A private satellite encounters an unidentified source of heat in chilly Antarctica and it is found to be a pyramid buried deep underground. An investigating team of top archaeologists, engineers and scientists headed by Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) and Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) head for Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica.
There Predator warriors try to kill the offspring of a captive alien queen. Cue the long-awaited battle of the horror movie giants from the Alien and Predator movies.
Paul W S Anderson’s screenplay and direction for 2004’s AVP are busy, inventive and attractive but they lack finesse and dynamism. However, he does turn in lots of scary and thrilling moments in this schlocky monster movie that packs a mean flash, bang and wallop even if it misses out on the serious horror stuff that made the originals such classics.
In the story, it turns out that Bouvetøya Island is inhabited by an unknown species of aliens, who set about to hunt down the team members. Meanwhile, a trio of coming-of-age Predators have arrived to collect the skulls of the aliens as trophies, and the scientists are caught in the crossfire of a deadly battle between the two warring species.
Lacking heavy weight and real class, AVP might be considered a slight letdown, maybe. But it’s still a fun monster movie and it did the inestimable service of getting the two series reanimated. The idea of a battle of the monsters, which spawned comics and video games, was triggered by the moment Danny Glover enters the Predator spacecraft in Predator 2 and an alien skull can be seen among the creature’s trophies.
The release version is a 15 certificate and contains moderate horror but doesn’t lay on the gore. Three versions: (extended) and (unrated).
Anderson calls it ‘The ultimate face-off action movie. Gripping stuff.’
© Derek Winnert 2013 Classic Movie Review 564
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