Let’s watch the stupid spin off.
I had forgotten about the existence of this film when I began this viewing, so I technically lied about Predator 2 causing a 20-year lapse—it was only 14.
Our film this time takes the bold (stupid) new (totally corporate) direction of making it PG-13. I guess they assumed everyone developed Benjamin fucking Button syndrome and went back in age, so now they would want a PG-13 version of the film.
It is hard to even know where to start on this one. We follow a team of meat shields as they travel to a recently discovered pyramid under the arctic. Lance Henriksen makes an appearance, but he is clearly slumming as Weyland, the financier and main link to the alien franchise. We get some other non-characters, but I honestly couldn’t tell any of them apart long enough to give a shit. We have some scientists, a guide, some other scientists, some dick corporate guys, some drillers, and a whole bunch of people who are only there to die with no blood.
How do you fuck up a movie about monsters fighting each other?
Anyway, the hidden temple is actually housing an imprisoned alien queen, who was captured (I guess) by the predators when they came to earth and taught us how to build pyramids long ago.
I blame this movie for the idiocy that is ancient aliens.
Anyway, the predators are trying to breed the ultimate prey, so they come every hundred years to fight aliens (though it seems like they usually lose and have to detonate their atomic bombs). This begs the question of how stupid are the predators? The main threat of the alien race seems to be their vicious infectious rates, and how easily they can multiply. They do seem slightly toughened up here to go toe-to-toe with the predators, but the predators also seem dumb.
I think this is the biggest problem. Both monsters (I know they are both aliens, but I don’t feel like writing Xenomorph over and over—no idea why—so I am just going to call them monsters) seem efficient at slaughtering humans, but the predators get their asses kicked pretty quick by the aliens. Granted they don’t have their guns (for stupid reasons) and this seems to be the best way to deal with the aliens.
We also never address the sheer idiocy of breeding a race that can so easily spread. The predators are never presented as stupid, but this seems drastically short-sighted.
Do the humans matter? Not really. Too many of them are slaughtered too quickly to matter at all. There also isn’t really a distinguishing factor about them. One dude has kids, another has a bottle cap, but then he becomes a badass over the guide who was hired for being a badass, and that all seemed kind of dumb. I tried to pay more attention to the characters, but whenever they talked all I could hear was insects chirping.
The tragedy of this one is that there are some good moments. When the predators and aliens brawl, there is some excitement to be had. These moments are fun, but too far apart and too short-lived to earn the film’s title.
The set design of the abandoned whaling village is great. I enjoyed these scenes, but once we are in the temple it just becomes dark rooms with stone-laden angles all over. Likewise, the predators still look cool and the alien queen looks great. However, we don’t get enough of them. I think if you cut the scenes without either an alien or a predator, you’d have about 30 minutes left—maybe.
Too much time is spent with our idiot humans. I don’t care about these people because I know in this sort of film, they are all just fodder to the meat grinder. We also have forced conflict as the lead guide (Sanaa Lathan—I forgot her character’s name, and the one listed on IMDB rings no bells. Mind you, I just watched the movie) wants to spend more time preparing the team. However, any concerns of ill preparation evaporate as it becomes clear that there is no preparation for getting into the middle of an epic battle. What these characterizations were designed to do completely fails. Instead of building up the characters it showcases the ill-conceived nature of them.
The original Predator had a sense of humor and the original Alien had a sense of wonder. Neither of those features are present here, and instead we are left with a messy action flick that does no service to either franchise. At this point, both series seemed to be in rough waters, so why anyone would combine them is beyond me.
The saddest part is this one is actually better than the disaster of a sequel coming next.