Alien Vs. Predator Paul W.S. Anderson

Alien Vs. Predator Paul W.S. Anderson
Ahhh, Paul, you almost had me, you son of a bitch, you almost pulled the wool over my eyes, what with your interviews proclaiming your love and devotion to the original Predator and Alien films, promising to do them justice. Then there were the cool featurettes on the internet that showed just enough hot Alien on Predator action to entice those that have seen your other movies and should know better than to trust you (granted, Event Horizon had a moment or two).

Hell, in a nod to appeasing irate fanboys everywhere, you even had Bishop (um, Lance Henrikson) cast in the film (as billionaire Charles Weyland) and afterwards he was singing your praises all over the place, talking about what an awesome movie AVP was going to be. But sadly it's all lies because AVP is not only a disservice to the franchises that have come before — thought Predator 2, Alien 3 or Resurrection were flawed? Just watch this — but a pretty generic and predictable film devoid of the bite both its toothy titular monstrosities are renowned for.

The thin "plot" unfolds like so: after detecting the heat bloom of an ancient pyramid deep under the ice in the middle of Antarctica, the aforementioned Weyland assembles a "crack" team of scientists and mercenaries (i.e., monster chow) to go investigate. Problem is, this unknown temple deep beneath the ice is actually an ancient Predator hunting ground where young Predators go to test themselves against, you got it, Aliens, and the humans have unwittingly awoken a Queen within the temple.

Of course, all hell breaks loose, with the Aliens hunting the humans, the Predators hunting the humans, the Aliens hunting the Predators, the Predators hunting the Aliens and the humans just wanting to go home, but it's a subdued hell at best, what with the PG rating. Maybe one could overlook the underdeveloped characters, the half-assed plot and the lack of interesting dialogue if the movie delivered the chills of its progenitors (I was willing to), but devoid of blood, guts and swearing, AVP lacks the edge of any of the Alien or Predator movies.

It also lacks terror, tension and atmosphere, as Anderson not only eschews the established traits of the creatures he has (the aliens now gestate in minutes instead of days), he generally has no idea how to portray them (the queen is more a rampaging dinosaur than a methodical, calculating killing machine; the aliens lack that air of intelligent malice that made them so terrifying; and the Predators are hulking monstrosities basically incompetent without their plasma casters, not skilled hunters).

Then there are the weird logic/continuity errors (some Predator weapons melt from the Aliens' acid blood, some don't) and the fact that having Aliens on Earth betrays the integrity of the Alien series (as AVP takes place before Alien, chronologically). Anderson even misses the opportunity to be cute with AVP — even though it's flawed having Aliens on Earth, it could have explained why the Weyland/Yutani Corporation in the future knows about the Alien.

The rumour was that James Cameron and Ridley Scott offered to do Alien 5 with Sigourney Weaver if Fox didn't do AVP. Fox did AVP with Anderson instead, and despite the set-up for the sequel at AVP's end, they may have delivered the deathblow to both series. (Fox)