A Review by Noah Antwiler
Strap in, suckers, because you're in for a long, long ride. Puke over the side if you have to-- and you will have to.
In hindsight, I think I was rather unfair to Ju-On: The Grudge after subjecting myself to this drivel. The difference is, I was expecting a great movie with Ju-On. Here, I knew going into the theater that AvP was gonna hurt, and hurt real bad. I simply had no idea it would hurt this much, and be so ridiculous. And don't bother accusing me of some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy complex where I went into the film with a negative attitude. The theater I went into was mostly full. During the film, all you could hear were mocking comments, MST-style sniggerings to friends, outright guffaws at the developments on screen, and people walking out of the movie. By the end, the movie was a quarter-full and the credits were greeted with a chorus of boos.
I knew this movie was going to be have epic levels of suck, and so this was the first ever film to which I brought a notepad and a set of writing utensils so I could document exactly how ludicrous this film is. I knew I'd need a notepad because there'd be so much idiocy going on I'd be sure to forget most of it. You had to know this movie was going to be the cinematic equivalent of an inverted colon for two reasons:
1) It's an Alien sequel, and even the most die-hard fans finally threw up their hands in resignation after Alien3 and Cyber-Winona.
2) The title has the word "versus" in it. There has never been a good movie with that word in it. Except maybe Godzilla vs. Megalon! Kickass! Save us, Jet Jaguar! Hey, you can run down the list if you feel like, and argue which one hurts the most. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Godzilla vs. Whoever, Freddy vs. Jason, Joe vs. The Volcano, uh...Mario vs. Donkey Kong?
If there were two movie franchises that deserved a crossover battle...it was Terminator vs. Robocop. No wait, that sucks! Godzilla vs. X-Men! Ehhhh, Army of Darkness vs. Tremors? Yeah! There we go! Actually crossover battles usually suck, come off as contrived and witless, and never end in a decisive victory for fear of kicking over the hornet's nest of fanboys. Once you get those folks fanwanking, they never. shut. up. You know, like midichlorians and Greedo shooting first, which I very sadly bitch about constantly whenever the topic is broached. You're really under a microscope when you try to make a movie like this. So what do you do when you have a crummy video game or comic book franchise you want made into a film?
For some reason, the answer is to contact Paul W.S. Anderson. And if you can't get him, you're REALLY screwed because then you're stuck with Uwe Boll (who should change his first name to "Terra" after the unbelievable sludge that was House of the Dead). Boll is such a terrible director, he should be tried for crimes against humanity solely for his innovative (uh, I mean brain-damaged) tactic of interjecting videogame footage into his movie. So I suppose if there is a small ray of sunshine in this abyss of a movie, it's that Uwe was wasting his time with Christian Slater making Alone in the Dark, ANOTHER video game franchise, and was safely away from AvP. Paul even wrote it, so now you're in double trouble. You remember Paul from the brain-achingly inane film Resident Evil, which featured the wasted talents of Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez playing a constipated Lara Croft. You probably would have thought it'd be hard to make a movie to rival the stupidity of your average Resident Evil videogame plot, but you'd be wrong, cowboy.
Paul's laid a few other celluloid cow-patties on the world, like the Kurt Russel embarassment Soldier (where Kurt played a greasy block of wood) and the abominable Mortal Kombat. As far as bad directors go, he's a real triple threat: he chooses weak franchises, writes the script himself, and then proceeds to thoroughly botch it. This movie's not even bad in the over-the-top campy fashion that makes the movie watchable because of sheer spectacle alone. This movie is simply a bore, interesting only as you marvel time after time how anybody greenlighted this project. There's nothing remotely interesting in it, contians nobody we care about, and is top-to-bottom an example of wretched storytelling and uninteresting action. This movie is like a pair of thumb screws, only thumb screws are actually able to hold your attention. My moment of Zen for the day is this: who is the more foolish-- Paul Anderson or the fools who keep giving him money? This guy must write his scripts in crayon, gluing in the parts of his previous movies he thought were effective. This movie is worse than bad. It's uninteresting, it's boring, and it's not memorable in the slightest.
Paul seems to think himself a director on par with Ridley Scott and Predator's John McTiernan, when his rightful place is fetching them coffee and letting the grown-ups make the movies. His filmography reads like a rap sheet of criminally bad movies, proving that as a director, he's clown shoes. As a writer, he's athlete's foot. There were more signs and portents that this movie would be terrible, you didn't exactly have to me Nostradamus to figure it out. Miss Cleo could have figured it out. Hell, John Edwards could have. This movie is a blatant cash in, and I'm sure it'll make a bajillion dollars despite the foreknowledge of the pain the people face. Most people that go to see this are the kind of people that slow down to watch car accidents and the clinically insane (I leave it to you to decide which I am). Yet I still question why anyone fronted the money for this surely doomed project, destined from inception for Razzies and ridicule. I don't really think there are that many stalwart Alien or Predator fans out there anymore; Alien Resurrection put the last nail in that coffin. It's entered into the market with its welcome already worn out two movies ago. Not since that Lenny Kravitz "Ooh-ee-ooh-ee-ooh" song has there been such a head-scratchingly weird decision in entertainment. Seriously, wassupwitdat?
And now, we break from this rant and cut to Wampa133t on location from his mommy's basement in our special segment called Fanwank Theatre:
W@mp@133t>>5CR3W j00R GAY AS11!1 WTF LOL ALEIN VERSUS PREDA2R IS TEH BST MOVEI AVER11!1 OMG j00 R h0m0 AND UR WABSIET IF SUPAR GAY 21!!111 OMG WTF
Thanks, Wampa! Keep doing shameful things in your Ewok costume, and keep reaching for those stars!
The movie opens up following a fake-looking satellite orbiting Earth, apparently the only one circling the globe in the year 2004. Emblazoned on the side is the familiar Weyland-Yutani Corporation logo that might as well be graffiti reading "I watched Alien! See? --Paul" Finding this shot worthless, we quickly move on to find two nerds in a control room somewhere suddenly alerted by a siren triggered by the satellite. They tinker with their computer and find out what's got their satellite riled up. It's some kind of thermal reading on Antarctica, obvously a building of some kind. Puzzled, the first technician determines that the satellite is looking at "Sector 14."
"There isn't anything in Sector 14," she says dumbly.
"There is now," her partner overacts gravely, as if he had declared himself Shiva, destroyer of worlds.
We abandon those idiots and now focus on a woman scaling a sheer ice cliff somewhere in the frozen wilderness (*COUGH*MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2*COUGH*) only to be interrupted by her cell phone ringing. She breaks from her death-defying climb to adjust her headset to accept the call. I'm impressed at the quality of cell phone service that she gets out here, because I live in the city and it's about even chances that Verizon will drop my call. I also wonder why she bothered to pack a headset and cell phone for a trip like this. Was she seriously expecting phone calls from shady businessmen at that time, and wanted to be able to answer them in the middle of a climb where the slightest lapse in concentration could result in a hideous spine-splintering fall? It's some flunky working for Mr. Weyland who wants to contract out her unique services for a risky time-critical job. She's obviously our reluctant protagonist, Alexa Woods, played by Sanaa Lathan. She's an actress so flat and uninteresting that I'm thoroughly convinced she's an android from the future. She's got a delivery like a Dalek, only without the interesting "EXTERMINATE" scream. Anyway, we're stuck with her, and she's the one the camera follows most of the time, so I hereby declare Alexa our Designated Ripley, batting first in the order.
Meanwhile in Mexico, an Italian dweeb manages to botch an archaeological dig and unearths an ancient Pepsi-Cola bottle cap, which as the most embarrassing moment of his career, he immediately claims as a trophy. He's Sebastian de Rosa, a character flatter than a week-old beer with an irritating accent to ensure you thoroughly despise him. He just reminds me of Balkey from Perfect Strangers, and thus will I call him. He's played by an actor who would be shown up by Jean-Claude van Damme on his worst day. And that's saying something. Balkey too is recruited to join this mysterious expedition, and we go back to following D.Ripley as she flies to a Weyland freighter already en route to the Antarctic site.
There, she meets Ewen Bremner, that one guy from the brilliant film The Rundown where he plays the Scottish twit with a bad knee howling "Ach we cannae lan' noo! They boos on thai grind!" He's playing basically the same guy here, only without the funny dialogue. Now he's just a dopey Scotsman whose only character traits are his accent and his desire to photograph the entire trip on his digital camera. He might as well have "DEAD SCOTSMAN WALKING" tattooed on his head, and I'm suddenly very sad. I could be watching The Rundown right now instead of this trash. That didn't stop about a half dozen bored people in the theater from already yelling "There's boos on the grind!" This isn't a good start. The audience is drifting already.
Our dull heroes reach the freighter as it breaks its way through the ice, and meet with the other soon-to-be-dead people. Mr. Weyland, the filthy rich billionaire and owner of the ubiquitous "Company" appears, played by Lance "Bishop" Henriksen. Why, Lance, why? Lance throws a couple of in-jokes our way as if to say "In it for the money, folks," during the movie. Lance explains the situation: their satellite has detected a sudden burst of heat in the middle of Antarctica, from a source 2000 meters beneath the surface of the ice. Using thermal imaging, they've determined that it comes from an ancient McDonalds-- er, I mean, it comes from an ancient pyramid, whose architecture has all of Weyland's best scientists bickering about its origin. They all believe it to be either Egyptian, Aztec, or Cambodian, where I believe it to be only a model. I quickly get hushed and Cousin Balkey steps forward, commanding everyone's attention by saying all his lines as if they were dreadfully important. "Maybe they're all right!" he grimly intones, as if we might as well accept all his wild speculations as if God himself delivered them on stone tablets from a flaming mountain. He immediately leaps to the conclusion that this pyramid shares traits from all 3 civilizations, and thus must originate from a culture that predated and descended into all three cultures. This is, of course, complete wankery, and Bishop tells him to shut his dumb Italian trap. Actually, Bishop believes every word of it and moves onto the next phase. They're gonna deploy and head on down there, to wander blissfully into ancient death traps and be completely unscientific in their research.
The Designated Ripley is horrified that they're acting with such haste, since she realizes that she's surrounded by a boatload of wankers who are going to get themselves killed. These are the kind of expendable nameless redshirt characters that'll stick their tongues on the nearest piece of exposed frozen metal if you leave them unsupervised for a second, and she demands vehemently that she get much more time to do prep-work to train these morons. Actually, "demands vehemently" is too strong considering her complete lack of acting talent. More like "woodenly bitches in a monotone voice." She quits the expedition immediately until she learns that Weyland's contacted some other twit that she doesn't trust to keep the crew safe. She doesn't have any actual expressions of her own, being a cyborg, so you sort of have to guess her emotion at any point in the film. She continually wears a constipated expression on her face, but at this moment I think she's conflicted about abandoning these people to die, even if they are complete wankers.
She wanders outside (in Antarctica!) and meets with Scotty and the Italian Stallion, who remark that the moon resembles the mythical Italian "hunter's moon." HUNTER'S MOON. Because this movie has Predators in it. They're hunters. GET IT?? I would hit Paul Anderson with a clown hammer if I could. *sigh* I hate this movie. DR finally decides that she'll stick around and attempts to give a badass speech to the crew in order to shout some sense into the dorks. "I have 3 rules!" she monotones as if asking what you wanted at the Taco Bell drive-thru.
1) You do not talk about Fight Club.
2) You do NOT talk about Fight Club.
Kidding. Actually her rules are: nobody plays the hero, nobody wanders off alone, stay in constant contact. It really doesn't appear as though anybody's really listening though. And anybody that seems to be listening don't really seem to care. I certainly don't. Weyland's in an awful rush for some reason, claiming that his satellite was really looking for ore deposits (in Antarctica?) and that they have very little time before someone else discovers the site and swipes it out from under his nose. I ask you, how is that possible? I really doubt anyone will fight you for mining rights in frigging Antarctica. It'd take weeks to mount an expedition of this scale to claim that area, and so it seems Weyland is already well ahead of any possible pursuit. I just don't understand why Weyland is feeling such a time crisis right now to stay ahead of the competition. I figure all he'd need to do is stake his claim on the land and he'll be credited with the archaological discovery. What's the problem?
One problem is that Weyland is sick with some terminal illness that requires some kind of giant asthma inhaler. DR goes off on some power trip like some overprotective mother. She says that she's not taking any sick men along on this expedition, as if she has any right to tell Mr. Weyland-- the man PAYING her-- to do a damn thing. She might as well be dressed like Captain Janeway right now for this wanky "I'm responsible for all the lives on this ship" tirade she goes off on. Lance sighs, realizing he's got a monologue coming up that he'll actually have to act in, and reveals that he just wants to leave a lasting impact on the world. And this discovery will be the mark he leaves on history. Fair enough. DR caves instantly and lets him come along.
We cut to seeing a spaceship orbiting Earth, inhabited by a trio of Predators gearing up for battle. They deliberately and silently don their dreadlocked helmets, armor, and bejeweled black battle shorts. It seems all the Predators communicate in a combination of a back-of-the-throat rattling noise, a shrieking roar of anger, and complete silence. They turn their ship towards Earth and fire a gigantic death ray into the planet. This beam is truly huge and very bright, and nobody within a hundred miles could possibly have missed it.
The crew of the Weyland ship misses it. The laser beam struck directly in the middle of the location they're heading to, and there were a half-dozen people on deck at the time staring directly in that direction, but nobody saw the cataclysmic destruct-o-beam impact the ground mere miles from their current location. Wanktards. Actually I'm probably being too rough on the characters when this is just really bad directing. It's also here we meet the plucky hardassed Vasquez clone from Aliens, a skinny white chick with spiky anime hair. I never actually caught her name because I doubt she'll last to the halfway point of the film. But she carries a handgun which she makes a grand spectacle of loading, and chambering a round like everyone in a movie has to do to sound cool. *CLIK-CLAK!*
"I never saw a gun save anyone on the ice," the DR wanks.
"It's like a condom," Vasquezki says, horrifying me immediately, "I'd rather have one and not need it, than need one and not have it." Actually, I kind of like her reasoning, and she's one of the few actresses in the film whose performance I enjoyed. Which means she's dead meat, because again, I'm not that lucky.
The plucky party of Predator food wanders off the ship to the estimated dig site, where Bishop looks in confusion at some kind of abandoned camp already sitting there. "It's a whaling camp," DR says immediately, because she knows everything. Get a lot of whales out here, do they? Uh huh. I'm not sure why Bishop is so confused at seeing the camp here. Wouldn't the satellite have seen it? After all, he was able to reconstruct an exact model of the pyramid 2 kilometers under the ice on thermal readings alone, and he can't see a huge camp set up on the surface? It's the little things you miss, I guess.
The group enters the camp, and in record time they screw up. Scotty immediately wanders off by himself without telling anyone. He might as well be wearing a crimson Starfleet uniform shouting "Captain, I see something!" Numbnuts has already broken two of the three relatively simple Ripley Rules. He starts wasting time and poking into buildings, taking pictures of himself and generally making himself a target. Naturally he starts hearing strange things and getting scared. DR appears behind Scotty in that lame horror movie cheap scare tactic of having the friends just materialize unannounced behind someone (accompanied by a shrill orchestra sting) to scare the fajeezus out of them. People never actually would do this, because if you're looking for someone, you'd be calling his name instead of creeping up on him behind like a cat and grabbing him by the shoulder. People do silly things when you do that...like shoot you. It turns out the noise they heard was just a penguin, which gives them both a good laugh. I, on the other hand, am starting to feel very, very ill.
The group is quite stunned to find that a giant tunnel has already been bored into the ice (and in fact, through the buildings too). Naturally they're all confused about who dug this gigantic hole in the ice, making their entry terribly convenient. Gee, could it have something to do with the giant laser beam which none of them saw, despite it being the loudest, brightest, most cataclysmic event in the sky in decades. The hole leads straight down to the pyramid, and is doubly strange because the laser beam has dug a perfectly circular hole threaded as if you could put a screw into it. I wonder what kind of laser can bore a hole like a drill bit. You'd have to see it for yourself to understand how impossible it is. Not that I'd recommend you'd see this movie in any way.
The group's wanderings are illuminated by handheld flares (so ripping off John Carpenter's The Thing), which is strange because they're fully equipped withpowerful flashlights and lights strapped to their harnesses. They eventually make their way down the steep hole. You probably guessed that someone slips and falls, and you'd be right. The cable winch they're using to rappel downward and transport all their supplies gets jammed up because of a sudden snowstorm that blows in. Some of the extras are clinging to a satellite dish and rubbing up and down on it like a bunch of howler monkeys for some unknown reason, and are unable to prevent a piece of debris from getting tangled in the winch. Bishop trips up and falls, and is obviously saved by the Designated Ripley who stakes his coat to the tunnel wall with her pick. I was so hoping she'd miss and plunge the pick into his forehead, but I'm not that lucky.
Once they reach the bottom, they unload their gear and stare in awe at the rendered model stretching before them. Stepping inside, they see the walls are adorned with hilariously bad pictograms and heiroglyphic-style images of the aliens, face-huggers, and the ugly pig-faced Predators. They're really stupid looking, like a rubber Alien stamp you'd buy your kid from a That's Entertainment store's bargain bin. Astoundingly, nobody questions or even remarks at the nightmarish (I mean corny) images carved all over the walls.
Meanwhile, deeper in the complex, Lex Luthor plots how to kill Superman. Also, a giant cable system activates, raising onto a platform a frozen Alien Queen that the Predators appear to have captured. The Queen is shackled and chained to the walls, and thawed out using Ron Popeil's Thawmaster (tm). The shackles electrocute the Queen, which for some reason induces it into laying its eggs. The queen's butt rests squarely on an elaborate conveyor belt system that nobody could possibly take seriously. These belts carry the eggs to locations convenient to the plot. I was unaware the ancient progenitors of the Aztecs and Egyptians were masters of conveyor belt technology.
The crew of the Weyland ship S.S. Wankerprise find themselves in a room full of stone slabs laid out in a semicircle, all of them adorned with badly-done skeletons that have giant holes in their chests. "This is a sacrificial chamber," Balkey says grimly as if he were explaining how to defuse a bomb. Actually it sounds more like "Thees eesa sacrific-eeal chama-ber, bellisima!" It might have been Scotty who said all that, but who the hell cares because they're all going to die anyway, right? Scotty and Balkey start wildly speculating on the nature of the room, boldly stating with no evidence whatsoever that the people on the slabs voluntarily sacrificed their lives. "It was an honor!" they say, with nothing to back it up. Who's to say that they weren't drugged, or tied up, then killed, then untied later to be disposed of? They continue with their groundless pontifications, saying how commonplace it is to find sacrificial victims with gigantic sucking chest wounds, as it was obviously perfectly natural for ancient cultures to violently rip people's hearts out of living people like Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Vasquezki peeks down at the corpses and notes "These bones are pushed outward. Something burst out of them from inside." Yeah, like she's a freaking medical examiner.
I'll tell you a little secret. Real scientists never speculate on ANYTHING until they have empirical evidence or a mathematical proof. And even then, they're more likely to use the words "probability," "reasonable certainty," "correlation," and "42" as part of their response to any scientific question. Most real scientists won't tell you for sure their shoes are tied unless they check themselves in a series of 3 trials. Already the master eggheads of this movie believe that thousands of years ago when the Earth's landmasses were configured as Pangaea, Antarctica was habitable (utter B.S.) and home to the original culture that founded every other civilization on the planet (incredible mountains of B.S.). Further, this civilization used the writing techniques of the Aztecs, Cambodians, and ancient Egyptians ALL AT THE SAME TIME (gigantic rolling mountains of galloping running lumpy diahhroea and B.S.)!!! It just doesn't make any sense! There's no way it's possible! Ever! It's like finding an ancient tomb with hieroglyphics on the walls mixed with FORTRAN code and the lyrics to "I Like Big Butts" in Cyrillic. After all, are you going to listen to a guy whose grand achievement was finding a Pepsi bottle cap in Mexico? He must have gotten his doctorate in Florida or something.
Hah! Eat my cheap shot and like it, Florida! Learn to punch a ballot, suckers!
Of course, everyone immediately starts splitting up so they can set up more cheap scares of team members creeping up on each other. Yawn. This leaves Vasquezki alone in the room with a pair of anonymous extras while the DR wanders the pyramid with Bishop and the gang. They stumble across an ancient sarcophogus with a strange device along the top. For some insane reason, Balkey immediately states "It's a combination lock!" as if he had any freaking clue as to its function. Without any heed for danger or the fear of horribly spurting neck-stumpy death, he immediately (I mean implausibly) figures out how to open it, and does so before anyone can object. The sarcophogus is filled with dry ice (really) and guns from Halo. The wanktard humans immediately snatch up the weapons and, of course, Something Bad Happens. The walls start shifting around, the ground shakes, everyone shouts and panics, and Alien eggs raise up into the sacrificial chamber where Vasquezki is. She whips out her gun but instead of being smart and shooting immediately, she gets a rather good look as the eggs open and facehumpers jump on everyone's heads.
The Predator trio (hereby known as The Three Amigos) launch themselves down into the pyramid site to follow the humans. Every time a scene involving the Amigos ends, one of them brings up a red hologram of the pyramid, which zooms in real close to a blue-colored area, where we dissolve back into the action where the humans are wandering around. This was cool maybe once when he did it in Resident Evil. Here, he does it about 4 times where a Predator holds up his hand, displays a red hologram, and the camera zooms in to show where the humans are bumbling around. It's sad when Paul Anderson starts ripping off what didn't particularly work in his old movies. Some call it a recurring theme or a trademark shot. I call it unoriginality.
DR fails to register any emotions at all, despite the entire situation going FUBAR, because she lacks the programming to both use a facial expression and speak at the same time. All of the anonymous characters rattle the suitcases they've been carrying this whole time, deploying super-spy machineguns from inside them. I'm at a loss to explain why this expedition felt the need to carry enough weapons and ammunition to declare war on China. Why would they come so heavily armed, overburdened with weapons to a site in the Antarctic?? What did they expect? Cyborg penguins with laser beams on their heads? Al Qaeda? The Bee Gees? It's not like rival corporations are going to swoop down on the site in their attack choppers and kill everyone. And they had no reason to expect any trouble of any kind when they were loading up for this mission in the first place.
The Three Amigos immediately attack the humans and end up killing just about all of them. The humans panic immediately at the slightest sign of any resistance and start spraying their macho automatic weapons in the air like fools, clearly able to hit nothing. The Predators are invisible anyway, so they're really just wasting everyone's time. Some of the anonymous characters get trapped in sealed off tunnels as they flee from the Predators, because the walls are shifting about for some reason.
Meanwhile, the facehumper drops off Vasquezki's face. She barely has time to look around and wonder what in the flaming globes of Sigmund happened when immediately an alien bursts out of her chest. Ditto with the rest. So much for continuity in the other films, eh? Before it took hours for the facehumpers to incubate their eggs, who then fell off. It then took hours, repeat HOURS for the implanted embryo to grow into an alien that would burst out of their chest. Now the effect is instantaneous, occurring in the span of MAYBE 3 minutes.
DR and Balkey flee with Bishop into another room, having been separated from Scotty a while back. Balkey claims to know everything, so he immediately figures out the schedule of the walls that are shifting around. Since the doohickey he unlocked on the sarcophogus was configured in a decimal format, he deduces that the walls shift around every 10 minutes. This is completely unfounded reasoning, but it turns out he's right and the walls move right on cue. Scotty is trying to save various panicking characters in the meantime, but has a lot of trouble because trapdoors keep opening beneath everyone. These trapdoors are placed in very pointless locations, but the characters fall into every one of them. Scotty runs into a fully-grown (!) Alien which drags him off kicking and screaming. So wait, now the Aliens are fully grown? How long did THIS take? It can't have been more than 5 or 6 minutes since the facehumpers jumped the wankers. (Bet you'd never see that sentence in your life.) And now you expect me to believe that in this span of time the Aliens grew into 250 lbs. killing machines. Not even The Incredible Hulk worked that fast. Leave it to Paul Anderson to take established continuity and floss his butt with it.
Two of the Three Amigos ambush DR and Bishop again, killing anyone who still doesn't have a name that still might be alive. They then proceed to slap the wank out of the remaining fools, kicking DR so hard in the chest it sends her catapulting 30 feet into a stone wall. The impact should have probably crumpled her ribcage into the consistency of crushed Pringles, but it doesn't. DR is saved when Nimrod (the first of the Amigos) is impaled on an Alien's tail out of nowhere. The Alien wastes no time in ripping Nimrod's head off and discarding him like a free AOL disc. You don't really see any gore, just a little bit of the Predator's glow-in-the-dark Nickelodeon Gak (tm) blood. Very disappointing.
Alien: 1 Predator: 0 Audience: -50
The second Amigo, Wayne, turns to battle this new enemy. They engage in hand-to-claw combat that's so badly photographed and so poorly lit that it's hard to tell what the heck is going on. The Predator uses his array of bladed gadgets that he got from The Sharper Image catalog, like a whirly star boomerang thing, a spear, and his wrist claws. The Alien fights back with, well, what the Alien fights with. I'm not exactly sure why the Predators don't just use their shoulder-mounted cannons to smoke these yahoos where they stand, but I guess it's because they don't have them (?). They wrestle around, which is actually really sad when you stop to consider it's two guys in rubber suits rolling around. Wayne slices off the point of the Alien's tail with his wrist blades. The acidic blood from the Alien causes the wrist blades to melt. The Alien uses his tail stump as an advantage, slinging his butt around to spray acid all over the Predator, forcing him to remove his armor and Battle Shorts. The Alien charges, but is countered with the Predator's high-speed wire-mesh net trap, which pins the Alien to the wall. The razor-sharp wires start cutting into the Alien, leaving a crosshatched scar pattern all over the Alien. Once again, Paul Anderson manages to rip off his own movie by introducing a weapon that cuts you up into little bullion cubes.
The Alien cuts its way free and the combatants roll around some more beating on each other a bit. Wayne picks up the Alien by the legs and swings him around in a WWF-style airplane spin or something. He then proceeds to smash the Alien through solid stone pillars and walls, which barely seems to affect the Alien in any way. And this is after we've established that Aliens are quite vulnerable to firearms and can be crushed beneath rubber tires. And now we're slamming the aliens through pillars of stone 2 feet thick and it's barely stunned it? Please. The Alien appears that it doesn't want to tangle with Wayne head-on, so it actually performs a tactical retreat and attacks Wayne from behind.
What the hell? How can they do that? What do you mean they cut the power?? They're animals! Game over, man! This makes no sense! Ugh, I can't take this. Even quoting the most holy Private Hudson, patron saint of the panicking coward, seems hollow and joyless. It still doesn't compute that the aliens are apparently smart enough to retreat from battle in order to seek a more advantageous position. They are, as Hudson sagely observed, just animals. The Alien counters back from ambush and they tumble into a boneyard, where the Alien spears and bites Wayne's head off.
Man, these Predators suck. I've seen belligerent drunk white crackers on the Outdoor Life Network hunt better than this. Where are their guns? Which Predator's bright idea was this to engage the Aliens-- who bleed ACID, need I remind you-- in hand-to-hand combat?
Alien: 2 Predator: 0 Audience: Left the building
People in the audience are starting to shout at the screen imitating Schwartzenegger, "Ruuuuun! Gooooo! Get to da choppa!" The only survivors now are DR, Bishop, and Balkey, who are fleeing up some stairs to escape the melee. The last Amigo chases them down, apparently tracking down the Halo gun that DR's carrying in her backpack. He picks up Bishop as if to kill him, but uses his X-ray vision to determine that he's terminally ill and thus no sport. So he lets Bishop go. "He didn't kill yu 'coz yu wehn't ahmed. No spoaht!" someone cries out from behind me like the Governator. Of course, like a complete moron, Bishop attacks the Predator from behind using a makeshift weapon kludged from a road flare in an attempt to light the Pred's dreads on fire. Pissed off, Pred turns around, gives Bishop a shrug as if to say "The hell you thinkin' fool? I was in a good mood." And proceeds to hack Bishop into quivering strips of dripping jerky. Twit. I imagine Pred just had to shake his head at this planet full of idiots, muttering "I'm Rick James, bitch," to Bishop's twitching corpse. I hereby penalize the humans a point for being complete wanktards.
Alien: 2 Predator: 0 Humans: -1 Audience: Blocking out the memory of the movie through booze
Pred is now thoroughly torqued off now for trying to be a nice guy to the stinking meatbag apes, so he chases down DR and Balkey hoping to eat their heads like Pop Rocks. The humans have since retreated into another chamber to catch their breath. Pred comes into view and stares them down growling in Predator-Speak "Go ahead, make my day". Behind him, an Alien looms into view, its upper lip twitching in anticipation of a yummy meal. Pred casually lashes back with his whirly star weapon and cuts the Alien's face off. Oddly, the weapon doesn't dissolve into useless scrap because of the acid. DR's watching the whole time with no expressions of any kind. Pred also smells another attack coming from behind. A facehumper leaps from the shadows, only to be neatly sliced in twain by Pred's whirly star thingy. It seems that Pred was the only semi-competent member of the Three Amigos.
Alien: 2 Predator: 1 Humans: -1 Audience: Drinking heavily, bitter and angry at blowing $8 on this movie
The humans watch in awe from their somewhat-concealed location as the Predator lays down his weapons and kneels before the corpses of the Aliens. He takes a bloody stump of one of the Alien's limbs and uses it to acid-burn a ritual mark into his helmet and face. Balkey immediately starts chiming in by explaining everything that's going on, as if you were too stupid to realize he's been hunting the Aliens and appears to take great honor in killing them. Remember, Balkey knows everything.
Pred removes his mask to brand his own face, only to have another facehumper immediately leap out and make love to his head. DR has no reaction whatsoever. I take back what I said about Pred being competent. Fool.
Balkey's examining the walls, and he's about to embark on the drum solo of rampant illogical speculation. Somehow, he's figured out the entire history of this temple, the planet, and all life on Earth. Balkey goes on a rampage of groundless assumptions, his delivery self-important and over-the-top, as if he were Gregory Peck reading the Bible for a book on tape. Conveniently, Balkey cues up a flashback scene with his mind so we can see what he's rambling about. Thousands and thousands of years ago when the continents were melded together in Pangaea, the Predators came to Earth and astounded the primitive monkeys with their weapons and spacefaring technology. As humans are wont to do, they immediately begin worshipping the Predators as gods, revering their great hunts and even volunteering themselves for impregnation by the Aliens, just so the Predators have some bugs to kick around every once in a while. It seems that the Predators' technology reached a plateau millions of years ago, and there have been no scientific advancements among the Predators in that time, since they look exactly the same and wield the exact same weaponry as they did in ancient times. Even DragonballZ fans must have the weak intelligence necessary to see how profoundly stupid this all is. I hope so, but I doubt it.
If the Predators screwed the pooch on their hunts? No big loss, because they just light up the thermonuclear devices on their arms and nuke everything within 20 miles (it's the only way to be sure). This has the slightly annoying side effect of wiping out the entire civilization, which the Predators' worshippers seem to have no real issue with. It's...interesting. Wait, that's not the word. What is it...eh, I don't know. But it's got something to do with midichlorians.
And that's the ultimate secret of Earth. The Predators were our earliest gods, who-- get this-- taught us civilization, technology, and organized humanity into the cultures we enjoy today. It's at this point Hell itself is overflowing with the B.S. that Paul Anderson is churning out, and it's getting pretty deep in here already. Johnny Mnemonic, Speed 2: Cruise Control, and the entire David Arquette filmography just floated past me on gigantic corn-filled turd logs, all movies that look delicious next to the unstoppable torrent of lameness spraying out of the camera lens. I would actually rather watch a Whoopi Goldberg comedy act than this unspeakable trash.
Okay, I take it back.
The Designated Ripley decides that if they want any shot at getting out of this to make a sequel (perish the thought), they'd better choose a side. Seeing as how the Aliens don't exactly have the capacity for negotiation, speech, or even the ability not to slobber KY Jelly all over everything, they decide they'd better try to kiss up to the Predators and give him back his gun. Excuse me.
WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT'S SILLY DIDN'T THE PREDATORS BRING THEIR GUNS WITH THEM???
And don't for a second try to tell me this is all part of some sacred hunt, complete with a bunch of hoops they have to jump through like going in without their guns. I'm not buying it. In every single Predator movie the Preds have never had any qualms about brazenly flash-frying everyone they see that's carrying a weapon. They have a profound technological advantage over every other creature they face, and they exercise it constantly. They attack you while invisible, they shoot you with their shoulder cannon, and they actually tend to murder you in cold blood more often than not. Why should the Preds give a flying fish about playing fair when it comes to the Aliens? And it also doesn't explain why the Preds didn't just grab their guns away from the humans any one of the half-dozen times they ran into each other. The humans obviously have no weapons that cause the Preds anything more than minor discomfort. The Preds could see exactly where their guns were. I just don't get it.
DR decides that the wisest course of action is to give the Pred back his gun. On cue, the Pred's facehumper falls off, and he gets up drunkenly. Once again, continuity flies out the window as an Alien does NOT immediately fly out of his chest. Good job, Paul. DR throws the Pred his gun, and Pred seems perfectly happy to just smoke the two monkeys where they stand. Luckily for them, the script says a swarm of Aliens pile out from behind and attack. The Pred fires up his gun and starts spraying into the oncoming mob, killing several of them. But the numbers game prevails and the Aliens spill into the room. Pred whips out his spear, but is quickly disarmed. DR grabs up the spear and gets a lucky shot in, goring the Alien through the chest with it. The two thrash around in the throes of mortal combat, and DR is still trying in vain, but fails to register an emotion of any kind on her face. Then acid spills out on top of her and she gets burned to a cinder.
Actually she just kills the Alien. Damn. The spear also does not dissolve because of the acid, again demonstrating Anderson's clumsy-fingered grip on continuity, since we saw the other Predator's wrist blades melt under the acid. Pred can't seem to stand the stink of monkey in the room and turns to leave. Like a complete fool, DR seems to think she can boss the Pred around with her monotone wanking, and she calls after him demanding to know where he's going. Pred whirls around and rips her face off. Sorry, I keep interjecting my fantasies. Pred actually just whirls around and looks fed up.
Fair warning, this is the stupidest moment of the movie. The suck levels have just blown the Suck-o-tron into a thousand pieces.
He drags over the Alien DR killed and uses his knife to slice its tail off. He fashions a crude spear out of the Alien's tail and gives it to her. Pred then cuts off the Alien's head, hollows it out, and shoves it onto her arm to wear as a shield. I'm not kidding. She's walking around carrying a tail-spear and a shield crafted from the HEAD OF AN ALIEN. Why her arm doesn't just burn off to the shoulder because of the acid, I'm not sure, but she looks like a complete fool walking around in this fashion. I really wish I had a picture of it, because the few stragglers in the theater were almost rolling in the aisles laughing at it.
Alien: 2 Predator: 2 Humans: 0 Audience: Passed out on a bar strewn with Irish Carbombs and beer
DR tries to look determined, but only ends up pinching her face slightly as she says "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" to Pred. I keep wishing Pred would just rip out her lungs and play them like bagpipes, but for some inexplicable reason, Pred immediately buddies up to her and they become partners. No!! NO NO NO NO NO! There's no way Pred would team up with this smelly monkey THING. No way! Just kill her!
Somewhere along the way, Balkey gets kidnapped by the Aliens and impregnated by a facehumper, and it's the happiest moment of my life because I know he'll soon be dead. Meanwhile, the Alien Queen is shrieking out for help, and all the Aliens in the complex immediately rush to her aid and free her from most of her shackles and chains. Gee, I guess the Predators didn't really think all this through. I also question how exactly the Predators managed to capture and freeze an Alien Queen. It's not like you can just slap one upside the head with an anvil and drag it into your temple. These guys are having real problems just tackling the drones in single combat. Anyway, DR and Pred eventually end up to where Balkey is cocooned.
For some reason, Balkey is still alive. I thought we'd established that the birth cycle of the Aliens from the time the facehumper falls off to the whole "chest bursting" trimester is almost instantaneous. Yet here's Balkey yammering away, begging DR to kill him. Speaking of, Pred STILL hasn't given birth to his little bun in the oven, and it's been about 10 minutes. Hello Major Tom, are you receiving? Turn the continuity on!
I have a theory that Paul Anderson does an eightball before he actually sits down to write. It explains a great many things.
Anyway, DR musters up all her acting talent and contorts her face with a Herculean amount of effort into an expression of mild frustration. I think she actually has to use her hands to position her eyebrows and mouth in the proper locations. Her every muscle is straining, tensed, focused like an Olympian weightlifter in a desperate struggle to maintain this expression! She's trying to emote...but it's...just...NOT...POSSIBLE!! AARRRRRRGHHH!!!!! She can't hold it! Her face is collapsing! Then, like a complete idiot, she shoots Balkey in the head. The Predator can almost be seen rolling his eyes behind his mask, pretty much shoves DR aside, and slaughters the Alien just as it bursts out of Balkey's chest. I still don't really see where DR's Alien Head/shield comes into play. But I guess I don't really care. Do you? I give the humans a point because humanity is truly better off with Scotty and Balkey dead.
Alien: 2 Predator: 3 Humans: 1 Audience: Demanding another Irish Carbomb despite being cut off
Pred looks around and sees that they're completely surrounded by Alien eggs. Pred decides that he'll be damned if he's cleaning all this up, so he activates his nuclear bomb and pitches it into the middle of the room. Pred then engages in a round of Charades with DR, demonstrating with sign language "Thing go boom."
"It's a bomb?" DR asks wankily. Pred slaps her upside the head, wondering how the Human race has survived this long on such little brainpower. The two run like the Beatles in Hard Day's Night for the exit, and they get jumped just as they reach the bottom of the ice tunnel. An Alien tackles Pred and (conveniently) dislodges the shoulder cannon that would have solved every problem they'll face in the next scene in about 2 seconds. DR slaps some emergency retreat button on the freight cart attached to the winch at the top of the hole, and the cart roars up the tunnel apparently at speeds exceeding 70 miles an hour. That's a heck of a good motor they got there. Pred manages to shrug off the Alien and leaps onto the cart and (conveniently) forgets his shoulder cannon. Of course, this is the perfect time for the nuclear bomb to go off and this sets up the stereotypical "Heroes running away from the gigantic fireball" shot in every sci-fi and action movie ever made.
Their sled rockets out of the hole and they seem to HIT THE GROUND RUNNING as the blast destroys most of the whaling camp. Naturally Pred and DR have managed to outrun the huge blast, and are perfectly hunky dorey. The two look at each other and, for a horrible moment, I actually think they might kiss. Instead of getting the flock out of here, Pred removes his mask and brands DR's face with the same Rune of Shame that he bears. DR pinches her face ever so slightly to register the fact that she's experiencing excruciating burning pain. I'm simply in awe. Who is this woman, a Vulcan? It's like her head is carved out of wax! Who IS she? Who drained her emotions out?
Abruptly, the Alien Queen bursts from the ice and attacks the two. I'll say that again so you realize what just happened. The Alien Queen just managed to burrow through 2000 meters of solid ice all by herself using only her claws, somehow survived the Predator's gigantic bomb, and attacked the two in a frenzy. You might make a case that the Queen simply ran up the tunnel and buried herself under the ice, but you'd fail, because this displays a staggering degree of intelligence that the Aliens simply don't have. Maybe she was just making snow angels.
Seeing as how there's no giant airlock or huge pit of molten lead to throw the Queen into, I'm at a loss to predict how they'll actually kill her. Pred throws his whirly stars and wounds the Queen, but it's like fighting a tank with rubber bands. DR screams out a feral battle cry-- just kidding, she doesn't-- and charges into combat with her spear, looking completely blank-faced. The two poke at the Queen with their pigstickers and really only succeed in pissing her off. The Queen slaps Pred aside and starts chasing DR across the town.
Incredibly, Designated Ripley is able to outrun the primal alien terror that's easily 6 times her size at a dead run across open terrain for about 60 yards. In the process, she breaks the world record for the 100m dash. Now that's impressive.
DR hides under some kind of water tower which the Queen starts trying to topple by ramming her head into it. Just when things look bleak for DR, Pred rushes in and makes the save by spearing the Queen through the head. Staggered, the Queen impales Pred through the middle of the chest. DR manages to chain the Queen to the water tower using the shackles that are still dangling from it. She then topples the structure over a conveniently located cliff, which overlooks an even more conveniently located body of frigid water. The chained Queen gets dragged to the bottom of the water and spends the rest of her life chained up next to the robot kid from A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.
Alien: 3 Predator: 3 Humans: 3 Audience: Watching William Hung's music video
Pred's obviously dead meat, and attempts to share a touching death scene with DR, but she's completely unequipped with the facial expressions necessary to convey such tricky emotions as "mild guilt" or "sadness." I think her face pinches slightly, but that could mean anything. Appearing all around her, a group of other Predators decloak and immediately cart their fallen comrade away. Their leader is a grizzly predator with a shaggy face and a cape who sort of looks like Prince Thrakhath from the old Wing Commander games. He sees the mark on DR's face which translates in the Predator language to "This person is a complete wanker. Kill her immediately." So he presents her with the Predator culture's highest honor: the Phallic Shaft of Supreme Badassitude. He then realizes his error and plunges it into her ribcage. Actually he just flourishes his cape around in a fey manner and they all take off in their ship.
"Oh snap," DR thinks as they fly off, "I really should tell them that Pred had one of those alien things inside him. Oh well." Now that everyone from the ship is dead, it'll be interesting to see how she gets back since there's nobody left to pilot the freighter back home or fly the helicopter. Meanwhile back on the Predator mothership, they've interred the fallen warrior in a place of honor near the window, and the instant their backs are turned, an Alien bursts out of his chest. It's got great timing, don't you think? I wonder how the Alien actually survived, since the Queen thrust her tail directly into his chest where the implanted chestbuster usually hangs out. It should have killed it. But then that would mean this wouldn't wouldn't be blighted with the inevitable sequel.
Okay, it's not much of a bright side, but maybe in that one maybe the Aliens and Predators will actually fight each other for longer than 5 minutes. It's movies like this that offer devastating evidence that there is no God, and if there is, He hates us.