Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Random Reels: Alien vs Predator

Hey folks I am back again. Sorry for the delay but the Subspecies Audio Review took almost two days to cut, edit and complete. That being said we are doing some Random Reels today and I thought I would describe a film that was neither disappointing or amazing but really lackluster as a whole. A film combining two franchises that should have accelerated to the echelons of cinema and not in the bottom of the Best Buy five dollar barrel. This is Alien Vs Predator.

His name is Tusky.

This particular film had high hopes from anyone playing the arcade game of Aliens vs Predator based on a Dark Horse title started in 1993 which storyline has nothing to do with humanity and it is just Aliens and Predators going to town, along with Activison releasing a Super Nintendo version of the arcade game. With action figures, video games in development, these two terrifying creatures of space were held to a standard as high as the Universal movie monsters of yesteryear. So Fox green-lights a film treatment that was in development hell. Deciding if it should be a new Alien movie, will Ridley Scott or James Cameron come back for it, can they get Sigourney Weaver and/or Michael Behn back and so on. So how did this concept disappoint so many? Well...okay I'll tell you as best I can.

Looks like a remodeled Shang Sun temple.

Director/writer Paul W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, Soldier, The Sight, Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, Death Race,Death Race 2 and Pompeii) tells a tale involving humanity, the xenomorphs (Aliens) and the hunters (Predators) and an ancient pyramid deep in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. Recorded by Weyland Industries satellite, a huge energy beam strikes the frozen region from the sky. For what purpose? No one can say. Owner of said satelite and growing corporation, Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen of The Terminator, Aliens, Alien 3, Pumpkinhead, Powder, Millennium, X-Files, Man's Best Friend, Madhouse, Hellraiser: Hellworld and Screamers: The Hunting) has video confirmation of something, a huge structure buried miles under the ice and wants to take an expedition to discover what it is.  Well being an Anderson movie you know this cast will consist of expendable one-dimensional characters who will tell the audience in clunky dialogue who they are and why they are so vital to the team. Anderson favorites include the very talented Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan and Liz May Brice. Yeah they show up in more than a few of these flicks and their roles as body count NEVER EVER changes.

Make two Blade sequels without me? What were they thinking?

To lead this dangerous trek we need a bad ass and there she is. Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan of Blade, Out of Time, Nip/Tuck, Powder Blue, Something New, Wonderful World, Tilda, Contagion, Boss and Shots Fired), mountaineer, trained medic and overall bad ass. Weyland describes what they will be facing and she puts her foot down worried that the expedition will be over before it begins. Some of these cats don't look cardio ready enough but Weyland will go forward with or without her help. So off into the tundra they go.

Meanwhile miles above the Earth, a landing party comprised of three predators proceed past this forgotten oil refinery/whaling town and head below the ice to find...a big honking pyramid somehow almost perfectly preserved from even these harsh climate changes. Let's be clear. This stonework is completely intact after years of no direct contact with the existing weather patterns. Our team of expendable (Not in the Stallone and Statham way) archeologists want the audience to believe it is an Aztec temple and the hieroglyphs speak of a hunting ground as a rite of passage to being full hunters. An Aztec temple in the Antarctic, possibly Cambodian. Boy, that will be a big shock for Mexico won't it? Oh and before we get into the sweet, sweet action this SciFi/Horror movie is rated PG-13. Conclusion on that? More young butts in seats equals a viewing pleasure.

Action scene wise, this is visually awesome. Watching two of the nastiest critters going at it in full death match looks amazing. You can hear every growl, snarl, bones cracking, masonry being shattered. Awesome sauce.

The downside is the dialogue is typical of Anderson creations in that it has no depth, no time for character development and no one is particularly interesting at all. Exception our bad ass mountaineer, the rest could have been replaced with voice actors and CGI green screen characters. I couldn't remember a single character name attached aside from Weyland and Alex and I have a near perfect memory. Bottom line, the story is crap but the visuals are amazing. The characters are dull and unfinished but the FX, props and makeup are astounding. My advice? Hit mute, turn on close caption and watch it unfold.

Sadly, Kevin Peter Hall did not get to reprise his Predator role as he died in 1991. the animatronic Alien Queen was rigged with a motion control remote allowing her movements to be recorded digitally and saved for implementation for the film. 

Guess the queen is into BDSM??