For anyone who saw Godzilla vs. Kong and thought, “I wish this was shorter,” cast your attention back to 2004 sci-fi/action crossover Alien vs. Predator.
An archeological team is lured into a buried pyramid by the Predators for use as bait in hunting Xenomorphs, having grown as bored of preying on humans in Predator 2 as we were watching it. The scientists decide to help the Predators defeat the Aliens for the safety of humanity, which would be an interesting allegory for arming dangerous regimes were it not directed by resident schlock-jock Paul W. S. Anderson, who approaches the material like one of his contemporaneous Resident Evil films – ie. not like a film at all but a tedious video game cutscene.
While the quality of a Predator movie is usually directly proportional to how long it waits before revealing the creature (Predator and Predators good, Predator 2 and The Predator bad), this is the exception that proves the rule. More Alien vs. Procrastinator, it spends half the film following expressionless people literally stumbling from room to room before delivering the action promised by the title, frankly the only indicator of what is actually meant to be going on.
In the worst blocked scene of all time (below), we learn that Lance Henriksen’s character (presumably related to the one in Alien 3 although this is never explained) wants to claim the pyramid for his communications company (also never explained). Inside the pyramid they find reams of exposition written in hybrid Egyptian and Aztec hieroglyphics (which fortunately they know how to read) that explain how the Predators were once worshipped on Earth as gods, and taught humans to build pyramids, thereby proving Ben Carson right.
This meandering first half rips off Mission: Impossible 2, The Thing and seemingly any property that isn’t Alien or Predator. Characters wander aimlessly around brightly lit caves only accessible by comically falling down a series of shafts, saying things like, “We just found the equivalent of a DVD player in Moses’ living room.” Not so much a movie as a pyramid scheme, the production is marred by Laser Quest visuals, Natural History Museum animatronics and basically zero famous people. Even Freddy vs. Jason had Kelly Rowland and Freddy Krueger.
When we finally get to the titular showdown, Alien vs. Predator does what it says on the tin. For all his incompetence, Anderson cannot be accused of neglecting poster opportunities, practically freeze-framing head-to-head shots. It also has the world’s greatest tagline (“Whoever wins… We lose.”), applicable to every Tory leadership contest. Looking back, this is neither the poorest Predator movie (it doesn’t feature talking Predators or overt racism) nor the worst cinematic crossover – at least since Batman v Superman snatched the title from its yawning mandibles.