AVP: Alien vs. Predator
(USA/UK/Czech Republic/Canada/Germany 2004, director: Paul W.S. Anderson)
A group of archaeologists and engineers finds a pyramid buried in the icy regions of Antarctica, only to be soon trapped between its maze-like walls and two warring extraterrestrial species.
Paul W.S. Anderson is probably best known for his Resident Evil movies that are highly entertaining but aren’t really true to their gaming source material. Having read the two Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus books on which this movie is based on shows that except for the premise of the predators hunting the aliens as sport, I can safely say that there isn’t any story or character connection, except of course the Weyland Corporation. But like the Capcom games interpretation, it doesn’t really matter, because everything that made the original Alien and Predator movies so great is left intact to a certain degree.
While the terrifying claustrophobia of the first Alien movie isn’t here, the atmosphere of being imprisoned in a temple maze is still quite tangible, while the outside desolated snow landscape makes for something a little different from both franchises, especially the Predator movies that were always about jungles and heat. The creature design is very convincing in both cases, which means that predators have their futuristic weaponry and the aliens their acid-spewing and clawing defense mechanisms, making the encounters between the two species as violent and cool as expected. The action is over-the-top as in the comic books and it doesn’t take very long to kick in. The story itself is engaging enough to set the stage for the two adversaries to fight, with the only problem being the characters. Despite some quieter moments, the dialogues don’t make them very memorable. They’re not annoying, but one doesn’t really feel anything when they’re killed one by one. The real stars are still the title-given creatures, and with high production values with a cool mix of the original soundtracks, this is a movie that is much better than many make it out to be, because to be honest, the original comic series wasn’t high sci-fi art itself, either.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
(USA 2007, directors: Colin Strause/Greg Strause as The Brothers Strause)
A predator spaceship crash-lands near a small Colorado town, with aliens soon overrunning it and only a handful of people trying to survive the onslaught, a situation made even worse with another predator hunting it down and destroying/killing whatever lies in its path.
Having teenagers involved in an Alien or Predator movie sounds like an obvious bad choice, as there are usually scientists or military personnel that fight these things. However, the latter show up in the second half of the movie, and even if the introduction of the bullied guy, his school sweetheart, and the bullies are just an excuse to fill in the minutes before the action starts, it’s not as bad as it sounds. To be honest, there are more boring and annoying characters in most slasher movies. Sure, it’s again an attempt at making the audience relate to these people, but they’re as forgettable as in the first movie, only serving to be killed in interesting ways by both extraterrestrial sides.
Waiting for the chaos to unfold is worth it, because what starts out to be a rather uninteresting look at small town life ends in a very entertaining series of gory scenes, involving decapitations, exploding heads, and all sorts of dismemberment. It’s all gratuitous violence of course, with a very uncomfortable alien impregnation scene, but the fast pacing makes up for the lack of a good story or character development. Far from original, this is still a fun sci-fi splatter action movie that shows how over-the-top comic crossover adaptations are done. Unfortunately, the ending that hints at a continuation of the story is a sad reminder that this never happened.
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