Here’s one where I let the critics psych me out. I should have plunked down the 8 bucks while this was on the big screens… and am finding that I’m thoroughly unimpressed with the Rotten Tomatoes crew’s general assessment of this sucker.
Now, given that all of these are fundamentally B movies, I think that this got panned for the same reason the first one got trashed. Yes, some of the acting is serious cardboard. But, so what? It’s a B movie. That’s not what bothers people.
The first AVP got in trouble because the audience was expecting an Aliens movie, when in fact, what they got was a Predator movie — much less serious, much more cheesy, much more emphasis on cool fight scenes. The directors clearly wanted to even up that score this time around, and it showed throughout. Just like in the Predator movies, people you like get killed — in fact, that’s one of the true strengths of the franchise. BUT, If you went into this expecting a Predator movie… well, you’ll have your scenes here and there, but, guess what? You’re in the wrong flick.
The movie takes a much darker tone and if you’re a fan of the franchises, you’re warned right from the very beginning. Even before they finish opening up the credits, one quietly hears the sound effect of the motion detector from Aliens. Slowly that moves into the ballistic tracer sound effect of the Predator. But whereas in a Predator movie, the emphasis is on the conflict between the Predator and the Alien(s), in this, like the Alien movies, the emphasis is on the threat posed to humanity — a threat which goes up to and including what happens when Predators take down a hospital maternity ward. It’s easy to understand why the protagonists are pissed off that the Army nuked Gunnison… but at the same time, it’s really hard to argue that they shouldn’t have. And the ending is so solidly within the facehugger genre that it almost hurts… seamlessly tying the two crossovers to Alien.
Needless to say, the maternity-ward scene was enough to knock my wife, just getting out of her first trimester, right out of the action. Don’t show this (more than once?) to folks with a high Squeam quotient. But it’s good enough that I’ll re-watch it if there’s time (and my wife’s safely asleep). Does it measure up to Alien or Aliens? No. But it’s clearly a far, far step above the total suckage that was Alien 3, and is easily on a level with any of the Predator flicks.