Prior to their unholy union, the Alien and the Predator are responsible for far more than just a great many of the best sci-fi action films of the last few decades. They made Sigourney Weaver an action star. They consolidated Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legend smack dab in the middle of his first hot streak.
They both looked cool as hell; Alien because of the Giger influence, Predator because of the space-rasta with hooker’s choice fishnet stockings.
Neither spoke much. Didn’t need to. Even though the Alien had two mouths. But both achieved more than a million speeches in a million shitty films.
So one day a Hollywood hack had a brainstorm; supercool alien killing machine… meet another supercool killing machine. Surely this would be the easiest money ever made. An instant classic that would forever define the genre.
I mean two legends? Just look how well Escape Plan turned out… that cover of Lady Marmalade with all the chicks dressed up like hos. Those Ocean’s Numbers films…
Woah. Maybe shoulda thought this through. Hope no-one made the film yet… Wait – TWO FILMS?
M-m-m-maybe it won’t be so bad.
They arrive at the remote Antarctic former whaling station en masse. Scientists. Environmental experts. Soldiers. Adventurers. Summoned by Big Business and funded by the bottomless pockets of Weyland Industries, who were alerted to the strange never before seen heat signature that suggests a Significant Thing beneath the ice and snow.
The fact that there shouldn’t be so much heat in Antarctica doesn’t deter them the fact that it seems the whaling station became deserted exactly 100 years ago to the day in mysterious, unexplained circumstance doesn’t alarm them. The fact that neither Weyland Industries nor the newly arrived geniuses can possibly surmise what it might be doesn’t concern them. Well all bar one, survivalist and thrill seeker Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) expresses all of the above, but she’s a team player above all else… Soooooo.
… These unwitting hors douvres *ahem* humans swiftly discover a huge feeding tube *ahem* tunnel down into the bowels of the dining chamber *ahem* underground facility. It appears on face value an incredible discovery. But there is more yet to discover. And be discovered by.
Some arrive from the sky. Others emerge from containment. The snarls, drool and toys are all stolen from more memorable scenes in more beloved films. Ditto the close ups and kill sequences.
Sure it’s all very sincere, but also misguided and dull. When your two warring factions are large vicious, snarling beasties capable of eviscerating foes in a hail of flesh and limbs, the problem will always be how to connect with the predominantly human audience. I mean sure it can be fun watching two creatures seemingly purpose built to inflict damage go toe to toe, but where’s the character development? The drama? The motivation? This stuff might work well in a video game (actually it didn’t really), but in a two hour spin off from two of the more beloved sci-fi action franchises of all time? Not so much.
It doesn’t help when the human element so desperately inserted into proceedings is largely personality free, with so few memorable or admirable features that they simply became white rats running a maze. Snacks for the main event in between battles.
The film almost demands that we take sides. Indeed it seems to place its sympathies firmly alongside one of the factions, but with no Ripley or Arnie – hell I’d even take a Danny Glover! – this is like choosing between broccoli and eggplant. There can be no winners.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. Alien vs Predator strives to be all the epic that such a title implies, instead it becomes a stain on both franchises, the estranged child, the rogue uncle we don’t talk about the ill conceived experiment. The Rocky 5 or Indy 4…
But wait you say! There’s more!?! Well that’s unfortunate.
Alien vs Predator: Requiem
Sure is. I paid actual earned currency on this film when it was released. A fact that still haunts me. My only recollection was the dual headshot split second, something that on second viewing was just as brief and even less impressive than that sounds.
Once again the A’s and P’s descend on Earth to engage in pointless and instantly forgettable combat. (I’d much rather an ‘origins’ prequel in which alien stole predator’s girl, before stepping on his white Air Jordans and driving off through a puddle, splashing Predator in the process. Get to it unimaginative Hollywood script writers.) The hunting ground is now a small US town, full of small US imbeciles, who the film tries to introduce, with the net result being you root for the Aliens and Predators to team up and shreds these new free range humans by the truckload.
This time around they couldn’t even be bothered getting the good bits right. More than half of the alien stuff is cheap CGI, as is the chest bursting effects. I mean if you can’t even bother coming up with a decent chest burster prop then don’t bother with the film.
Then the double head shot thing happened and I thought “wait THAT was it?”. Then my soul left my body and I found brief, fleeting relief. Then the credits rolled.
Final Rating – 5 / 10. I hated the first film. But this was even more impossibly forgettable. A reprehensibly clumsy and unpleasant walk down memory lane.
Final Duology Rating – 5 / 10. I love the Alien franchise. I love the Predator franchise (yes even the third one). That said I love beer and ice cream.
Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be together. In future the Alien and Predator franchises would help us all by clearly labelling their contents with the suggestion ‘Please Serve Separately’.
Never has a tagline “Whoever wins. We both lose.” been more apt.