Let’s have a brief history lesson…
In 1990 we saw an alien skull on the ship in Predator 2, and fans were left to wonder if this was the xenomorph alien seen in Alien and Aliens, and if it is then the Aliens and Predators are in the same universe. So if both of these creatures exist, have they ever confronted one another?? We’ve seen what happens when humans encounter the aliens, humans die…a lot…but what would happen if the xenomorphs faced down the Predators??? Surely that would be something truly epic, two monsters battling each other, the viciousness and lethality of the aliens facing the strength and power of the Predators.
I did not initially know that Predator 2 was not the first time that the two going toe-to-toe had been presented, as a comic book series in 1989 featured precisely this premise. However, it was the first time that such a concept had been presented to film goers who were not necessarily familiar with the comic series. I have not read any of those comics but I have heard that they are pretty good, with story arcs which involve the aliens becoming too widespread and the Predators teaming up with humans to take down a race that neither the humans or Predators can deal with alone…how cool is that idea??
Finally after years of waiting fans of the Alien and Predator franchise like me were eagerly awaiting the anticipated cross-over, now was joining the two a match made in blood soaked horror heaven?? Or a shameless cash-in that tries to breathe life into two franchises that have either run out of steam or simply cannot think of another setting for its main character (the Predator) now that the jungle and city have been done.
The franchise spawned two films:
Alien Vs Predator
Alien Vs Predator: Requiem
Both reviews you will naturally find if you scroll down the page...
In 1990 fans saw an alien skull in the Predator’s ship from Predator 2, in 2004 fans finally got the cross-over that we had been teased with for years. The film was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (who also directed one of my favourite horror films Event Horizon) and starring Sanaa Lathan as Alexa Woods and Lance Henriksen who has starred in some of the best sci-fi films of all time. He has appeared in The Terminator, Aliens, and, like Bill Paxton, seems to be trying to complete the set by starring in this film.
Ever since that alien skull was glimpsed in the trophy cabinet of the Predator’s ship in Predator 2, fans have been awaiting a cross-over between these two titans of horror. The viciousness of the aliens verses the strength and technology of the Predators, surely something like this practically writes itself, so answer me this one very simple question…
How do you FUCK that up?!?
Before I tell you, let's take a look at this mess…
A satellite over the island of Bouvetøya about a thousand miles from Antarctica discovers a heat bloom under the ice that was not there before. The wealthy industrialist and owner of the satellite is Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) who quickly gathers a team of various experts that include paleontologists, archaeologists, linguistic experts, drillers, mercenaries, and a guide named Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate the heat bloom before any other rival companies send their own teams to discover what caused it.
Meanwhile a Predator ship is seen heading for Earth, and three predators begin to suit up as their ship fires a weapon at the surface.
When the team arrives they find that a perfect tunnel has been cut through more than a mile of ice to the source of the heat bloom over night. The drillers are puzzled but the majority of the team head down the tunnel and discover a pyramid which incorporates design features from dozens of different cultures.
On the surface, the drilling team are quickly picked off one by one as the three predators also head down to the structure. As the team enter the pyramid they mistakenly activate it and the process of reawakening a dormant alien queen begins. Several members of the team are trapped in a room with alien eggs becoming victims of facehuggers as the pyramid starts to shift causing rooms to close and passageways to change.
The remaining teams members discover three Predator weapons and take them.
With the vicious aliens on the loose and the three Predators without their guns, the humans are caught in the middle as both species battle for supremacy.
The above sounds promising doesn’t it???
But guess what: once again Hollywood has taken a great idea and FUCKED it up!!!
The Predators are the ultimate hunters and for eons they have been hunting down and eliminating prey. One of their hunts brings them back to Earth, and sees the reawakening of the aliens, creatures that match the strength of the Predators with a cold viciousness, and a hapless band of scientists are caught in the crossfire.
Like I've said several times, ever since an alien head was seen in the trophy cabinet onboard the ship in Predator 2, fans have been waiting for a crossover, and sadly this film really, really misses its mark. When I say misses its mark, I mean misses it by a country mile, the Earth is closer to the edge of the galaxy than this film is to its mark.
Ask yourself: How can this film be so bad?
I’ll tell you…
Right, so first things first, the set up is fine, and the audience waits with baited breath for the moment when the aliens and predators will confront each other.
Of course, the humans are obviously just lambs to the slaughter and are really only there so the facehuggers can impregnate them to create the aliens. Fair enough, so let's get on with the Alien Vs Predator part of Aliens Vs Predator, but this is where the film falls completely flat. The humans are impregnated, and are unconscious for a few minutes. Not long after that the chestbursters erupt from their chests, naturally growing to maturity incredibly rapidly. Honestly the process is so fast that the film might as well have established them as being dormant until the Predators arrived like the Queen was.
So there is no long impregnation process seen in Alien, now other films have established that aliens can incubate for different lengths of time so I can let that slide…because let’s be honest we’re not here to watch humans getting killed, we’re here to watch the aliens fighting the predators
Surely this part has been done well, right? Right????
This film established that without their fancy guns the predators don’t seem to be anymore of a match for the aliens in a one on one fight than the humans are. You could even go so far as to say that the Predators are massive pussies. I re-watched Alien recently and don’t think I gave Parker enough credit in my review of that film, because whilst Lambert is frozen with terror after being confronted by the Alien, Parker races towards the alien and attempts to engage it in hand to hand combat. Naturally he is overwhelmed in seconds but to have the massive brass BALLS to try and fight this thing. Holy shit, there was only one character in cinema history that I had deemed the toughest character in history but now there is a second. Anyway, we’ve seen a Predator go toe to toe with Arnie in Predator and easily beat him to a bloody pulp to the point when Arnie is crawling away through the mud desperately trying to escape the monster that he knows he cannot defeat. Therefore, when the moment comes when a predator and alien come face to face you are expecting something spectacular, but do we get it??
Short answer: NO!!!!!!!!!
Long answer: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
An alien appears as a Predator is attacking a group of the scientists, and immediately impales that Predator through the back, before lifting it up, turning it around before killing it using that thing that comes out of the alien’s mouth. The second predator leaps into the battle and it is in this moment that we glimpse, glimpse the potential the film had. The fight between the pair is fast, and vicious. They tear through the room, smashing one another into walls, the room shudders as their battle rages...a battle that lasts 3 minutes. Yes, THREE FUCKING MINUTES before the Predator is overwhelmed and killed. One alien kills two Predators and doesn’t even die itself during the battle. So...[...sigh and wiping my eyes wearily...]...just to summarise, within five minutes of the aliens and predators meeting two Predators lie dead with only one remaining.
The technological superior race of Predators seem to be completely unprepared for the aliens, which is bizarre considering that the pyramid, and the heat bloom was designed to lure unsuspecting humans to the site so they can be used to create the aliens for the Predators to hunt. The Predators knew what they were going to be hunting. Yet all of the predator’s technology seems to be insufficient to deal with the aliens. The iconic camouflage is useless because the aliens can easily see through it, the first predator is impaled whilst its camouflage is active, so what is the point in using it??? During the brief but vicious battle between the Predator and Alien, the predator slices off part of the alien’s tail, but doing so melts his retractable claw weapon which it looks at and even through his mask seems confused that the weapon has been melted. Moments later the alien flings its acidic blood at the Predator that melts through its armour making it cast it aside, then the Predator fires a net that basically squeezes anyone caught in it to death. We see this being used effectively against a human but the moment it squeezes the alien hard enough to break its skin, the alien’s acidic blood melts the bonds of the net freeing the alien before it can be killed allowing it to pin the predator down and kill it instead.
Eventually the remaining Predator does get his gun back and is able to kick some ass but by then it is really too late for this film to be saved. Without their weapons the Predators just suck, they are completely incapable of dealing with the aliens, and this is not what we had been waiting to see in an Alien Vs Predator cross-over film.
I think the child friendly 12A rating is the film’s downfall. Anderson has shown that he can do gut-wrenching horror in 1997’s Event Horizon which carried an 18 certificate. The first Alien films were rated as an 18 because they were terrifying, Kane’s screams as the alien tears through his chest are bloodcurdling, and being trapped on a space ship with a vicious monster that is relentlessly hunting the crew down would be anyone’s nightmare. The Predator films (the first two anyway) were also rated 18 because they did not shy away from violence, we saw the bodies of humans that had been skinned, the fight between Arnie and the Predator was brutal. Bone crunching punches were rained down upon the former Mr Universe, so how, HOW do you take two franchises that are geared towards an adult and mature audience and decide that the best way to represent them in a cross-over is in a child friendly 12A film???
If you think about it, if a child of 12 watches this film and decides that they want to see the Aliens and Predators in their own films, they cannot legally do that for 6 years.
So what was the POINT of making a film that would appeal to a younger audience when they shouldn’t be familiar with the films that this one was a spin-off from?? I don’t necessarily blame Anderson for this but for someone who can do a really decent horror film why would he allow the studio backing the film to bind his hands and tie him to a film that was going to be given a 12A rating??? More importantly if this was Anderson's doing then what the HELL was he thinking doing this to the Aliens and Predators???
Lance Henriksen establishes the film as part of the Alien and Predator universe because he played the part of the android Bishop in Aliens. However, the film just doesn’t have the shocks, or gore of either the Alien or Predator films and the aliens are believed to be some kind of serpents. In so many forms of Alien media is the idea that the aliens can never be allowed to reach Earth because it would lead to the extinction of the human race, and yet it turns out an Alien Queen had been on Earth for years so why the fuck was anyone worried because she is swiftly defeated after escaping the temple by a human and an unarmed Predator.
Plus the Predators are such sore losers, the fact that they blow themselves and the things that killed them up if they lose the hunt didn't bug me in the Predator films. Okay here there is a reason for it. They don't want the aliens to overrun the planet they are hunting them on, fine, but being overwhelmed by one man and deciding to blow up half the rain forest is just petty. Thanks Alien Vs Predator you've just made me think the Predator in Predator was a petty sore loser, and that is NOT how I want to view the monster in a film I really like.
Basically this film is a huge disappointment, it could have been so great, and considering that there are a series of comic books which deal with this exact premise it should have been legendary.
In the Alien franchise the aliens were vicious creatures, and in Predator the Predators were strong, powerful and should have been an even match for the aliens. In Aliens Vs Predator the aliens are more than capable of overpowering any unarmed predator and the surviving predator is forced to team up with the last of the humans to survive. The predators are not powerful, they are completely unprepared to deal with the aliens and as the film establishes that the pyramid will not active until after the Predators reclaim their weapons it makes you wonder why they did not simply arrive with them. The Predators don’t have their weapons because the humans have taken them without realising what they are. The fact that there have been two Predator films which have taken place before 2004 are irrelevant to the proceedings here and are not referenced or mentioned in anyway.
Alien Vs Predator is a disappointing film. The human characters lack the screen presence of the previous humans, the team’s guide Alexa Wood is no Ripley, and no one matches the sheer size of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the first Predator or even the screen presence held by Danny Glover from Predator 2.
This film was nothing more than an irritating waste of potential, it could have been truly brilliant, and considering the idea of a cross-over had been in the works since 1990 with that alien skull being in Predator 2, you’d think that the writers could have come up with something better. Hell if I’d been working on something for FOURTEEN years if it was anything less than truly epic I’d awaken the lost Samurai art of ritualistic suicide and commit seppuku for dishonouring myself by producing something so shit.
For three minutes we got to glimpse what the films should have been but we didn’t get that, all we got was a shameless cash-in on two very popular franchises, that fails to live up to its own potential.
It should come as no surprise that my Thumb is unquestionably Down
3/10 – Three minutes of brilliance surrounded by an hour and a half of tedium, if I wanted that ratio of awesomeness to boredom I’d just go and have sex. Like Alien3 just pretend that this film does not exist and watch either Aliens or Predator to see these alien races done right
We waited YEARS for an alien and Predator cross-over and when it finally hit screens it was a massive disappointment. That added nothing to the lore, the canon, and gave us three minutes of bone-crunching action as an alien and predator went head-to-head. The 12A rating dragged the film down, and left the final film on a cliff-hanger when we saw a chestburster with Predator characteristics emerge from the body of the film's longest surviving Predator. This ending poses the question: What happens when a facehugger impregnates a Predator?? Well, in 2007, that question was answered with Alien Vs Predator: Requiem.
Alien Vs Predator was a child friendly complete disappointment, and was not the film that fans had been waiting for. Still if there is one thing that Hollywood has taught us, there is nothing sacred and even if a film is a pile of shit, as long as it made enough money a sequel will be shoved down our throats.
That is what happened in 2007, so going in to this film this is what we know…
A new alien erupts from the impregnated predator from the end of Alien Vs Predator with characteristics of both species and leaves the audience to wonder what will happen when a new alien variant is born. Will it be more like the Predators or more like the Aliens?? Will it not identify with either species and attack both?? Or could it be capable of controlling the aliens like the Queen in Aliens, but retain the Predator's ability to control technology and able to use the aliens themselves as weapons as it hunts down its prey??
Don’t worry I will look at those questions later, but for now allow me to enlighten you on what is happening…
The chestbursters emerges from the Predator, grows to maturity and attacks the Predators on board (none of whom just shoot the damn thing). Later a small shuttle or escape pod is launched from the doomed predator ship after the Predators are all killed. The ship crash lands in the United States and the ‘Predalien’ along with several face huggers the Predators happened to have onboard their ship escape the wreckage. The face huggers make their way to a nearby town where they infest the sewers impregnating the homeless that are living down there resulting in numerous aliens.
Meanwhile on some Predator planet a Predator picks up a distress call from the doomed ship and after realising that the hybrid Predalien was onboard, jumps into his ship and high tails it to Earth.
Back on Earth ex-con Dallas (yes named after the character Dallas from Alien…[...sigh...]...yes very clever...), and Howard (Steven Pasquale) has come back to town along with Kelly O’Brian (Reiko Aylesworth) who is also returning home after military service overseas. There are other cast members like Dallas’ younger brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis) and his love interest Jessie (Kristen Hager) but essentially everyone in town is just cannon fodder or alien hosts.
The characters struggle as the alien infestation increases and people start dropping like flies left and right. The National Guard put in an appearance and are promptly slaughtered by the overwhelming numbers of aliens.
The last group of survivors have to get out of town before the authorities nuke the city to purge the infestation of aliens.
Aliens Vs Predator Requiem (also known as Alien Vs Predator 2) is a huge improvement on the substandard Alien Vs Predator, and has some pretty gory moments. One highlight is witnessing the Predalien impregnating humans with alien embryos which is seen in graphic and grotesque detail. Unfortunately, because the first film set the bar so low that it was never going to be too hard to produce something better, and whilst Requiem is an improvement it is still a far cry from the franchises it is based upon. Still it has a lower film rating than the Alien or Predator films being classified as a 15 so it does fall short of the far superior films that it is attempting to get onboard with.
Now that the limited praise for this film is out of the way, let’s talk about what is shit…
First and foremost, The Predalien, the questions I posed above were literally ones off the top of my head, and honestly of them I think the final idea is the coolest. Imagine a Xenomorph-Predator that can control the aliens like the Queen, but also has the intelligence and technology of the Predators, that is something that could rule the fucking galaxy. However, the Predalien here is more alien-like than anything else, it can grab people’s faces and force eggs down their throats so that multiple aliens can emerge from a single host. But, it is barely in the film, it wanders around in the darkness a bit being glimpsed by the main Predator, before having a fight with that Predator at the end, and that is pretty much it. How could a concept like a Xenomorph-Predator hybrid have been so poorly executed by the film makers???
Take a look at this…
This is a Human-Predator hybrid, how cool does she look??
Or check this out…
A Xenomorph-Human hybrid, holy crap, that is a cool looking character and one I would definitely be looking to create a master race with, naturally she would have to be on top, I don't think missionary would be that comfortable for her considering those things coming out of her back…er…sorry I have wandered from the point a little...
So if artists can create something that looks that badass combining a Human-Predator or a Xenomorph-Human hybrid then why can’t films do the same?? Give us something interesting, why do we have the same thing yet again??? Hapless humans being killed by aliens whilst this time a single Predator is hunting the aliens and a "Predalien" that wanders around not really doing anything especially important. Apart from the face mandibles and the dreadlocks this could just be a slightly larger than average xenomorph.
It seems that during the film the Predator is trying to actively cover up the existence of the xenomorphs, and is seen using a strange blue liquid to dissolve any and all evidence of the aliens, presumably so no one realises that the aliens were ever there. It dissolves victims of the chestbursters, and eliminates the husks of the facehuggers. It also aggressively goes after the xenomorphs. Okay, fine, so does this mean that the Predator does not want the aliens to spread across Earth and is trying to kill them all before they can escape?? If so, then thanks very much Mr Predator, that is very kind of you, save them so my people can wipe them out later, very considerate of you. But bizarrely it then goes and kills a guy, skins him, and hangs him up in a tree. I don’t know about you but personally I don’t consider this to be very subtle. Especially when people searching the forest for a missing man and boy (both of whom were killed by chestbursters) discover the body and immediately raises the alarm. This single body lets everyone know that something odd is going on. So, on the one hand the Predator does not want the Xenomorphs to escape or breed and is covering up evidence of their existence and yet will kill, skin and hang up one of its own victims??? Is the Predator actually trying to stop the aliens or does he just not want the Xenomorphs to be doing all the killing of witless humans??? Alternatively does the Predator not want the aliens to be taking all the credit for killing any humans that cross their paths??
Probably the most irritating thing about Requiem is the fact that the majority of the action takes place either at night or in the dark sewer tunnels, there is nothing more frustrating than poor lighting when trying to watch a film, although the constant flashing light in Speed 2 is a very close second. It is very difficult to see what is happening unless the audience watches the film in a pitch black room; if they do then they can just about see what is happening.
During the movie, the aliens move into a power station, and the Predator blows it up cutting the town’s power, which just makes the whole thing worse. Creating tension and fear through darkness can be an effective tool for a chilling horror but for a film like this, when all the audience wants to see is aliens fighting predators, then it fails to create anything other than annoyance. Somebody really should have pointed out to directors Colin and Greg Strause that their film won’t be well received if people can’t actually see what is happening and had them switch the lights on.
This is a superior sequel to a below average film but it is still nowhere near as good as Alien or Aliens or the two Predator films that were out then. Hopefully if more sequels follow they will follow this trend and get better each time. If they do then Alien Vs Predator 5 might actually be a decent addition to the Alien and Predator universe.
In all honesty the only thing this film has made me want to do is track down the comics and find exactly who the two women in the pictures I used above actually are.
So all in all Alien Vs Predator has just made me want to read the comics, so if this was a long con all along designed to get audiences to read the comics, then well done Alien Vs Predator you suck so that audience can track down something apparently far superior.
My Thumb is twitching between Down and Horizontal I would like to rate it higher but yet again there is a great possibility wasted. The Predalien is pointless. I don’t know why ideas that are so good, and must have been so creative on paper make such lacklustre transitions onto film. Whilst my Thumb has twitched, it hasn’t twitched enough to be now Horizontal, so whilst Alien Vs Predator Requiem is better than the original, it does not make good use of the obvious enemy handed to us at the end of the first film so my Thumb is still Down but is not as far Down as it was after the first film
4/10 – Yes it is better than the first, but that is not really saying much. There is a little more Alien Vs Predator action this time around sadly the lights being off mean most of the action is obscured by darkness. Honestly, if you have a choice I suggest you do what I plan to do and track down the comic books instead.