What a colossal missed opportunity. Director Paul W.S. Anderson showed surprising flair with Resident Evil, yet when his self-described "fanboy" ode to the Alien and Predator (but mostly Alien) franchises drops trou, it's pretty much Wilted Willie City. How does one fritter away a dern-near ingenious backstory, the dizzyingly inspired casting of CineSchlocker heartthrob Lance Henriksen AND the most eagerly anticipated brawl betwixt the galaxy's baddest beasties? You start by removing the human element with PG-13 jump cuts anytime an Earthling's introduced to his or her own mortality by extraterrestrials! (However, if one's feeling particularly grisly, you hang a half-second on an across-the-room shot of some poor yayhoo's impalement.) Goldang it! It's as if they spent the entire FX budget having "Snow Business" ship a gazillion tons of phony white stuff to recreate Antarctica in Prague instead of going for the gruesome gusto we Predator fans savor. Yes, the weaponry is COOL, but it's what said gizmos do to human flesh that makes audiences squirm! Just tacking a foot-and-a-half more reach on our Rastafarian warrior's blades, while swell and all, doesn't cut it. Neither does shoehorning Sanaa Lathan in as some sort of sad Sista Ripley who never once does anything remarkable enough to warrant her character's screentime -- let alone her laughable role in the final reel. At least the THREE MINUTE fracas between an Alien and Predator will send CineSchlockers atop their sweat-stained couches with cheers! Nothing quite like seeing an "Ugly Mother [email protected]#%er" sling one of H.R. Giger's critters around like a Louisville Slugger!!! Although Paul stalls for an HOUR before ever letting 'em touch gloves. That, minus 11 minutes of credits, doesn't leave much time for the remaining rounds, which for many, may prove an unintentional act of mercy. Yet, for all yours truly's frothing at the mouth, there's still enough intergalactic fisticuffs and golly-gee sci fi here to eek out a 3-star rating. Throw in a bucket of blood and at least ONE onscreen human fatality and this would've been a love fest. Heaven bless Mr. Henriksen for frog-throating his way through this sucker like no other. If only he'd been given more to do! Doesn't seem to phase him, though, as he still hadn't come down off his runner's high during the taping of his chipper commentary with Mr. Anderson and Ms. Lathan. No breasts. 16 corpses. Penguin spooking. Value-sized Rubik's Pyramid. Chest bursting. Icky egg-laying closeups. Gratuitous Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman clip. Acid slinging. Multiple gunbattles. Yep, Sanaa can't even finish Predator's signature line in a PG-13 movie: "YOU ARE ONE UGLY MOTHER FU ... !!!"
2004, 100 mins, 2.35:1 anam, DTS & DD 5.1, Two commentaries [the second devoted to FX], Documentary [23 mins], AVP comic covers, Three inconsequential deleted scenes, Unrelated promo reels. Note: "Extended version" merely tacks on a quickie pre-credit scene at the whaling station in 1904.
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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.