Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jan 1 2005
In the near future (October!) a satellite owned by none other than Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) discovers an underground heat pocket on a small iceberg off the coast of Antarctica which they happen to discover is a giant underground pyramid. Gathering a team of the crappiest acto...er...brightest scientists in the world, they head on to the underground pyramid to stake their claim on it and hopefully learn some incredible things in the process. Little do they know that an "Alien Queen" inside has been cryogenically thawed out to lay some eggs just in time for a group of three Predators to stop by and earn their stripes by killing the scariest of all space creatures.
I really, really wanted to like this movie. I went in with relatively high expectations, after all, its the Alien and the Predator, how can the guy who directed "Mortal Kombat" and "Soldier" possibly screw this up? I guess you can tell that I am not a big fan of Paul W.S. Anderson. Of the films he has made, only "Event Horizon" has been enjoyable to me. In fact, when I heard he was directing this, I just about broke down and weeped like a man who has just seen his copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 burnt in front of his eyes by his arch-nemesis. It didn't help that I thought he completely butchered "Resident Evil". I am a huge fan of the games and after that debacle, I figured this film had zero chance to be good, let alone great.
As I suspected, this movie was pretty much crap. The acting is horrendous. Not quite as bad as "Freddy vs. Jason", but still in the gutter. It doesn't help that it seems like there are about 20,000 human characters in the film. You'll find out quickly that there has to be that many. If you know anything about the Alien, then you know it needs host bodies to make the scary drones, and the movie wouldn't be very fun with only a couple Aliens running around fighting three Predators. Unfortunately that leaves ZERO character development. Other than a few throwaway "So what brings you here?" moments at the beginning, you learn very little about any of the characters. The human characters are what made the Alien and Predator movies great to begin with, but its all thrown out in this film.
Crappy characters wouldn't be that big of a deal if the action was good. Afterall, we all want to see this movie for the throwdowns between the Aliens and the Predators. I'll have to say, some of the action scenes were extremely well done. There are a couple "Matrix" shots of facehuggers flying through the air that are cool, and the makeup and puppetry of the Predator and Alien are excellent. The Predators come with all of their old toys, with some expanded features and the Aliens still slink around in the shadows dripping with ooze. The camouflage effect on the Predator also looks really really cool in the film and generally, the CGI Aliens look realistic as well.
The action scenes are few and far between though. In fact, it takes almost an hour for the first "fight" and even then it is sort of underwhelming after you see it. Sure, it's filmed cool, but when you get past the fact that its the two coolest sci-fi monsters, it just doesn't offer much. The whole film is that way. It seems like it wants to build up to something great, but then disappoints. This movie would have been much better suited on a different planet far in the future other than inside a pyramid in the Antarctic (aren't Predators supposed to like heat?!) that changes its shape like in "Cube".
The whole story is pretty ridiculous and its filled with so many holes that you'll wish you could just fall into one yourself and come out when the movie is over. Fore example, you'll find out how the human civilization came about, but you won't learn who built the pyramid in Antarctica. At one point, Earth's population is wiped out, yet heiroglyphics in the pyramid tell the tale. It takes the scientists about 20 seconds to decipher every inscription and what they mean. There are more complaints, but you get the picture. Its like the tried to make a really interesting story, but didn't stop to realize that it was complete crap before they started rolling film.
My last complaint is that there is very little gore. This flick is rated PG-13 and other than a couple blood splashes across the snow, you'll get nothing if you are a gore fiend. Not even a good chest bursting scene! Nearly every kill is done "off-screen" or cuts away within a second. There better be a freakin R rated special edition when this hits dvd or I'll be very upset.
Overall this film is crap. The story, script, and acting is atrocious and the lack of gore made me want to go watch the originals again to get my fix. This film is all about the Aliens fighting the Predators. The fight scenes are pretty good and the special fx and makeup are excellent. The end battle is okay but left me wanting a little more and the big "shock" before the end credits, I saw coming from a mile away. Don't just rely on my opinion though, see it for yourself. I am biased and a little pissed but that's just my "Director's Eyes" talking. If you don't expect to much, then you'll enjoy the film. If you are a real diehard fan of both series like I am, then you will be highly disappointed.
It was cool to see the Predator on screen again!