REVIEW: ALIEN: COVENANT

CAST

Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight)
Carmen Ejogo (The Purge: Anarchy)
Amy Seimetz (Lovesong)
Callie Hernandez (La La Land)
Jussie Smollett (North)
Nathaniel Dean (Walking on Water)
Benjamin Rigby (Neighbours)
Uli Latukefu (Marco Polo)
James Franco (This is The End)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon tattoo)
Guy Pearce (Memento)

In a prologue, business magnate Peter Weyland speaks with his newly-activated synthetic, who chooses the name “David” after looking at a replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David. Weyland tells David that one day they will search for mankind’s creator together.In 2104 the colonization ship Covenant is bound for a remote planet, Origae-6, with two thousand colonists and a thousand embryos onboard. The ship is monitored by Walter, a newer synthetic physically resembling the earlier David model. The ship suddenly detects a nearby neutrino burst and is very shortly afterward damaged by the closely following explosive shockwave from the same source: a new star igniting. The shockwave impact kills some of the colonists. Walter orders the ship’s computer to wake the crew from stasis, but the ship’s captain, Branson, dies when his stasis pod malfunctions. While repairing the ship, the crew pick up a radio transmission from a nearby unknown planet. Against the objections of Daniels, Branson’s wife, succeeding captain Oram decides to investigate. As the Covenant remains in orbit, an expedition team descends to the planet’s surface and tracks the transmission’s signal to a crashed alien ship. While on the surface, security team members Ledward and Hallett are inadvertently infected with alien spores. Karine, Oram’s wife, helps the rapidly sickening Ledward back to the lander, where Maggie, wife of pilot Tennessee, quarantines them both inside the med-bay. An alien creature (Neomorph) bursts from Ledward’s back, killing him, then mauls Karine to death. Maggie tries to shoot the quickly growing creature but accidentally hits a gas tank, causing an explosion which destroys the lander and kills her. The Neomorph escapes to the planet’s surface while another such creature bursts from Hallett’s throat, killing him.The two Neomorphs attack the remaining crew members and kill Ankor. The crew manages to kill one of the aliens before David, who survived the Prometheus mission, rescues the crew and leads them to a city full of humanoid (Engineer) corpses. David tells them that upon his and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s arrival at the planet, their Engineer ship accidentally released a black liquid bioweapon which killed the native population, and that Shaw died when the ship crashed in the ensuing chaos. After the crew members tell David of their mission, they attempt to radio the Covenant for help, but the surviving Neomorph infiltrates the city and finds Rosenthal alone before decapitating her. David tries to communicate with the creature and is horrified when Oram kills it. Under Oram’s gunpoint, David reveals that the aliens are a result of his experimenting with the black liquid as a catalyst to create a new species. He leads Oram to an incubation chamber and tricks him into being embraced by an alien parasite (facehugger), which implants Oram with an embryo. Another alien creature (Xenomorph) soon erupts from Oram’s chest, killing him.As the others search for Oram and Rosenthal, Walter confronts David after realizing that David had deliberately unleashed the black liquid upon the Engineers. David explains that he believes humans are an inferior species and should not be allowed to colonize the galaxy. When Walter disagrees, David disables him and captures Daniels, revealing to her that he also murdered Shaw and used her corpse for his experiments. Walter reactivates himself and engages David, allowing Daniels to escape while Lope is attacked by the facehugger. Cole saves Lope before they are ambushed by the now mature Xenomorph, which kills Cole. Tennessee arrives in another lander to extract Daniels, Lope, and the seemingly victorious Walter. They kill the Xenomorph before docking with the Covenant; however, Lope had been implanted with another Xenomorph, which bursts from his chest on the ship before quickly maturing and killing crew members Ricks and Upworth. With Walter’s help, Tennessee and Daniels corner the creature in the Covenant’s airlock and flush it into space.The Covenant resumes its trip to Origae-6, and the surviving crew re-enters stasis. As Walter puts Daniels under, she realizes that he is actually David, but is unable to escape her stasis pod before falling asleep. Now in control of both the ship and its population, David regurgitates two alien embryos and places them in cold storage alongside the human embryos. He then uses Walter’s name to record a log stating that all crew members except Daniels and Tennessee were killed by the neutrino blast at the beginning of the film.Alien:Covenant finishes with a fantastic twist, sets itself up for an obvious sequel and elicits groans of frustration with its inconclusive ending. It’s an appetizer for a better film just large enough to whet your appetite.

 

REVIEW: ALIEN: RESURRECTION

 

CAST

Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Winona Ryder (Star Trek)
Michael Wincott (The Crow)
Dan Hedaya (The Book of Daniel)
J. E. Freeman (Miller’s Crossing)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Raymond Cruz (My Name Is Earl)
Kim Flowers (Another Day In Paradise)
Gary Dourdan (CSI)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Leland Orser (Seven)

In 2379, two hundred years after the events of Alien 3, military scientists on the space vessel USM Auriga create a clone of Ellen Ripley using DNA from blood samples taken before her death. The Alien queen’s DNA was mixed in with Ripley’s, and the clone grows up with an embryo inside it. The scientists extract the embryo, raise it and collect its eggs. The Ripley clone is kept alive for further study. As a result of the alien’s DNA inside her, she develops enhanced strength and reflexes, has acidic blood and a psychic link with the Aliens. Also, the alien’s genetic memory allows the clone to have some of Ripley’s memories.

A group of mercenaries, Elgyn, Johner, Christie, Vriess, Hillard and Call, arrive at Auriga on their ship Betty. They deliver several kidnapped humans in stasis. The military scientists use the humans as hosts for the Aliens, raising several adult Aliens for study.

The Betty crew soon encounters Ripley. Call recognizes her name and tries to kill her, suspecting she may be used to create more Aliens. The Aliens have already matured and escape confinement by killing off one of their own and using the acidic blood to burn through their enclosures. They damage the Auriga and kill the crew members who do not evacuate, including General Perez and Elgyn. Military scientist Dr. Wren reveals that the ship’s default command in an emergency is to return to Earth. Realizing this will unleash the Aliens on Earth, Ripley, the mercenaries, Wren, a Marine named DiStephano and surviving Alien host Purvis decide to head for the Betty and use it to destroy the Auriga. Along the way, Ripley encounters the grotesque products of failed attempts to clone Ripley. The surviving one begs Ripley to mercy kill her, and she complies.

As the group makes their way through the damaged ship, they swim through a flooded kitchen. They are chased by two Aliens. One is killed, while the other snatches Hillard. As they escape the kitchen, the Alien returns and blinds Christie, who sacrifices himself to kill the Alien so the others can escape. After Wren betrays the group, Call is revealed to be an android. Using her ability to interface with the Auriga’s systems, Call sets it on a collision course with Earth, hoping to destroy the Aliens in the crash. She cuts off Wren’s escape route, and directs the Aliens towards him. Ripley is captured by the Aliens, while the others head for the Betty. Wren shoots Purvis and takes Call hostage, demanding that she abort the collision. An injured Purvis attacks Wren and forces his head to his chest just as the Alien embryo he is carrying bursts through his ribcage, causing it to go through Wren’s head and kill them both. The survivors shoot the embryo.
Ripley is taken to the Alien nest, where the Queen, now possessing a womb as a result of the genetic mixture, gives birth to a Newborn, a Xenomorph with human traits. The hybrid Alien recognizes Ripley as its mother, kills the queen Alien and Dr. Jonathan Gediman, a scientist previously captured and cocooned. Ripley takes advantage of the distraction to escape and makes her way to the Betty.The Newborn reaches the Betty and attacks Call. It kills DeStephano when he tries to help her. Ripley finds her way onto the ship and saves Call by distracting the Newborn. Using her acidic blood, Ripley melts the glass of a window and pushes the Newborn towards the hole. It is violently sucked through the hole due to decompression. The countdown on the Auriga continues as the survivors escape in the Betty. The Auriga collides with Earth, causing a large explosion. Call and Ripley look down at Earth, and when Call asks what Ripley wants to do next, she says, “I’m a stranger here myself.” In an alternate ending that is used in some extended adaptations, the Betty lands in a ruined Paris.Alien: Resurrection is a good film, but, as keeping with part 3 rather than parts 1 and 2, it’s better more as another `stand-alone’ film. An Alien film shouldn’t just be `good,’ it should be absolutely amazing, setting the standards for adult sci-fi/horror to come. This one is a nice effort at the mistakes made in part 3, but it’s still inferior to Aliens.

REVIEW: ALIEN 3

CAST

Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Charles S. Dutton (Mimic)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Brian Glover (An American Werewolf In London)
Ralph Brown (The Crying Game)
Paul McGann (Queen of The Damned)
Danny Webb (Locke)
Lance Henriksen (Hellraiser 8)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Holt McCallany (Heroes)

A fire starts aboard the Colonial Marine spaceship Sulaco. The computer launches an escape pod containing Ellen Ripley, the young girl Newt, Hicks, and the damaged android Bishop; all four are in cryonic stasis. Scans of the crew’s cryotubes show an Alien facehugger attached to one of the members. The pod crash-lands on Fiorina “Fury” 161, a foundry facility and penal colony inhabited by male inmates with histories of physical and sexual violence. Inmates recover the pod and its passengers.

Ripley is awakened by Clemens, the prison doctor, who informs her that she is the sole survivor. Ripley is warned by the prison warden, Harold Andrews, that her presence may have disruptive effects. Ripley insists that Clemens perform an autopsy on Newt; he asks what they are looking for in the body of a girl who had obviously drowned. Ripley lies to him that they are investigating a possible case of cholera, but secretly fears that Newt has been impregnated with an alien embryo. Clemens firmly responds by stating that there hasn’t been a case of cholera reported for 200 years. The autopsy is conducted and no embryo is found. A funeral is held for Newt and Hicks and their bodies are cremated in the facility furnace. In another section of the prison, an alien bursts out of the chest of a prison dog named Spike. The Alien kills several members of the colony and returns outcast prisoner Golic to his previously psychopathic state. Ripley re-activates Bishop, who confirms that an Alien came with them to Fiorina in the escape pod. Ripley informs Andrews of her encounters with the Aliens and suggests everyone work together to hunt down and kill it. Andrews, highly skeptical, does not believe her story, but explains that the facility has no weapons; their only hope is the rescue ship being sent for Ripley by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

The Alien surprises Ripley and Clemens in the prison infirmary, whereupon it kills Clemens. It examines Ripley, but spares her and retreats. Andrews orders Aaron to take her back to the infirmary, but he is (ironically) ambushed and killed by the Alien. Ripley rallies the inmates and proposes they pour flammable toxic waste into the ventilation system and ignite it to flush out the Alien. However, the Alien’s intervention causes an explosion and several inmates are killed. With Aaron’s help, Ripley, who has not been feeling well this whole time, scans herself using the escape pod’s medical equipment and discovers the embryo of an Alien Queen growing inside her. She also discovers that Weyland-Yutani hopes to turn the Queen embryo and the adult Alien into biological weapon.

Deducing that the Alien will not kill her because of the embryo she carries, Ripley begs Dillon to kill her; he agrees only if she helps the inmates kill the adult creature first. They form a plan to lure the creature into the foundry’s molding facility, trap it via a series of closing doors, and drown it in molten lead. The bait-and-chase plan results in the death of every prisoner except Morse and Dillon. Dillon remains in the mold to distract the Alien, allowing it to tear him apart as Morse pours the molten lead onto them. The Alien is covered in molten metal but escapes the mold; Ripley activates the fire sprinklers, causing the Alien’s exoskeleton to cool rapidly and shatter, killing it.

The Weyland–Yutani commando team arrives, including a man who looks identical to Bishop and explains that he is Bishop’s creator. He tries to persuade Ripley to undergo surgery to remove the Queen embryo, which he claims will be destroyed. Knowing he is lying, Ripley refuses and steps back onto a mobile platform, which Morse positions over the furnace. The Weyland–Yutani team shoot Morse in the leg in a late effort to stop him; Aaron strikes the man with a wrench and is shot dead. The commando team begs Ripley to let them have the “magnificent specimen” but their efforts are in vain. Ripley throws herself into the furnace, just as the infant Alien Queen begins to erupt from her chest. Ripley grabs it to prevent it from escaping as they both fall into the furnace to their deaths. The facility is closed and the only surviving inmate, Morse, is led away.Panned by many for it’s undoubtedly bleak tone, butchered by the studio so the film didn’t make cinematic sense, and unappreciated at the time by most of the public, Alien 3 has gone on to be re-evaluated by many as, if not a masterpiece, at least a very fine example of the sci fi genre. It has now been re-edited (not by Fincher who has disowned the film) to include a whole host of originally discarded scenes that flesh out the story. The wonderful sunset bathed beach scenes with Ripley covered in oil and almost dead, saved by doctor Charles Dance, are beautifully shot. The dead bull scene is back and is much more powerful than the one it replaces. A whole plot-line regarding an inmate’s relationship with the Monster is reintroduced to great effect. This is a major reworking of the film and not just at weak here and there. Cast members were hired again to re-voice scenes for the restoration and to increase sound quality in some areas. The running time is increased by about 25 minutes.

REVIEW: ALIENS

CAST

Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Michael Biehn (The Terminator)
Paul Reiser (Life After Beth)
Lance Henriksen (Hellraiser 8)
Bill Paxton (Agents of SHIELD)
William Hope (Submerged)
Ricco Ross (Death Wish 3)
Jenette Goldstein (Titantic)

Ellen Ripley is rescued after drifting through space in stasis for 57 years. She is debriefed by her employers at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation over the destruction of her ship, the USCSS Nostromo; they are skeptical of her claims that an Alien killed the ship’s crew and forced her to destroy the ship.

The exomoon LV-426, where the Nostromo encountered the alien eggs, is now home to the terraforming colony Hadleys Hope. When contact is lost with Hadleys Hope, Weyland-Yutani representative Carter Burke and Colonial Marine Lieutenant Gorman ask Ripley to accompany Burke and a Colonial Marine unit to investigate the disturbance. Traumatized by her encounter with the Alien, Ripley initially refuses, but she relents after experiencing recurring nightmares about the creature; she makes Burke promise to destroy, and not capture, the Aliens. Aboard the spaceship USS Sulaco, she is introduced to the Colonial Marines, their commanding officer Lieutenant Gorman, and the android Bishop, toward whom Ripley is initially hostile following her experience with the traitorous android Ash aboard the Nostromo.

A dropship delivers the expedition to the surface of LV-426, where they find the colony deserted. Inside, they find makeshift barricades and signs of a struggle, but no bodies; two live facehuggers in containment tanks in the medical lab; and a survivor, a traumatized young girl nicknamed Newt who used the ventilation system to evade capture or death. The crew uses the colony’s computer to locate the colonists grouped beneath the fusion powered atmosphere processing station. They head to the location, descending into corridors covered in Alien secretions.

At the center of the station, the marines find the colonists cocooned, serving as incubators for the Aliens’ offspring. When the marines kill a newborn Alien, the Aliens are roused and ambush the marines, killing and capturing several. When the inexperienced Gorman panics, Ripley takes control of their vehicle and rams it through the nest to rescue marines Hicks, Hudson, and Vasquez. Hicks orders the dropship to recover the survivors, but a stowaway Alien kills the pilots, causing it to crash into the station. Ripley, Newt, Gorman, Burke and the remaining marines barricade themselves inside the colony command center.

Ripley discovers that Burke deliberately sent the colonists to investigate the derelict spaceship where the Nostromo crew first encountered the Alien eggs, believing he could become wealthy by recovering Alien specimens for use as biological weapons. She threatens to expose him, but Bishop informs the group of a greater danger: the power plant was damaged by the dropship crash, and will soon explode with the force of a 40-megaton thermonuclear weapon. He volunteers to crawl through several hundred meters of piping conduits to reach the colony’s transmitter and remotely pilot the Sulaco’s remaining dropship to the surface.

Ripley and Newt fall asleep in the medical laboratory, awakening to find themselves locked in the room with the two facehuggers, which have been released from their tanks. Ripley triggers a fire alarm to alert the marines, who rescue them and kill the creatures. Ripley accuses Burke of releasing the facehuggers so that they would impregnate her and Newt, allowing him to smuggle the Alien embryos past Earth’s quarantine, and of planning to kill the rest of the marines in hypersleep during the return trip so that no one could contradict his version of events. Before the marines can kill Burke, the electricity is cut and Aliens assault through the ceiling. Hudson, Burke, Vasquez and Gorman are all killed and Newt is captured.

Ripley and an injured Hicks reach Bishop in the second dropship, but Ripley refuses to abandon Newt. The group arrives at the processing station, allowing a heavily armed Ripley to enter the hive and rescue Newt. As they escape, the two encounter the Alien queen in her egg chamber. Ripley destroys the eggs, enraging the queen, who tears free from her ovipositor. Pursued by the queen, Ripley and Newt rendezvous with Bishop and Hicks on the dropship. All four escape moments before the station explodes with the colony consumed by the nuclear blast.

On the Sulaco, the group discover the Alien queen stowed away on the dropship’s landing gear. She emerges and tears Bishop in half. The queen advances on Newt, but Ripley clashes with her using an exosuit cargo-loader and expels it through an airlock into space. Ripley, Newt, Hicks and the badly damaged Bishop enter hypersleep for the return trip to Earth.This film cannot be praised enough. Although there are those who feel it is inferior to the first because it has more action and supposedly weaker characterisation, it has to be said that the two films are different entities, the first a horror, the second a sci-fi action. Like The Terminator, Cameron puts in many effective scares so that it transcends the genre, becoming something more.

REVIEW: ALIEN

CAST

Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Tom Skerritt (Poison Ivy)
Veronica Cartwright (The Witches of Eastwick)
Harry Dean Stanton (Avengers Assemble)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Ian Holm (The Hobbit)
Yaphet Kotto (Midnight Run)

The commercial spacecraft Nostromo is on a return trip to Earth with a seven-member crew in stasis: Captain Dallas, Executive Officer Kane, Navigator Lambert, Science Officer Ash, Warrant Officer Ripley, and Engineers Parker and Brett. Detecting a mysterious transmission, possibly a distress signal, from a nearby planetoid, the ship’s computer, Mother, awakens the crew. Following standard company policy for such situations, the Nostromo lands on the planetoid and Dallas, Kane, and Lambert head out to investigate, damaging their ship upon landing in dust. They discover the signal is coming from a derelict alien spacecraft. Inside, they find the remains of a large alien creature whose ribcage appears to have exploded from the inside.

On the Nostromo, Ripley determines that the transmission is not a distress signal but a warning. In the alien ship, Kane discovers a chamber containing hundreds of eggs. As he inspects one, a creature springs out, spits acid through his space helmet and attaches itself to his face. Dallas and Lambert carry the unconscious Kane back to the Nostromo. As acting senior officer, Ripley refuses to let them aboard, citing quarantine regulations, but Ash violates protocol by overriding Ripley’s lock and letting them in. The crew are unable to remove the creature from Kane’s face, as its grip is strong and its blood is an extremely corrosive acid. It eventually lets go, crawls away, and dies.

The crew repair the ship and lift off. Kane awakens and seems healthy, but during the crew’s final meal before re-entering stasis, he chokes and convulses in pain before a small alien creature bursts from his chest, killing him, and escapes into the depths of the ship to molt. Since attacking the creature with conventional weapons could result in its corrosive blood breaching the ship’s hull, the crew attempts to locate and capture it with motion trackers, nets, electric prods, and flamethrowers.

Brett is sent to look for the crew’s cat, Jones, and the now fully grown alien attacks him and disappears with his body into the air shafts. After a heated discussion, the group devises a plan to jettison the creature out of the ship. Dallas enters the Nostromo’s labyrinthine ventilation shafts, intending to force the alien into an airlock, but it ambushes him. Lambert, realizing the alien is killing the crew one by one, implores the others to escape in the ship’s shuttle. Now in command, Ripley explains that the shuttle will not support four people, and recommends that they continue with Dallas’ plan of flushing the alien out.

Accessing Mother, Ripley discovers that Ash has secretly been ordered to return the alien to the crew’s employers, who consider the crew expendable. When Ripley confronts Ash, he tries to choke her to death. Parker intervenes and knocks off Ash’s head, revealing him to be an android. Parker reanimates Ash’s head, and Ripley interrogates him. They learn he was assigned to the Nostromo to convince the crew to capture the creature and return it for analysis, even at the expense of the human personnel. Ash taunts them about their chances of survival against the “perfect organism.” Parker turns a flamethrower on Ash.

Ripley, Lambert and Parker agree to set the Nostromo to self-destruct and escape in the shuttle. However, Parker and Lambert are ambushed and killed by the alien while gathering life-support supplies. Ripley initiates the self-destruct sequence and heads for the shuttle with Jones, but the alien blocks her path. She retreats and unsuccessfully attempts to abort the self-destruct sequence, then returns to retrieve Jones, finding the alien gone. She narrowly escapes in the shuttle as the Nostromo explodes.

As she prepares to enter stasis, Ripley discovers the Alien is aboard the shuttle. She dons a spacesuit and opens the shuttle’s airlock, causing explosive decompression which forces the Alien into the shuttle’s open doorway. She propels it into space by shooting it with a grappling hook, but the gun catches in the closing door, tethering the alien to the shuttle. Ripley activates the engines, blasting the alien into space. After recording the ship’s final log entry, she places herself and Jones into stasis for the voyage home.Quite simply one of the best films ever made.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: PROMETHEUS

CAST
Noomi Rapace (Sherlocks Holmes 2)
Michael Fassbender (300)
Charlize Theron (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Idris Elba (Star Trek Beyond)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Logan Marshall-Green (Across The Universe)
Sean Harris (Mission Impossible 5)
Rafe Spell (What If)
Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones)
As a spacecraft departs a planet, a humanoid alien drinks an iridescent liquid; then dissolves. The remains of the alien cascade into a waterfall.
In 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map in Scotland that matches others from several unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanity’s forerunners, the “Engineers”. Peter Weyland, the elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, funds an expedition to follow the map to the distant moon LV-223 aboard the scientific vessel Prometheus. The ship’s crew travels in stasis while the android David monitors their voyage. Arriving in 2093, Mission director Meredith Vickers informs them of their mission to find the Engineers, and not to make contact without her permission.
The Prometheus lands on the barren, mountainous surface near a large artificial structure, which a team explores. Inside they find stone cylinders, a monolithic statue of a humanoid head, and the decapitated corpse of a large alien, thought to be an Engineer; Shaw recovers its head. The crew finds other bodies, leading them to surmise the species is extinct. Crew members Millburn and Fifield grow uncomfortable with the discoveries and attempt to return to Prometheus, but become stranded in the structure when they get lost. The expedition is cut short when a storm forces the crew to return to the ship. David secretly takes a cylinder from the structure, while the remaining cylinders begin leaking a dark liquid. In the ship’s lab, the Engineer’s DNA is found to match that of humans. David investigates the cylinder and the liquid inside. He intentionally taints a drink with the liquid and gives it to an unsuspecting Holloway, who had stated he would do anything for answers. Shortly after, Shaw and Holloway have sex.
Inside the structure, a snake-like creature kills Millburn, and sprays a corrosive fluid that melts Fifield’s helmet. Fifield falls face-first into a puddle of dark liquid. When the crew return, they find Millburn’s corpse. David separately discovers a control room containing a surviving Engineer in stasis, and a star map highlighting Earth. Meanwhile, Holloway sickens rapidly. He is rushed back to Prometheus, but Vickers refuses to let him aboard, and at his urging, burns him to death with a flamethrower. Later, a medical scan reveals that Shaw, despite being sterile, is pregnant. Fearing the worst, she uses an automated surgery table to extract a squid-like creature from her abdomen. Shaw then discovers that Weyland has been in stasis aboard Prometheus. He explains that he wants to ask the Engineers to prevent his death from old age. As Weyland prepares to leave for the structure, Vickers addresses him as “Father.”
A monstrous, mutated Fifield attacks the Prometheus ’s hangar bay and kills several crew members before he is killed. The Prometheus ’s captain, Janek, speculates that the structure was an Engineer military installation that lost control of a virulent biological weapon, the dark liquid. He also determines that the structure houses a spacecraft. Weyland and a team return to the structure, accompanied by Shaw. David wakes the Engineer from stasis and speaks to him in an attempt to explain what Weyland wants. The Engineer responds by decapitating David and killing Weyland and his team, before reactivating the spacecraft. Shaw flees and warns Janek that the Engineer is planning to release the liquid on Earth, convincing him to stop the spacecraft. Janek ejects the lifeboat and rams Prometheus into the alien craft, while Vickers flees in an escape pod. The Engineer’s disabled spacecraft crashes onto the ground; its wreckage crushes Vickers. Shaw goes to the lifeboat and finds her alien offspring is alive and has grown to gigantic size. David’s still-active head warns Shaw that the Engineer has survived. The Engineer forces open the lifeboat’s airlock and attacks Shaw, who releases her alien offspring onto the Engineer; it thrusts an ovipositor down the Engineer’s throat, subduing him. Shaw recovers David’s remains, and with his help, launches another Engineer spacecraft. She intends to reach the Engineers’ homeworld in an attempt to understand why they wanted to destroy humanity.
In the lifeboat, an alien creature bursts out of the Engineer’s chest.
Similar in many ways to the first Alien film which I have continued to enjoy irrespective of how old it now is. I thought all of the characters believable & the storey line developed interestingly. The effects were great too. Good film without too much blood & gore.

REVIEW: ALIENS VS PREDATOR 1 & 2

 

CAST

Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Raoul Bova (The Tourist)
Lance Henriksen (Hellraiser 8)
Ewen Bremner (The Mummy)
Colin Salmon (Arrow)
Tommy Flanagan (Gotham)
Joseph Rye (BAtman Begins)
Agathe de La Boulaye (The Girl)
Carsten Norgaard (The Man In The High Castle)
Sam Troughton (Vera Drake)

Aliens Vs. Predator should have been one of those movies that had fanboys and fangirls swinging from the rafters with glee. Teaming up this pair of Fox’s finest franchise characters almost seemed like a no-brainer, especially after it was hinted at in Predator 2 and after Dark Horse Comics proved that there were plenty of cool stories to be told by combining the continuity and history of the two storylines.

Unfortunately, Fox punked out and released a watered down PG-13 film to theaters in hopes of cashing in on the fan base that was developed over the four Alien films and the two Predator films – all of which were R-rated movies. You don’t need violence and gore to make a good movie, we all know this, but if you’re not going to deliver on that front  you should at least deliver an interesting and/or suspenseful story. Sadly, we don’t get either. That’s not to say the movie is awful, it’s just very mediocre and it left a lot of people wanting a lot more from the film than what it delivered.

The movie takes place in the present day and it revolves around a man named Charles Bishop Weyland, the head honcho behind Weyland Industries, a world leader in the field of robotics (anyone familiar with the continuity of the Alien series will easily make the connection between Henriksen’s character here and the part he played in Aliens and Alien 3). Weyland and his team have just discovered an ancient temple located deep beneath the ice of the frozen tundra in Antarctica, and they mean to dig down there and check out what it has to offer.

In order to make this happen, Weyland assembles ‘the best of the best’ for his expedition. First and foremost he recruits the reluctant Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) to act as their guide, but he also brings in a Scottish chemist named Graeme (Ewan Bremmer), an archeologist named de Rosa (Raoul Bova), and a few other handy sorts, namely Adele Russeau (Agathe de la Boulaye), Thomas Parks (Sam Troughton), and his personal ‘go to guy’ Maxwell Stafford (Colin Salmon). Together they head out into the cold and start digging, setting up their above ground base in the remains of an old whaling station.

Once the crew starts working, it quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t a normal archeological expedition. It doesn’t take long before a few of the more disposable members of the team start getting wasted and it turns out that are here for their ceremonial right of passage. Every one hundred years they thaw out an alien queen and get her egg sack pumping out as many of the nasty little buggers as she can so that they can send in their hunters so that they may prove their worth in an actual hunt. Weyland and his team have just happened to arrive on the day of this event, and it’s going to take all they’ve got to make it out alive because, as the tagline goes, whoever wins, they lose.

The best part about this movie, aside from the ever-cool Lance Henriksen, are the visuals. The pyramid/temple that was created as the main set is an interesting place to put the characters and the setup for the action that occurs is a pretty good one. The biggest flaw in the film is that the script just piles in way too many characters for its own good and as such, it’s hard for us to care about anyone in the movie. There’s plenty of style, but very little substance and as such the movie plays out with about as much heart and soul as a run of the mill slasher film. While the CGI scenes stand out a little bit and are a bit soulless, the animatronic effects and the make up effects that aren’t done on a computer are pretty solid and look quite good in the movie.

There are some moments in the film that stand out – the face hugger and alien incubation/birth scenes are still creepy and wholly unnatural, and some of the fights between the various creatures that inhabit the temple are nifty. There’s lots of footage of various characters tooling around in the dark corridors of the building trying to find a way out only to be chased down and made mince meat out of and while these aren’t all that original, they’re reasonably tense at times. Again though, when you don’t care about the people being chased, the catch just isn’t as sweet. The scene where the alien queen first appears is also quite dramatic and more than a little eerie.

 

CAST

Steven Pasquale (Rescue me)
Reiko Aylesworth (Lost)
John Ortiz (Fast & Furious)
Johnny Lewis (Felon)
Ariel Gade (Envy)
Kristen Hager(Wanted)
Sam Trammell (True Blood)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Robert Joy (The Hills Have Eyes)
Chelah Horsdal (When Calls The Heart)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon)
Tom MCbeath (Bates Motel)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Rainbow Francks (Stargate ATlantis)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Francoise Yip (Smallville)

AVP-R is fast, bloody and cruel. In this unrated version (101 minutes) the gore quotient is pretty high – worlds better than the first AVP – and to its credit works to give us characters with stories and not just characteristics. Best among these stories are those of an errant ex-con and his at risk younger brother, and it’s a nice concession to those of us moviegoers not weaned on videogames. But clearly, we’re not looking to AVP-R for character development, are we? We’re looking for action, acidic blood, and plenty of tension-filled, scary, luscious looking set pieces. Those we get, in spades.

Problem is (and this is a universal complaint) most of this bloody action is impossible to see. Ebony skinned Aliens and Predators running around in unlit spaceships, woods, sewers and such makes for difficult viewing. Adding insult to injury, an Alien-kill spews acidic blood all over a power station, and soon all the lights in the entire town go out, and then it starts raining. What we’re left with are a handful of rain soaked glinting surfaces on a cloudy, moonless night. If that’s not bad enough, most all of this violent action is filmed in jittery medium-to-tight close-ups, with lightning fast editing. So now what we get are unlit, unidentifiable details of unrecognizable anatomy and architecture zipping by unfocused in a fraction of a second. It’s so over-the-top impossible to see it’s almost like an artistic challenge.

So we must, if we can, focus on the positive. Even if we can’t see it, the brutal alien carnage is plentiful and cruel. Children are put in peril and slaughtered at whim. Pregnant women are subjected to the vilest of treatments, and chest bursters are born in litters. Oh yes, there’s also the hybrid ‘PredAlien’ and a fistfight in the deep end of the swimming pool. Someone is bucking for genre greatness, but not quite making it.

Living in the shadow of Alien must be tough, and James Cameron is the only director who’s had any success of it (not that Alien3 and Alien Resurrection aren’t good …) because Cameron simply made a solid Cameron movie with Ripley and the Aliens. Pretty much everyone else just tries to ‘put their stamp’ on the creation of Ridley Scott et al. That creation was just seven simple yet utterly realistic characters in peril. Each successive film has suffered bloat and pretension to one degree or the other, and AVP-R is no exception. As the opening sprawl of AVP-R is whittled down by outer space chaos, the movie begins to return to – if not the form of Scott’s masterpiece – at least something more akin to Cameron’s ordnance assault (in fact the movie cops liberally from both films, as well as Alien3). It’s pretty exciting, brainless fun.