Dir: Paul W. S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat; Resident Evil)
I was left out of the great AVP fest in its initial release. And I want to be one of the cool kids. So, On Demand to the rescue. Like the Predator, I have marked my flesh after having won the battle with a most fiendish foe, Paul W. S. Anderson and his deadly weapon of lameness.
It makes sense that the man specializes in video game movies, because this film is a video game narrative. Equip your character, have some training time, and then descend into some sort of dungeon or haunted house or abandoned space station and encounter a series of increasingly powerful monsters, solve puzzles, collect treasure, and then gang up on the big mother monster at the end.
My favorite part of the film? How this ancient pyramid, miles underneath a polar ice cap, is not cold enough that you need a heavy jacket or that we can see your breath. I mean, the most basic scenic element, the freaking cold in the ice palace, is not even done properly. I guess the Predators have a space heater or something. And the purpose behind having the pyramid change configuration every ten minutes escapes me. It seems like a lot of work to build that thing (out of stone, no less, I guess the space age metals they use to build their weapons weren't available, so they made humans cut several thousand tons of rocks and drag them to the pole, dig a giant hole, and build the intricate interlocking pieces to make thousands of configurations there). But if the Predator's know it is going to shift, then what is the advantage?
I know the real reason that Anderson employed that device. Becuase he thought Krull was the best fantasy movie ever, and couldn't wait to employ references to it in AVP. He even has the ornate throwing star/boomerang thing. I kept waiting for a Cyclops and a gay guy in a Robin Hood outfit to swoop in on some fire stallions to save the day. What, Willow was not good enough to rip off, Paul W. S. (meaning, not the good one) Anderson?
What saves this movie from just being boring is the fascinating attempt at anthropology in the script. The Predators had the pyrmaids built. Under an ice cap. As a warrior training camp. Oh, and they are Gods. And the entire history of archaeology couldn't crack that nut. You know what, I love that narrative. It shows the writers were thinking through the plausibility of Alien vs. Predator on Earth. The script meeting must have been: "Hey guys, how is the audience going to buy that the two monsters just happened to show up on the Earth to duke it out? We need to explain how that happened. It'll blow their minds!"
Even the end battle fails to deliver. The Predator essentially becomes Al Harris, all shoulder pads and dreadlocks, unable to beat the Alien without a human's help. This is the guy that took down the Body? The Predators, like the Packers, have really gone down hill.
Thanks, guys. Thanks for making me jealous so that I had to watch this thing. Next time, when you see some piece of crap, just keep it to yourself.