Film Reviews:

AvP: Alien Vs. Predator

(Paul W. Anderson, US, 2004)

[Predator faces Alien]Okay, if somewhat imagination-limited, convergence point for two of 20th Century Fox's SF franchises. Shot with an adult audience in mind, English director Paul Anderson was, allegedly, told by studio Fox just thirteen days before its release date that the film would not be an R or NC-17 but a PG-13! A solid reminder, as if Anderson ever needed one, of where the power lies when you are a director for hire on a studio franchise picture. This sudden change of direction is noticeable throughout in the theatrical version. Of course, the subsequent DVD release offered the original 'directors cut' after the theatrical version was released.

The warped machinations of the inner studio system aside, what of the film itself? Well, to date I've only seen the theatrical version so can only comment on that. One hurdle that had to be overcome when pitting two great screen monsters head to head was addressing the obvious lack of human interest. So what the writers have done here is simply put overly inquisitive exploration team in the middle of a Predator hunting ground where the quarry are pumped out by a captive Alien queen. All this inside a vast pyramid buried beneath the polar ice cap.

Lance Henrickson is the only returning actor from either previous franchise outings, but he does not reprise his Bishop character. Instead, he is the catalyst for this film's exploration being one of those staggeringly wealthy if hermit-like, technology-obsessed, but heath-challenged billionaires. It was good to see more of the Predator mythology being developed even if it didn't offer any surprises. The kills, in the edited theatrical version, are clearly truncated, with abrupt cuts and only the occasional blood-splattered ground intercut hinting at what was left on the Fox editing suite floor. Whilst this ultimately does nothing to improve, nor little to develop or otherwise enhance either franchise, Alien Vs. Predator, on the other hand, honestly doesn't do anything to embarrass or kill them off either. 6/10

Rob Dyer (January 2005)

See also:

Alien Ressurection
Batman: Dead End
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
Freddy vs Jason
Godzilla vs King Kong
King Kong vs Godzilla
Predator 2

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