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Alien vs Predator (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc One: Commentary by Paul WS Anderson, Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Latham. Commentary by Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff & John Bruno (special effects team). Inside Look Feature: Hide and Seek. Inside Look Feature: Elektra. Inside Look Feature: Robots.
Disc Two: Conception featurette. Visual effects featurette. Alien vs Predator: The Comic Book. Monsters in Miniature. HBO Special The Making of Alien vs Predator. ADI (Special Effects) Workshop. Miniature Whaling Station. Facehuggers and Eggs. Trouble at the Mouth of the Tunnel. Deleted scenes with optional commentary. Storyboard gallery. Concept art. Tom the Alien Actor. The Biggest Match-Up of All Time Clips.

FANS of the classic sci-fi franchises, Alien and Predator, are in for a nasty surprise if they venture into this merger of the two, which removes all the chills and ingenuity of those great movies.

As directed by Paul WS Anderson, Alien vs Predator is a visually striking yet completely shallow affair, that places computer game shoot-em-up scenarios above any sustained tension.

As such, it's an empty, pointless affair that does little to enhance Anderson's reputation as a director of pointless movies, given the equally lacklustre likes of Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat.

Set in the present day, the movie finds a team of expert scientists travelling to the Antarctic to investigate some curious heat radiations from beneath the surface.

Financed by Lance Henriksen's powerful billionaire, Charles Bishop Weyland, and led by Sanaa Lathan's no-nonsense environmentalist, Alexa Woods, the team ventures 2,000 feet below the ice layer into a mechanized, Aztec-style pyramid, which contains a series of chambers and mazes.

What they don't realise, however, is that they have been lured there as bait and thrust into the middle of a war between the predators and aliens, the latter of which have been forced to lay eggs to provide training programmes for young predator warriors.

Hence, no sooner has the team - including Ewan Bremner's chemical engineer and Raoul Bova's Italian archaeologist - arrived, then all hell breaks loose, and the humans find themselves easy prey for their extra-terrestrial tormentors.

The poster for the film boasts the tagline, 'whoever wins, we lose', and it's impossible not to agree with the sentiment while watching.

For, despite a promising opening spell, which actually takes time to introduce the characters, the film then proceeds to dispense with most of them in a matter of seconds, rendering the whole set-up pointless.

Thereafter, it's just a matter of time before the Alien Queen and the chief predator go head-to-head for the movie's overblown finale, which then adds insult to injury by attempting to set things up for another film in the series.

In terms of actually scaring audiences, however, or providing them with anything to think about, the film falls consistently short.

There are some nice nods to past films in both franchises, such as some of the cool predator toys used to dispense with the aliens, and a nice gag involving Henriksen's Bishop character and the knife between the fingers sequence from Aliens, but they are few and far between, serving only to show just how far Anderson has strayed from the source material.

In terms of special effects, the film does impress, with several of the skirmishes between the super-monsters worthy of praise, even if they eventually become repetitive amid Anderson's continuing need to blow stuff up.

But the film eventually takes such an absurd direction that even the most die-hard Alien or Predator fan might find themselves struggling to stifle the groans.

Given the computer game format of the second half of the movie, it seems pertinent to remind viewers of one of the better lines from Aliens, in which Bill Paxton's space commando is seen to shout 'game over, man, game over!' as the hopelesness of his predicament becomes clear.

Viewers of Alien vs Predator will probably echo the same sentiment - only they won't b able to switch off this particular console.

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