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Still shot from the movie: Alien vs. Predator.

Alien vs. Predator

The recycling team at Fox studios has merged two of the studio's sci-fi franchises-Alien and Predator-into one film, which has a title that sounds like a boxing event -- with a script to match. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: C- --
Violence: D
Sexual Content: A
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: A
Run Time: 101
Theater Release: 12 Aug 2004
Video Release: 24 Jan 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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The recycling team at Fox studios is focusing on more than office paper and soda cans. Now they've merged two of the studio's sci-fi franchises-Alien and Predator-into one film, with a title that sounds like a boxing event… and a script to match.

In this corner sits the Alien Queen. Actually she's 2,000 feet below the Antarctic surface, just waiting to lay her eggs… a momentous event that happens every hundred years. As luck would have it, just days earlier a team of scientists sensed the presence of some strange heat source radiating from under the ice. Funded by billionaire industrialist (isn't there always one of those in these movies?) Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), and led by the adventuring environmentalist Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan), the group-which is big enough to ensure many deaths at the hands of slimy creatures-begins to pilot their way to the frozen land.

In the other corner are the Predators. Tall bipeds that look like Darth Vader meets Tarzan, these guys use the Aliens' offspring to hone their killing skills. For them, Earth is a convenient training point, one they have used since the dawn of our civilization. (During such visits they engineered many ancient wonders, like the Egyptian pyramids.) Knowing the hatching party is about to begin, these guys fly their advanced spacecraft to the planet's frozen south and bore a hole into the ice.

That leaves the smart humans, who arrive a tad later, confused. They realize the huge tunnel has appeared within the past day and nothing on Earth could drill something that big and deep in so short a time. Not wanting someone else to claim their discovery first, the gang begins their descent into the darkness.

Below, they discover a huge combo Egyptian/Aztec temple housing the mechanisms necessary for little baby Aliens to be created as target practice for the more intelligent Predators. Caught in the middle of this undetected, but centuries old process, the scientists begin a battle no one can win.

Or at least that's what suggested by the film's tagline ("Whoever wins… we lose"), but after seeing this film, I think the "we" specifically applies to the audience.

Perhaps to save the expense of CGI enhancements, the creative department cast tall actors in costumes to portray the Predators (the main character is a seven-foot-tall, former basketball player). This decision contributes to the production's overall look as a cheap monster movie-and the slimy Aliens do nothing to improve the situation.

But scoffs about the campy effects aside, this film still isn't recommendable for children due to intense violent depictions. The Alien babies pop out of human stomachs, a creature's brain explodes, and many people are impaled or ferociously beaten with bloody results. Profanities are sparse (not surprising, considering the last half of the film contains hardly any dialogue), although it manages to include a single use of the sexual expletive and a second anticipated use.

Hardcore fans of the original films may find this meeting of competing monsters to be a satisfying way to spend your box office dollars. For the rest of us, you'll be happy when the bell brings this alien encounter to an end.

Alien vs. Predator is rated PG-13: violence, language, horror images, slime and gore.

Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova
Studio: 2004 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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