Ding! It’s round two of Alien Vs Predator, and in the left corner wellllcome… The Predalien: half Alien, half Predator, a dreadlocked death machine weighing in at least 300 pounds, with toxic saliva and messy mating habits. In the right corner: the mother of all Predators, weighing in for absolutely no plausible reason whatsoever other than to wreak maximum havoc. The venue: the quaint town of Gunnison, Colorado, with plenty of diner, picket-fence and high-school backdrops for our angry extraterrestrial to vaporise in the crossfire. Seconds away…
When you hire a couple of effects supervisors - Colin and Greg Strause (now portentously billing themselves as The Brothers Strause) - to direct your movie, it’s an admission from the get-go that cinematic staples such as plot, dialogue, acting and, er, directing are all going to take a back seat. It must have seemed a stellar idea on paper; after all, isn’t basic beast-on-beast FX action where the money’s at? So, given the decision, you don’t expect hairpin narrative twists or bold emotional insights. But you do expect to see what the hell is going on. Instead, much of the ruckus is rendered almost unwatchable, hidden in dark, dark rooms or obscured by heavy, blinding rain. Given their pedigree – the siblings worked on 300, Babel, Poseidon and the X-Men movies – it’s a baffling disappointment that they score so low on their specialist subject.
Less surprising are the hopelessly two-dimensional characters (played by a dreary D-list of non-entities) clumsily inserted into proceedings for target practice: the bullying high-school jock; the hot chick who secretly loves the school nerd; the bad boy trying to make good; the local sheriff out of his depth. With little more to do than try to get out of the monsters’ way while screaming things like “The government doesn’t lie!” and “People are dying, we need guns!”, you wonder why the Strauses didn’t go the whole hog and CGI them too…
With a spike in the gore quotient, hardcore fans left baying for Paul WS Anderson's blood after the first AVP may be happy. Those interested in anything more than a barely comprehensible bitch-slap between two ill-treated icons should take a rain-check.
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