|Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremmer
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Category: Sci-Fi / Action
In 1990, a group of prankster set designers in charge of “Predator 2” placed an alien skull in the headhunter’s trophy case as a harmless joke. Fifteen years later, that harmless joke has spawned a comic book, a successful video game series and one bad movie. If there wasn’t enough evidence from last year’s monster showdown (“Freddy vs. Jason”) that the movie industry has taken a horrible turn for the worst, look no further than “Alien vs. Predator." The new film not only insults its loyal fan base by attempting to resurrect two of the greatest monster franchises with a loose and silly story, but it spoils the horrific suspense and graphic violence the originals were best known for.
After discovering the whereabouts of an ancient pyramid 2,000 feet underground in Antarctica, Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen of the “Aliens” series) forms a team of experts to uncover the secrets buried beneath the ice-covered archeological wet dream. Picking their way through the multi-cultural ruins like a group of hedonistic gravediggers that would make Indiana Jones proud, they eventually realize that they’ve been tossed into a millennium-long game of cat-and-mouse. Members of the team begin to drop like flies at the hands, mouths and tails of the two deadly monsters (and why shouldn’t they with director Paul W.S. Anderson’s total disregard for character development?) until only a few humans remain to watch the main event ringside.
The team of experts is made up of an excellent group of supporting actors, most notably Sanaa Lathan and Ewen Bremner, but no one is given the chance to outdo their sleek opponents. Unlike franchise heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sigourney Weaver, Bremner’s talent is completely wasted in a frustratingly small role and Lathan’s Ripley-esque character never exhibits the same raw emotion that drove the original heroine through four movies of sweat and slime. The film’s action sequences are the only saving dynamic, but audiences are forced to sit through 45 minutes of jargon-filled boredom before the two creatures even face off.
Starring a cast of unknowns you’ll swear you’ve seen before, “Alien vs. Predator” is nothing more than a slightly entertaining action flick that will surely have some in the crowd cheering on their favorite creature. Beyond that, though, this hybrid will disappoint avid fans with its campy, supplemental mythology and too-little-too-late face-off between the two Hollywood killing machines.