For most of the 1990s, there were persistant rumors that two of the coolest
movie alien species, the Predators and the Aliens, would eventually meet
in a movie that would have them face-off in a battle to the death. A comic
book series was released. In 1992's Predator 2, a hint was dropped in
the form of an Alien skull seen as a trophy. In 1994, a videogame called
Alien vs. Predator was released for the Atari Jaguar game system. Subsequent
games were released for different systems and the PC throughout the 1990s
and into the 2000s. A movie never appeared until the summer of 2004.
vs. Predator (2004)
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, and
For all of the anticipation and build-up, one has a right to expect a
lot out of Alien vs. Predator. Unfortunately, with anticipation there
is usually disappointment. And that's the best way to describe Alien
vs. Predator: disappointing. It might not be strong enough, but it's certainly
a fitting description. The main problem comes from the fact that the movie
ignores any of the storylines put forth by the videogame and comic versions
and creates a new story that complete ignores any of the timelines or
backstory of the original Predator or Alien movies.
In this story, a satellite discovers a heat bloom beneath the Antarctic
tundra in the shape of an ancient pyramid. An expedition is assembled
by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), co-founder of
the Weyland Yutani Corporation, to find and explore the pyramid. The expedition
finds the pyramid, but also finds itself in the middle of an ages-long
battle between the Aliens and the more sophisticated Predators.
The plot is extremely simple and the action isn't very exciting. The
production has a rushed feel to it and the battles between the Aliens
and the Predators are underwhelming, to say the least. Both the Aliens
and the Predators -- neither of which are referred to as such in the film
-- both come off as low-budget copies of the original versions of each
species. If it weren't for the presence of Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Lathan,
the only known actors in the otherwise faceless cast, I'd have made a
bet that this was a fan-made film rather than a Hollywood production.
Then again, a fan film would actually have preserved some of the main
backstories from each series and given more than a few seconds consideration
to logic that is totally ignored in this movie.
For example, the Aliens in the original four Alien movies took days to
evolve from the egg-laying facehugger to the full-grown hulking xenomorph.
In Alien vs Predator, the entire process apparently takes about 10 minutes.
The pyramid's existence is explained in a flashback with narration provided
by Sebastian (Raoul Bova), who, in the space of about 30 seconds, translates
and reads it from hieroglyphics the world has never seen before. Sebastian
also decodes a combination lock on a sarcophagus simply by looking at
it. I wouldn't mind completely suspending my disbelief if these and other
plot conveniences paid off with a worthwhile climax. They don't.
vs. Predator is proof that wishing for something long and hard
enough doesn't mean it's worth it.
Morse code picked up by the satellite at the beginning of the film spells
out the words, "Whoever wins, we lose". This is, of course,
the tagline used to promote the film. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)