"Alien Vs. Predator" was generally regarded as a disappointment by fans and critics, but the movie gained enough interest on the fact that people wanted to see the titular battle that it rounded up $80M theatrically, not to mention probably a bunch more on DVD. While probably not a great profit versus the $60M budget after one works in advertising and all that jazz, the studio was obviously pleased enough to greenlight another. Fans...well, probably not so pleased.
The sequel is the debut of Colin Strause and Greg Strause, and one wonders why the task wasn't handed a helmer(or helmers) with more experience. The picture isn't good - and it's even worse than the first "AVP" - but, unlike the first picture, at least it's pretty darn funny. After this, one has to imagine that this franchise - as well as both separate franchises - have now "alien"ated (hehe, get it?) their core fans.
The film opens with a ship crashing into a small mountain town (not South Park) and out pops an alien/predator hybrid, along with a series of the familiar face-huggers, who start latching on to people quickly, starting with a father/son team out in the woods hunting. Elsewhere, a predator is sent out to try and stop the hybrid and the facehuggers. When the military is sent in in order to try and stop the creatures, they find themselves in the midst of an ambush. The people left request government help, but the government has other plans on getting rid of the creatures.
The only humans to get in the way (I mean, try and stop the alien war going on in the forest nearby, but manage to do just about everything wrong in their attempt) include: Sheriff Eddie Morales (John Ortiz), his younger brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis), former soldier Kelly (Rieko Aylesworth) and a few other cardboard characters.
The film's human drama - which includes some ridiculous sub-"One Tree Hill"-style teen drama - takes up a fairly substantial portion of the film, but is oddly entertaining for the fact of how weak the acting is and how silly the dialogue is. The battle sequences, which become somewhat more frequent as the film goes on, are often too dark to see all that much. The less said about the ending - which, of course, sets things up for a third picture - the better.
Overall, looking at it on its own, "Alien Vs. Predator 2" is a totally ridiculous, "so bad its kind of entertaining" B-movie. When looking at it in comparison to the "Alien" films or "Predator", the film pales immensely. While it isn't as unintentionally goofy as the first "AVP", it's not even as well made as that rather lackluster effort.
This is the "unrated" edition of the picture, which mainly serves to offer up more graphic action sequences. Immensely helpful is an indicator that can be turned on that allows a little symbol to show up in the bottom corner when new footage that wasn't in the theatrical cut shows.
VIDEO: "AVP 2" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered generally satisfactory image quality, with average sharpness/detail and some occasional mild artifacting and edge enhancement. However, this is still not the final copy, so I can't make any final comments. The retail copy will hopefully offer better image quality.
SOUND: "AVP 2" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. The film's soundtrack, as one might expect, is all-out aggressive, with plenty of surround use to deliver the creepy sounds of the creatures scattering about as they plan their attack, as well as other sounds (gunfire, explosions and whatnot), ambience and some reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was superb, with deep bass, crisp effects and clear (fortunately and unfortunately) dialogue.
EXTRAS: Directors Colin Strause and Greg Strause join producer John Davis on one commentary, while Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis offer up their thoughts on a second track. It is really kind of difficult to listen to these commentaries and have the participants chat about giving the fans what they want. Woodruff and Gillis even plug their book. Aside from those issues, the commentaries offer a decent amount of detail about the production - things that were not able to be done due to the budget, working with the cast, story changes, effects, behind-the-scenes tales and other challenges.
A series of featurettes are offered: "Prepare For War" (general "making of"), "Fight to the Finish" (post-production), "The Nightmare Returns" (creating the aliens), "Crossbreed" (creating the Predalien) and "Building the Predator Homeworld". We also get still galleries, 2 trailers for the film and trailers for other Fox flicks.
Final Thoughts: "Alien Vs. Predator 2" is going to be mild rental fun for B-movie fans wanting a "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" night with some pizza and beer. Fans of the "Alien" and "Predator" franchises might also want to take a rental, if only to watch in disbelief that this is the direction the franchise has gone in.
The Film D