Alien vs. Predator is a cross-over of 1979's classic horror movie "Alien" and its sequels and 1987's action-packed "Predator" and its sequel.
To quickly wrap up the main story - we have three different parties in one place: A couple of young Predators seeking to become fully-fledged warriors through battle with the Aliens, who are vicious as ever, and an expedition of humans, who are caught up in the middle unexpectedly and have to fight for survival.
Just having read the 1994 novel "Aliens vs. Predator: Prey", I could not help noting the many similarities. Basically, the film makers just changed the setting, simplified the story and added Lance Henriksen (Bishop) as a bait for Alien fans. It is interesting to note that while the movie is rather unpopular with most fans, the novel is not, despite the similarities (the much critisized human-predator alliance for example is a plot element that was taken from the novel).
So, what is positive about AVP? It has lots of action. Especially the fights between aliens and predators are enjoyable. Also, any alien fan will like seeing as much as possible of his beloved hated monsters. The animations have a good feel to them, the aliens sleek and beautiful in all their horror, the predators menacing and powerful and with a certain coolness factor. The claustrophobic setting, an old underground Aztec temple, seems a good choice, too.
Now, the negative points. The acting in the movie is really rather mediocre. The characters are for the most part standard and boring, too. It shouldn't bother too much since most of the human cast don't live long enough to seriously bother us with their performance anyway. Still, it wouldn't have hurt to have at least one memorable character. The story is just barely enough to make the crossover plausible, but gives us nothing else. They merely added enough story to explain how the three parties ended up in one place and that's that.
Judging by this, one would think the movie pretty much fulfills what it was meant to be - cool action flick featuring aliens and predators. Not exactly thought-invoking, but entertaining.
So why did the movie still fail to satisfy the fans?
To put it in a nutshell, because of people's expectations. Most of the fans expected either another "Alien" or another "Predator". What they got was neither. AvP is nowhere near the class of the first two (even count the third in, if you will) Alien movies. It does not have the creepy atmosphere, its horrors do not seem as real, the tension isn't there. You can not identify with the characters as much, they too do not feel like real people. The film simply does not offer a "Ripley-figure". Ok, so they had Lance Henriksen - but really, he added little and one couldn't shake the feeling that he was only thrown in to make the fans happy. Are we that easy to satisfy? Apparently not. The lack of gore probably added a lot to the fans frustrations - AvP was made PG-13. Naturally, fans have been expecting differently, as all preceding Alien and Predator movies were very violent and gory. Predator fans were disappointed about the weak portrayal of their favourite monsters. While the movie does try to explain this, it's simply not what fans wanted. And of course the alliance between human and predator was deemed ridiculous at best. Where was the kick-ass lone and proud warrior alien we have been expecting?
To come to a conclusion, this movie is ok for you if:
- you want an entertaining, technically well done action flick
- you like seeing aliens and predators in action
- you can live with a somewhat weak story
- you do not expect this to be in the same league as previous "Alien" or "Predator" films
Personally, I thought the film was enjoyable, and I even kind of liked the human-predator alliance, questionable as it may be, simply because I view this film completely without connection to the older ones and don't let it muddy the memories of them.