Here's a movie that does exactly what it says on the tin, with two iconic sci-fi monsters going toe to claw in the snowy wastelands of the Antarctic. "Whoever wins... we lose," threatens the tagline as a group of research scientists led by Charles Weyland Bishop (Lance Henriksen) find themselves trapped in the middle of an Alien Vs. Predator tag team death match. A dumbed-down franchise crossover, it answers every sci-fi fan's ultimate 'what if?', with enough enthusiasm to make up for its lack of finesse.
Ever since an Alien skull appeared in the trophy case of one of the dreadlocked intergalactic hunters of Predator 2, fans have been wondering what would happen if two of cinema's deadliest ETs met. Spawning a brilliant Dark Horse comicbook series it was a potent movie blueprint. Who would win? Could it be done? Would it simply be Freddy Vs. Jason for sci-fi fans?
"A WHAM-BAM-THANK-YOU-M'AM THRILL RIDE"
Kicking off with Predators arriving on Earth for a ritual hunt of Aliens in a labyrinthine pyramid buried deep beneath the Antarctic, writer-director Paul WS Anderson (Resident Evil) delivers the second-hand goods. You know the drill already: acid-for-blood Aliens, hunter-killer Predators, face huggers, infra-red Predator vision, dark corridors, and flickering flashlights (epileptics beware).
With a plot that's nothing more than window dressing for a pay-per-view death match, and one-dimensional characters lined up as expendable bug food (no Hicks, Hudson, or Vasquez here), this is about as weighty as a small box of popcorn. Purists will be appalled. Gone is the comicbook's futuristic, planet-sized scope. Gone also is the dark subtext of Aliens' play with motherhood and birthing.
In its place is an amped up, get-in-get-out wham-bam-thank-you-m'am thrill ride that panders to our cheapest thrills. Ever wondered what would happen if a Predator and an Alien fought a wrestling match together? Or what an Alien's brain looks like? Watch, learn, and place your bets on which ET will phone home first. What's not to love?