I’ve always been a contrary pain in the ass. Despite massively overwhelming odds that Alien vs. Predator would go down faster than Kristen Stewart on the set of Snow White, I went into this film expecting good things. It looked like a straightforward monster vs. monster SciFi romp and AVP ended up delivering a fairly decent franchise blend.
Alien vs. Predator follows billionaire Charles Weyland and his team of archeological experts as they traverse the desolate Antarctic in search of ancient undiscovered ruins brought to their attention via a mysterious heat signal. They’re lead to a pyramid deep below the surface of an abandoned whaling station. Once there, the team finds hieroglyphs that describe the pyramid as a hunting/proving ground for Predators (vicious alien warriors) who battle and kill Aliens (replicating serpent-like creatures) as a rite of passage. The team is caught in the middle of this extraterrestrial smackdown and must fight to keep the alien scourge contained.
Alien vs. Predator was made in 2004 and, like fake boobs, it’s really held up over time. The film’s got good special effects and the sets/backdrops used were absolutely stellar in establishing and maintaining the dark tone within the movie. AVP’s musical score was particularly effective in that regard. The characters were engaging enough that I actually cared when they died and, without spoiling the plot, I’ll say that necessity makes for interesting allies. Bringing together two different franchises into one universe can be a tricky bitch to pull off, but AVP manages to do so with relative style and flair. I’ve watched movies made this year that weren’t nearly as good. While it might never be included in the pantheon of great films, Alien vs. Predator is still a solid effort.
Clichés, plot holes, and continuity errors… Oh my! Alien vs. Predator is guilty of the “Trite Trifecta”. A few errors I caught took me far enough out of the viewing experience that they merit a beer. The writing/dialogue was passable, excepting the occasional clunker tossed around, ex. “The enemy of my enemy… is my friend.” Now picture this said with a dead-straight poker face and fight back your eye-roll long enough to read on. The major plot point that left me more confused than Lindsay Lohan’s sexual orientation stemmed from this: “Thousands of years ago, these hunters found a backwater planet. They taught humans how to build, and were worshiped as gods. Every hundred years, the gods would return. And when they did, they would expect a sacrifice. Humans were used to breed the ultimate prey.” Right, right, I’m with you; go on… “The hunters would battle with these great serpents to prove themselves worthy to carry the mark. But if the hunters lost, they made sure nothing survived. An entire civilization wiped out overnight.” The fuck, you say? If an entire civilization got wiped out, who the hell was leaving your ass runic post-it notes? And finally, if you slice and dice some alien tail: Have it spew acid blood before, DURING, and after you throw it across the room. One or two of these I can forgive sans additional booze, but all together they’re beer-worthy.
Predictability is the final thorn in AVP’s side. If I can make a grocery list in my head, plan laundry day, and twiddle my thumbs before guessing the ending… It might be time to put a little more effort into your shit. Similar principle as sex; the same parts go in the same places every time, but unless you throw in a Kama Sutra Bridge or Lustful Leg every so often, you won’t even see the door slam on my way out of the relationship/movie.
Alien vs. Predator is a great example of what I like to call “One Night Stand” movies. They look like a good idea in the right light, deliver on some decent action, and if you’re not entirely hammered then you (most likely) had fun. They’re not necessarily something you want to re-visit or introduce mom and dad to… But they’ll pass the time in a way you probably won’t hate yourself for later. Go on. Give it a whirl.
Take a Drink: anytime someone gets gangster-shanked by a Predator.
Take a Drink: anytime the film switches to Predator vision.
Do a Shot: if at any point you think “The Predators kind of look like Milli Vanilli”…
Take a Drink: anytime the green slime gets fondled.
Shotgun a Beer: if you get the shit scared out of you by a penguin.