AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

(In theaters, August 2004) Admit it: what did you expect with a title like that? The good news is that the film delivers more or less what’s promised by the title: A B-grade movie that doesn’t try too hard in trying to please the fan-boys. Some winks and nods are cute (Lance Henrickson’s role, for instance), but as the movie progresses, it becomes more and more obvious that Alien vs Predator is, faithfully enough, fan fiction brought to the screen. And fairly dumb fan-fiction at that: On paper, it’s scarcely distinguishable from the tons of truly wretched fan-fiction to be found everywhere on the Internet: flat characters; clichés repeated with gravitas (“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, “I’d rather have it and not need it than…”), scenes and beats stolen from the previous films in the franchise; as well as numerous errors of physics, continuity and logic. What’s worse is that the direction is scarcely better than average: While there are one or two good shots (I’m thinking of the “Pyramid Swarm” or the ironic “bullet-time face-hugger”), Paul Anderson (Resident Evil, Event Horizon) has done much better in the past. Worse; he’s the one who wrote the script, and you only need to read one or two interviews with the guy to understand that whatever talents he has are solely in the area of Special Effects-heavy direction. Oh well; dumb as it is, Alien vs Predator at least has the decency to move at a good clip and seldom wastes any time. As a result, it feels a lot more satisfactory than it really deserves. And that’s what I mean when I talk about a decent B-grade movie.

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