A Film Review By The Mike
|Rating: PG-13 for Alien Violence
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, lots of aliens
Directed By: Paul WS Anderson
It’s been a while since Hollywood’s given us such a disappointingly inept action film, which makes Alien vs. Predator even harder than it should. Based off a video game that had origins in the two best alien terrors created in the 70’s and 80’s, the film suffers from far too many drawbacks to make it even somewhat entertaining.
The plot, as one could expect from a “versus” film like this, is ludicrous. This is brought out even further in the final half of the film, when the human characters suddenly get uber-smart and begin understanding the exact details the script doesn’t know how to introduce. But, to a fan of the concept, it shouldn’t be a hindrance. The same kind of story ruled last year’s Freddy vs. Jason, which was met by fans with a high approval rating.
What Alien vs. Predator lacks, and Freddy vs. Jason had, is quality in its battles. Paul W. Anderson, who’s made a career of directing ADHD inspired action scenes, handles any interaction between the titular monsters with an air of ineptitude that is often laughable (especially at the moments when slow-mo/”bullet-time” effects are randomly used). There are also far too many moments that lack sufficient lighting, probably due to the fact the creature CGI was still being worked on into the week prior to the film’s release. There are occasional moments of coolness, and even a couple of great scenes. But, as a whole, these battle scenes are quite pedestrian, and border on awful.
The only thing about Alien vs. Predator I can even recommend is the sound effects, which are really quite excellent. All of the trademark noises from the Alien and Predator films are there, and mixed marvelously. The lulls before the battles are probably the best moments in the film.
Outside of these sounds, however, there’s next to nothing of value in the film. It’s a shame that two creatures that have provided 6 great to entertaining movies between them are trapped in this premise, and it’s even more of a shame that Anderson got the helm, as it’s clear to see he was in over his head with the project. Alien vs. Predator should have at least been entertaining, even if that’s a low expectation when compared to the previous efforts of Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and John McTiernan. The fact that it doesn’t even manage that cements it in a place as one of the biggest failures of the year.