“And they use us like cattle. We’re hosts for them to breed. The heat bloom was designed to lure us down here. This whole thing was a trap. Without us, there could be no hunt.” – Sebastian de Rosa, Alien vs. Predator (2004).
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been more offended by how bad a film is. To be fair on the same day I did watch A Car’s Life: Big Sparky’s Adventure (2006) and that was less boring than this mess. Quite seriously this may be one of the worst films I have ever watched. It just highlights everything wrong with crossover films.
Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) funds an expedition to Antarctica in the hopes of researching a mysterious sort of heat signal. A team is assembled, led by Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan), who venture down into the caves below Antarctica. Within the caves they find parasitic aliens, being harvested ready for the Predators to arrive. Yes, the film is as stupid as it sounds. It’s about a war between the aliens and predators. Hence the name, Alien vs. Predator. God I hate this film.
From the get go I already had some pretty negative feelings in regard to this film. There was just something about it that made me very wary. Crossing over two very successful franchises is always something that needs to be handled with care. Getting Paul W. S. Anderson to direct was not a way of handling this film with care. You know who this guy is, the one that did Resident Evil (2002) and made a shit show of it. He brings his trademark tropes to the series and it now feels like a budget horror film rather than a well written spectacle.
Within the opening ten minutes of this film I had already witnessed some of the worst possible acting and writing I will ever view. It’s genuinely atrocious throughout. Even Lance Henriksen, an actor I know can act well, is pretty damn bad as Weyland. He’s clearly not as bad as everyone else though, if anything he’s a diamond in the rough. As far as the rest of the cast though, they’re pretty cliche to say the least. You’ve got the obvious sexual tension between the lead and someone who gets killed off at the end. A badass character and a comedy character team up also. What I thought was quite strange was that they begin to develop one of the characters and then kill them off in the very next scene.
But that’s what Alien vs. Predator heavily relies on, the introduction and killing of characters. You can’t even call them characters at this rate, they’re more cannon fodder than anything. Seriously, name one character in this film that isn’t Weyland. There’s a reason everyone is killed off in this film and it’s because I highly doubt they would want a sequel out of this. What do you mean Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) happened? No, no it didn’t.
I will admit though I do appreciate the use of practical props over CGI. I’ll always appreciate that though. Although they’re really not as impressive in this film they do serve some degree of purpose. There is obviously a great deal of CGI in this film though, especially for the Predators and their ship. Now I’ll be the first to admit that it looks genuinely terrible, because it really does. I don’t think you can improve on that though, right? By today’s standards it does look amazingly dated and terrible.
One or two of the choices in this film do puzzle me quite a bit. I think the writing team must have watched Alien (1979) and thought they’d do another female lead. The problem there is that Sigourney Weaver could actually, you know, act. Our new lead, Sanaa Lathan is quite damn terrible. The script really doesn’t build her up as this cool headed character, much like Ripley was in the original films. I’m pretty sure the dialogue is the worst for this lead character. Quite clearly there was a problem with the writing in this film.
Speaking of writing, the plot is one of the most backwards and nonsensical bits of this film I have ever seen. The Predators arrive on Earth for reasons you don’t need to know. Then they have those Alien vs. Predator moments that were built up in the trailers. You know the bit where they’re face to face in that extremely tense close up? Yeah, cool, right? Not really to be honest, it’s on the cover of the DVD box so I mean, I’ve already seen it. Not to mention they try and do this twice in the runtime of the film. Both are in the space of half an hour and both of them add literally nothing to the film.
As usual I did have the choice of watching the original version or the extended version. I’ve never been happier to pick a regular version than with Alien vs. Predator. Clocking in at only an hour and a half, the film definitely needed room to grow. It wasn’t given that, but it’s got no fault other than its own. Even with an extended cut I don’t think this film could even begin to improve in any way at all.
The tropes of Anderson’s direction can be seen clearly. Basically, the problems I had with Resident Evil are transferred into this film. What doesn’t help proceedings is that this film should have been amazing. To be fair I have literally no idea how they were going to blend the action of Predator (1987) with the tension of Alien. It just isn’t a mix that should work. A fantasy that should have remained as one because when you get the real thing you realise it’s truly terrible.
With a cast that is completely lacking and talentless, Alien vs. Predator is a misfire from the very beginning. Although it vaguely hits the nail on the head in regard to props, there is nothing about this film that can warrant watching it at all. It just goes to show, when the best scene in your film is a close up shot of a penguin, you really shouldn’t be making films at all. A film that relies on the memory of the fans of both Aliens (1986) and Predator while at the same time adding nothing new or memorable to the series.