarctic, and Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen of "Aliens") has assembled a team of the world's best archaeologists, which includes Alexa "Lex" Woods (Sanaa Lathan, who convincingly fills in the tough female role), Sebastian de Rosa (Raoul Bova) and Graeme Miller (Ewen Bremner) to accompany him in investigating it. But wouldn't you know it? They're not alone in this gargantuan maze of dark tunnels and ever-changing structures, and that a trio of Predators have come there to hunt rapidly reproducing Xenomorphs.

Well, I can tell anyone that the powers-that-be in Hollywood and at Twentieth Century Fox played heavily into the film's mixed bag treatment. If the movie fails, I'd blame constant executive and studio interference - the b*****ds in suits who decide they want to cater to teenage fanboys instead of the largely adult fan base that this film was originally built on. In doing so, they opt for action over story, more importantly, $$$ over artistic vision.

Anderson has remained faithful in preserving the essence of both the "Alien" and "Predator" franchises by casting no-name performers to combat the extraterrestrial foes, and by emphasizing ideas over action and special effects. On a sour, angrier note, the gorehounds will be sorely disappointed, since executives at Fox toned down the violence considerably as to release it with a "PG-13" rating, as to rake in every penny. Of course, that "PG-13" rating doesn't stop us from getting quick edits (read: no gore) of chestbursting sequences, facehuggings, and people being mercilessly slaughtered by the Predators.

I had faith that Paul W.S. Anderson wouldn't let me down long before I even saw the film; he doesn't, but I have a feeling that his film is destined for the same fate as David Fincher and his film "Alien 3" - that it will go down in infamy and only years after the director has disowned the film and controversy is still brewing, that the true vision of "Alien Vs. Predator" will surface and will finally earn the respect owed to it.


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28 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Highly underrated

Author: drummerman92 from United States
18 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sure this movie might not have that good of a plot or characters but it had good action sequences and effects. I liked how this film revealed a little of the back story of the predators (since they have always been a big mystery) and it tells about how the aliens are the predators ultimate prey. Sure the plot had a few holes like how did the alien queen stay alive when frozen for that long? Or why the aliens acid blood dissolves the claws but not the spears or the bladed disc. But that is made up for with the fight scenes which i personally thought were exiting and very well done. And i thought it was interesting how the aliens used their own queens acid blood the burn through the chains and free her. My opinion on this movie is this Allot of people say it sucked but i think it was alright (partially because I'm a big fan of both series ans I saw AVP:R first) but if you don't have an open mind about this movie don't watch it, if you are a fan of the alien and predator franchises I would highly suggest this movie.

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67 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

Alien vs. Predator plays like a video game

Author: seaview1
12 August 2004

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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109 out of 211 people found the following review useful:

Alien and Predator for Barney's primary audience...

Author: mentalcritic from Southern Hemisphere
12 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you give a toss about the story, stop reading. But believe me, this comment couldn't possibly ruin the film for you any more than Fox has. Spare a thought for Paul Anderson as he struggles to make a film that hasn't been neutered by the MPAA or a cowardly studio. Once Paul Verhoeven left America to resume his stellar work in Europe, I guess the MPAA had to have someone to pound upon. After moronic parents who took their single-digit-age children to see Resident Evil complained, I guess it was inevitable that future Anderson projects face an even bigger butcher's knife.

But I am getting ahead of myself here. There are two things that made the Alien and Predator franchises work. The first was human interaction. In essence, the films were about humans trying to screw each other over for power, with the titular enemy there to deliver the consequences of not working together. A non-subtle and somewhat shallow social statement, in other words. Then there's the gore factor. Once the human drama is set up, who cannot help but feel for the survivors as a marine's face is melted by Alien blood, or when a train full of commuters are torn to pieces by a Predator who doesn't fully understand what is going on around him?

AVP tries to set up the former factor with Lance Henriksen's character anxious to find the strange artefact under the polar cap before he dies. Unfortunately, where Aliens in particular excelled was that it managed to give every character a third dimension. Here, only Henriksen's character gets such effort. So every act of violence or mayhem is given a feeling of absolutely no consequence. It's almost like a video game.

Paul Anderson is on record as saying that he made the film with every intention of it being screened with the MPAA's R rating. Apparently, Fox, fearing it will alienate children, decided otherwise. Never mind that the audience which kept both franchises in the black are now either in their mid-twenties or middle-aged. Forget creativity or making something that people might enjoy. The lowest common denominator rules here. Those parents who complained when the studio didn't accommodate them because they were too stupid to realize a film based on a video game which is in turn based on Night Of The Living Dead might not be a good babysitter, I hope you are proud of yourselves. Meanwhile, if any studio wants to let Anderson make a film without tying his hands over his audience's eyes, I will gladly pay to see it multiple times. Trust me, you will make more money this way once backlash is accounted for.

AVP also marks the first Anderson film I have seen in which the shaky-cam technique is used. Here, they don't even bother to try and make their excuse that it puts the audience more into the action seem plausible. Every shaky-cam frame might as well have the phrase "we are shaking this camera to preserve our PG-13 rating" stamped across it in big, bold letters.

You may have noticed that I haven't said anything about the actual characters yet, apart from mentioning Lance Henriksen by his own name rather than that of the character. There is a reason for this. If a group of film characters became any more generic, they could all be played by the same actor. The Aliens and Predators do not fare any better. Seriously, why on Earth didn't they just base the script upon the first comic book series? These comic books showed more for the audience to get interested in with one issue than this film shows in its entire running length.

The story also shows every conceivable sign of not being thought through. The humans discover an alien temple a couple of thousand feet below the surface of a polar cap. Great, but wouldn't that mean it is basically submerged in the ocean? So when the intrepid humans decide to go and check it out, the Predators oblige them by firing a beam from Earth's orbit into said polar cap, tunneling the thousands of feet needed to find the entrance. I guess the budget cuts at NASA meant that nobody could notice the massive hulking ship above the Earth. I'm also guessing that Alien blood and armour made from Alien parts gives one special powers, such as the ability to stand below a spacecraft as it takes off without being burned by the thrust. Or did they just not see Danny Glover's race to get away from the Predators' ship at the end of Predator 2?

In short, this film insults the fans of both franchises, sci-fi action fans in general, as well as the basic principle of adults being able to watch and hear what they choose to. I strongly urge the viewing, DVD-buying public to give this film the butt, lest more be made in this kindergarten-oriented fashion. Fox, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Great combination of the two series

Author: iiiandviii
14 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers I thought they way the two series were brought together was about as well as it could have been. Going back in time before the Alien series began was fine with me setting up the Wayland Industry future development of synthetic humans and modeling them after the company's founder as a way to remember him and honor him fits well with his characters fear of not being remembered in the future after he's gone. i hope in future AVP movies the first of the prototypes again brings Lance back to his role again and again.

I've seen comments that the preds were not impressive. I'd say they were as impressive as in any other pred movie. This time, the aliens were much more impressive than in most of the movies. Alien intelligence was well displayed in this movie. The preds continuing to show "sportsmanship" in the hunt continues through both pred movies into this one which i think is a great link. Respect for a human who got a kill as well as mercy for the sick (unarmed people in both pred movies as well as a pregnant woman in pred 2) at least until the sick directly attacked the pred himself. I hated to see the first two preds taken out so quickly but the first was in the middle of conflict with the humans and let his guard down and was suspect to a sneak attack from behind. i thought the movie was great. much more interesting than the second pred movie and most of the Alien movies.

OK, one plot hole that i hated was the idea of a 2000 foot thick ice covering when the distance from the top of the ice (whaling village) was only a couple of hundred feet above the surface of the water (early scene looking down from water tower as well as later scene from same location). since it is an island, that means land is at least at the waters edge meaning not only is the pyramid below ice, but well below land as well. that cliff at the water tower should have been 2000 feet tall if the pyramid was that deep under ice but the perspective of the view and the size of the humans in the shot proved it wasn't near that high although the water was amazingly deep to be right next to shore of an island.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Real exciting

Author: therodimus from Russian Federation
22 February 2005

After watching a movie for the third time, I went to a conclusion that this is a really good movie. Honestly. Not a masterpiece, of course, but not complete crap either. It might be better, much better - but it is as it is and we can do nothing about it.

It's not "Predator", "Predator 2" or yet another part of the "Alien" series. So please don't compare them.

Don't forget that Fincher, Cameron and Scott were not that famous when they were making "Alien"'s movies. So there's no use to blame Paul Anderson for lack of experience.

Just watch it and enjoy it. It might be an excellent film, but it's just a good movie. ;)

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Solid Underrated Action Movie

Author: ArchAngel Michael from Quis Ut Deus?
6 May 2016

Spoilers Ahead:

Let's get the problems with the movie out of the way. First, the acting is average to bad, Lathaan was adequate with Henrikson anchoring the cast. Second, the laws of the Aliens are violated throughout the movie. If you are an Alien purist, the gestation period goes from minutes, in the sacrificial chamber, to ages with the head Predator at the end of the movie. Also, people with face-huggers are conscious where the guy reaches for the other guys' gun, a clear deviation from Ridley's original. This is an action movie so I turn off my philosophy for you and just review on one axis: Was it exciting or boring? The movie is like a mystery for the first half hour with the under the ice pyramid, the exploration, then it changes into a pure action movie. I was not bored for one minute of this movie. Also, unlike Requiem, it is lighted well so we are not yelling obscenities at the screen like in that tragic movie. Lathaan is not portrayed as superwoman, she almost buys it several times, is openly scared half to death and saved by the Predator often. Contrast this depiction to Daisy Ridley in the awful new Star Wars. Actually, she is saved more by her intelligence that any feats of physical strength. Again, the Italian guy saves her besides the Predator; she isn't already a master Jedi, expert mechanic, speaks Wookie and knows Jedi Mind Tricks with zero training.

The effects are well done, the movie is a hybrid not only of the Alien / Predator movies but also the Cube movies. The pyramid reconfigures every ten minutes with the inevitable trapped people in small spaces. Henrikson is good here for he is the best actor by a mile; he often holds the bad acting supporting cast up. The movie is always in the dark in the outside shots at the very beginning; once inside the pyramid, there is plenty of creeping about in dark tunnels. The battles between the Predators and the Aliens are well done. The humans actually bollix everything all up causing the Predators to be at a severe disadvantage. Unexpected things happen all throughout the movie, really there are only three characters: Weyland, Alexa and the Italian dude. Everyone else is barely adumbrated but if you have watched Anderson's Resident Evil movies this is not going to surprise you. It never bothered me for this is action not drama; the mystery of the pyramid will hold your interest until the real action begins between the hunters and their deadly prey. The movie was attacked for its bad acting, the blatant violations of the rules of the Aliens' gestation periods and Lathaan as a weak lead.

No, she isn't going to win any acting awards but she was believably human and devoid of the twelve years later 'little red books' of if it is a woman protagonist: she must be invincible and omniscient. If you want to appreciate Anderson's movie more watch the dreadful following movie Requiem which has acting that makes this look like Casablanca. Also, it is shot in the dark but, evidently, they couldn't afford night lenses and you can't see S. I was throwing things at the television, this is shot well even in very dark scenes. The finale again shows the Predator doing the heavy lifting of the battle, with a little lucky geography, things work out well for Alexa. As a pure action movie, its length is perfect. It moves quickly, once the battles begin it rarely stops to catch its breath. Alien was a pure science fiction drama, this is an action movie. There is the expected drop off in the intelligence level of the script but: who cares? It is exciting and entertaining all I ever ask of an action movie. It never gets gross out like Requiem with that disgusting scene of the Alien going down that woman's throat, an alien bursting through a little boy's chest, or other nauseating moments from that piece of crap.

I own this movie for its action, pacing and writing. I always thought Lathaan was unfairly attacked; she acquits herself well in a demanding role. A Good Movie. Q.E.D.

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13 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

I loved it

Author: Nighthawk from New Zealand
6 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Possible spoilers).

Unfortunately, if you are like me you have probably been too young when the original movies such as "Predator" and "Alien" played in the cinemas to appreciate the whole big screen movie experience.

Especially the original 1986 "Aliens", which is in my opinion the best movie of all times with three climaxes that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. "Aliens" also influenced so much of many of modern sci fi military genre. It just goes to show you how little those old-timers at the Oscars committees know. Wouldn't know what the suspense is if it bit them in the a... Also funny when you look at some of those movies, especially "Aliens", and in retrospect you realize how superior they are to most of today formulaic crap they spit out from the production lines.

"Aliens" was directed by the same director as the "The Terminator" and "Titanic" which have his distinctive directing style.

Once, "Aliens" played as a part of the film festival, and it was sold out to the legion s of fans who wanted to see it on big screen as oppose to DVD or Video. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it, and I can't forgive myself for it, but I do make it a ritual to watch it once a year even if on video.

"Predator" itself was a quite a good movie with the governor. In fact two governors if I am correct; Jesse Ventura (Governor of Minnesota) and Arnold Shwarzenneger (Governor of California). (They also did 'Running Man' together).

The whole concept of bringing the two species together is plausible one. I mean hey, they are both alien beings, God knows what's out there in that void.

There were moments which were truly frightening. I was in a cinema with only few people and when a guy who went to toilet sat back down in a row behind me I jumped a little. There were moments which truly made me shiver in fear and suspense. Being stuck with those truly frightening creatures like the Aliens is a part of the ultimate nightmare.

What is noticeable about this film in particular is that both species are the stars of the movie. Both get screen time independently, meaning in previous movies the humans had to be close by or really look at them to be seen. Not here. Creatures almost act themselves. Humans are mostly relegated to targets, which makes the easy meat for picking off by both sides. Which is kind of realistic, they are archaeologist, not marines from the "Aliens".

The whole end of the movie is nicely done to be realistic and plausible (in that context). Seems to me Predator got more screen time. Maybe because of its humanoid side while the aliens were treated like animals appearing here and there to just kill you. Pity, as I am more of the aliens fan than the predator.

One of the greatest tragedies character fact wise, is that the alien creature has acid for blood that burns through hard material. Originally created for that "Nostromo" environment in its very first appearance (Alien, 1979) to make it more frightening and meaner when its only one of them on that ship. Now that fact has to be carried into other movies and it just makes them pain in the a... to kill without burning yourself too. It limits the possible fight scenes.

I hope they make more movies where the aliens could feature as characters. Smart writers can think of the ways, and although there is no Sigourney Weaver here (what a brave woman, what a great character) it still works for true fans.

Anyway, if you accept the movie in that context you'll truly enjoy it. It can't outdo "Aliens", but sure as hell delivers a lot of fun.

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92 out of 179 people found the following review useful:


Author: rudagar666 from United Kingdom
2 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

well mainly that out of the 3 predators, two of them are killed easily, i mean watching them fight that one alien was like watching a 2 old child fight a lion. however the one "main" predator who is the biggest wuss ever to come from the predator home world because he has a soft spot for humans, well human, kills dozens with relative ease also, in aliens the acid burns through a lot of METAL floors, however this woman's face has developed the ability to with stand this potent acid? i therefore deduce that the woman is in fact a terminator, sent back in time for a completely irrelevant least my explanation makes more sense then the movie!

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176 out of 347 people found the following review useful:

Try filming a decent movie to go with the marketing...

Author: sixtwentysix from Denver, CO
17 August 2004

This movie is the perfect epitome of Hollywood taking something beloved, running it straight to hell (Predator 2, Alien 4) and then taking it even one step further by completely disjointing the stories and continuity, *ahem* alienating the fans and basically wasting everyone's time while marring the original (Caddyshack 2 anyone??) all in the name of the mighty dollar bill. Seeing this movie only eggs them on people! This is a movie that you immediately wish you could UNWATCH and erase from your memory banks.

I would be highly surprised if more time went into the script of this film than the actual marketing. I'm not even going to complain about the PG-13 rating because it is what it is.... just a bad movie.

Horrible acting. Pointless plodding sub-plots. Decent action sequences and a precious few cool moments in what should have been a fan-boy's wet dream. The lead in this movie is a demographic friendly woman with barely enough acting ability to make a shampoo ad believable. Any mildly entertaining characters were immediately destroyed in the first twenty minutes of the film with zero payout. Even the marquee monsters end up looking bored as the audience is lead along in a by numbers popcorn sales ploy.

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