DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (director/writer: Paul W.S. Anderson; screenwriter: Shane Salerno; cinematographer: Jonathan Brown; editor: Alex Berner; music: Marco Beltrami; cast: Sanna Lathan (Alexa Woods), Raoul Bova (Sebastian de Rosa), Ewen Bremner (Graeme Miller), Colin Salmon (Maxwell Stafford), Lance Henriksen (Charles Weyland), Tommy Flanagan (Mark Verheiden), Agathe De La Boulaye (Adele Rousseau), Adrian Bouchet (Sven), Carsten Norgaard (Rusten Quinn), Joseph Rye (Joe Connors), Sam Troughton (Thomas Parks), Ian White (Lead Predator), Tom Woodruff Jr (Alien, Grid); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Gordon Carroll/John Davis/David Giler/Walter Hill; 20th Century Fox; 2004)

 
"Unwatchable!"

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Unwatchable! Paul W.S. Anderson ("Mortal Combat"/"Soldier") directs this dreary sci-fi action film. It manages no feelings for character or for how absurd the plot line played out. I had trouble trying to stay alert and often looked at my watch hoping it would end soon. Twentieth Century Fox uses the telling tagline "No matter who wins, we lose." They couldn't have been more right. I had no dog in this race, and couldn't care less what happened. AVP cynically hopes to cash in by having villainous monsters from two has-been film franchises do battle for supremacy on Earth. If anyone cares, this derivative film was shot in Prague. 

The film is set in the present. Billionaire robotics industrialist Charles Weyland (Lance Henriksen) is dying but before he kicks the bucket he wants to do something he'll always be remembered for. He gets this chance when he hears through the grapevine of an ancient pyramid buried in a barren part of Antarctica. Weyland spares no expenses and goes around the world to collect an all-star team of mountain climbers, drillers, scientists, and archaeologists to be the first to set foot in an empire from a lost civilization predating mankind.

The team is lead in the frozen tundra by ace mountain climber Alexa Woods (Sanna Lathan), who has about as much charm as a harried elementary teacher giving the business to one of her antsy students. Some other team members to take a hike down below the ice are the Italian archaeologist Sebastian (Raoul Bova), muscleman Max Stafford (Colin Salmon), drill team leader Quinn (Carsten Norgaard) and, a benign family man who manages to become more obnoxious than the snot-filled monsters in his few moments on camera, the Scottish chemical scientist Graeme Miller (Ewen Bremner). The team not only discover ancient sarcophagus-es and hieroglyphics, but the pyramid's real purpose as a hunting ground for the Predators to attack the slimy Aliens in some sort of ridiculous ritual only addled filmmakers can think up. The poor humans are trapped in the pyramid as the doors shut like Attica during a prison riot. Left to fend for themselves among the severed human skeletons and fossilized remains of the alien creatures that have burst out of their chests, the humans find themselves in deep shit. The film's highlight is a big battle between the Aliens and Predators, with the humans trying their best to escape. Many die, but everyone is so thinly sketched that the dead are not even missed.

For the moviegoer, there was no escape from this humorless and uninspired space invasion B-film. 

REVIEWED ON 8/13/2004        GRADE: D

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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