a critiQal film review AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Plot: After a satellite uncovers a heat signature under the ice in Antarctica, rich mogul Weyland (Henriksen) gathers a team of experts to investigate. Leading the team is Alexa Woods (Lathan), an arctic guide and environmentalist. Tunneling deep below the ice, the team uncovers an ancient pyramid. But, as they explore, they have stumbled upon an ancient game played by two species not of this world.

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  • ...an old Alien friend along for the ride and a plot that stays true to the films that preceded it - not to mention Sanaa Lathan - make this a battle royal worth waiting for.

After Freddy vs. Jason (2003) finally made it to the big screen, there was only one ultimate battle between movie characters that fans wanted to see: Alien vs. Predator. After a comic book series and a couple of video games, that wait is finally over, and AVP has arrived.

While Freddy vs. Jason (2003) seemed to do okay with those two legendary icons, it was up in the air if AVP would be able to converge these two massively popular storylines – and still manage to keep the loyal fan base happy. Having missed it’s decent run in theaters, I couldn’t wait until it hit DVD – and apparently, I wasn’t the only one, as the copies Blockbuster® had have been missing …until today. So, would Alien vs. Predator be worth the wait – or had fans gotten their hopes too high?

The cannon fodder of Alien vs. Predator, so to speak, did decent jobs in their roles. True, they don’t really give amazing performances, but then again, they aren’t supposed to. As with most horror films, the actors take second billing to the “bad guys” of the film. Thanks to special effects, Predator and Alien alike both took the spotlight easily in each scene they were in. The scenes without them are the only scenes the other actors really need to shine in – and they did a decent enough job of it, mainly due to good casting decisions.

Sanaa Lathan (Out of Time (2003)) did a decent job of playing the heroine of the piece, and was able to get the audience to care if she made it through Alien vs. Predator or not.

A special nod to Aliens (1986) fans came in the way of casting Lance Henriksen as Charles Bishop Weyland (remember Bishop?). It was great to see that continuity coming through in Alien vs. Predator, and really helped showcase a solid understanding of the films that preceded it.

Another treat (for me at least) was seeing the great Captain from Resident Evil (2002) back in another horror flick – Colin Salmon. He didn’t shine as brightly as he did in that film, but did a decent job in the scenes he had.

The plot was deftly able to tie the Aliens and Predators together in a way that made at least a little sense. Even the date fit together, mixing the previous encounters mankind had with Predators with the future encounters they were going to have with Aliens. It was a bit odd that Alien vs. Predator didn’t mention having ever heard of the previous Predator encounters, but no movie is perfect. Henriksen playing Weyland also can lead one to imagine why future Bishops were created in his image – after all, he did put together the exploration mission that uncovered the Aliens for the first time in recent history. It was definitely a well-thought out, well-planned movie, and really seemed to truly cater to the fans of both film series.

The special effects were incredibly well done. The original designs for the Aliens by H. R. Giger have stood the test of time incredibly well, and the effects wizards on this film keep them similar to the previous visions of them. The Predator also stays almost exactly the same, with just a few little additions to his weaponry – including an incredible little knifed boomerang. Every scene with either an Alien or Predator is as intense as any of the previous films – remarkable in a combo movie like Alien vs. Predator.

With incredible special effects, the Predators and Aliens you remember with a new whiz bang or two (including the great knifed boomerang), an old Alien friend along for the ride and a plot that stays true to the films that preceded it – not to mention some very good casting choices, Alien vs. Predator is well worth the wait. I’ve already added this film to my wish list to own, and will be picking it up first chance I get. It’s action-packed, suspenseful, and full of the fights fans have been waiting years to see.

If you’re a fan of either movie series, then Alien vs. Predator should be a not-miss on your list.

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