The latest attempt to re-boot this alien hunter franchise comes with one huge advantage – Aliens v Predator. Paul WS Anderson’s utter desecration of the series by deciding the creatures had to be only 12A scary and closely resemble video game characters left the films moribund. Under the producing gaze of Robert Rodriguez, they have reverted back to what made the film successful in the first place.
A disparate group of mercenaries and trained killers (including Adrien Brody, Alice Braga and Danny Trejo) crash land in a dense jungle but soon realise they are not on earth and that humans have fallen down the fod chain.
Originality was obviously not on the agenda here, to such an extent that the soundtrack is copied almost verbatim from Alan Silverstri’s original score. Although a bit of a cheat, this is no bad thing as it builds an atmosphere of impeding attack better than any line of tension filled dialogue.
Rather than a group of 1980s musclemen, Hollywood has realised they should be equal opportunity slaughterers. A diverse band of badasses from a member of the Yakuza to ex-Russian military to a death row prisoner all get their chance at having their spinal chord turned into a curtain rail. However the firepower on show is strictly old school with the mini gun making a welcome re-appearance.
All you can really hope for is some carnage and big time human Predator smackdowns and on this front the films comes up short – just. An advanced breed of hunting aliens may look more gruesome but seem to be inflicted with the shooting ability of Stormtroopers and apart from a samurai sword/Predator blade fight, the confrontations fall short on the adrenaline scale.
Adrien Brody was a brave casting choice, an attempt to provide some gravitas to proceedings. He projects plenty of machismo with his gruff voice and uncaring character but still looks like Woody Allen when compared to Arnie. An Oscar counts for nothing when all you have to do is chew scenery and take your shirt off. The remaining cast of lesser lights have to work incredibly hard to make their detestable characters in any way likeable. Otherwise the peril of impending death to causes nothing more than a Gallic shrug with the audience. Even Topher Grace, who adds some nice comedic value to counterpoint the testosterone on show, has an arc that goes from baffling to disappointing.
It’s not a terrible film by any means but I doubt anyone will be clamouring to re-make this in another two decades.