Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Ewan Bremner, Lance Henriksen
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson, from a story by Paul W.S. Anderson, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, language, horror images, slime and gore
Running Time: 108
Date: 08/12/2004

AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

1 Star (out of 4)

Monster Mash

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I've always been a big fan of the Alien films. Up till now, four interesting directors have taken the series in four interesting directions, using the myth of the alien creatures as a backdrop for the human stories. I never held the same respect or enthusiasm for the Predator films, which I regarded as, at best, a guilty pleasure. Now the two beasties meet up for this cinematic clash, which is based on a Dark Horse comic book series. As written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil), the film resembles a video game, discarding such things as imagination, ideas or characters. Upon discovering an underground ancient pyramid-like structure, a rich industrialist (Lance Henriksen -- with no apparent connection to his Bishop character in the earlier films) recruits a team of explorers to check it out. They accidentally wake up a nest of slumbering aliens and the predators arrive just in time for a fight. Without giving away much, the last remaining human teams up with one side against the other. But this potentially Hawksian theme is ruined by inept horror scenes, staged with exactly the same setup and timing as thousands of other horror films. When the attractive young cast begins dying off, it causes no more reaction than the minutes ticking by. Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova and Ewan Bremner co-star.

DVD Details: Fox's DVD comes with lots of extras, but the lackluster film did not inspire me to check any of them out: a commentary track by Anderson, Henriksen and Lathan, a second track by the special effects crew, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette. I did check out the Dark Horse Alien comic book cover gallery, but was unable to access the DVD-Rom features on my Mac.

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