Having missed the first installment, which is widely reputed to suck long and hard, we open with a Predator spaceship leaving the planet Earth. On board is an alien that has incubated inside a predator, making for something bigger and nastier than the others. And that never gets to do all that much throughout the course of the movie. Anyway, mayhem transpires on the ship, and it crash-lands somewhere in the Colorado vicinity. It breaks open and lots of little alien face-huggers scramble out. And soon a hunter and his eight-year-old boy are each wearing one on his face.
I forgot to mention that prior to the movie I had engaged in a periodic fast-food binge, and had consumed a Burger King Whopper with cheese, which I have long described as looking like an alien autopsy. How delightful to find, a few minutes in here, an actual alien autopsy! So we can compare, you know.
Anyway, now it’s time to meet our several characters. Dallas is this former felon who returns to town on a bus and meets his old buddy Eddie, the town Sheriff. Meanwhile Eddie’s brother Ricky is failing at his job as a pizza delivery boy. He delivers pizza to local hottie Jesse, who looks like Paris Hilton cross-bred with Naomi Watts, whose blond boyfriend beats Ricky up for looking at her. Meanwhile this woman is returning from military service, presumably in Iraq, and greeting her husband and daughter, who has grown a little emotionally guarded since mom’s been away. Mom, by the way, looks well-fed and radiant, and is seemingly completely free of post-traumatic stress disorder. Anyway, soon the aliens hatch from the hunter and his young son [we see the boy die, the first of much violence directed toward children in this movie], and note that these aliens incubate in as little as an hour or so, and grow to be full aliens in about the same time. And once again, it is the homeless who must suffer the initial strikes of an unfortunate alien outbreak.
So Dallas and his brother go into the drain beneath Jesse’s house to retrieve his car keys, and we are surprised to find such a massive network of sanitation tunnels beneath an average suburban street. Then a policeman looking for the hunter gets caught by the predator and skinned [Why? Wouldn’t that take up valuable alien-hunting time for no purpose?]. Oh, I forgot to mention that this predator was cruising in space when he got an email about the crash on Earth, and hot-footed it there to clean things up. So the title, AlienS vs Predator, which I initially thought was a misprint, is accurate: there really is only one predator and many aliens.
Soon enough the aliens are popping out of the ground and rampaging through the town. It was very fun to see aliens slinking down a suburban street, I could have used more of that. Oh, and in here we’re getting a ton of predator-vision shots, which are starting to get annoying. And you’d think with their advanced technology, the predators could come up with some better-focused images. Speaking of that, the predators invisibility mode is not that invisible. Like, at all. Dudes need to stop by Best Buy or some shit.
By now it has become apparent that this is liberally borrowing cool elements from all the Alien movies; you get the alien tails unfurling from the ceiling from Aliens, aliens swimming from… whichever one they swam in, the alien putting its face right up to a crying woman’s face, from Alien 3, etc. After another preteen child watches as her parent is violently killed, and noting that predator has this glow-in-the-dark Drano that dissolves unsightly alien residue as well as tough, set-in stains, the town calls in the National Guard. There’s a little more Aliens action as we watch the National Guard get slaughtered.
SPOILERS > > >
So here’s where things start getting distasteful. First the nasty predator-alien has a moment staring lustily in at a room full of newborns. Does he lay eggs in their stomachs or does he just eat them? We never find out, but we are invited to imagine the worst. Then said Alien/Predator goes to this pregnant woman and shoves his tongue all the way down her throat. We see a number of bulges pass through her throat, into her body. A few minutes later, her belly bursts open from inside, about six alien babies inside. They have presumably destroyed her fetus while it was in the womb. Okay, is this “awesome” entertainment? To some on the IMDb, it obviously is, one person mentions this scene specifically and how “bad ass” it is. Maybe I’m a crazy, off-the-wall Freudian, but I think any time you’re seeing a huge appendage force its way down a woman’s throat, you’re seeing a version of a male sexual fantasy. It’s about oral sex, about the woman being forced to take a huge “appendage” down her throat, and in this one we even see huge lumps being forced into her stomach. That the woman is already pregnant further sexualizes it, and while I am squarely pro-choice, the idea of trying to glean “awesome” sci-fi thrills by the thought of a fetus being destroyed and a woman’s pregnant belly bursting open is not a sign of a healthy society. This is quite close to the most repulsively sexually violent mainstream movie I’ve ever seen, Species II, in which a man’s super-potent sperm incubates instantly in a woman’s womb, until her belly bursts open and a child walks out, and where in the end a woman is choked to death on another huge male alien “appendage.” It’s all fun and games when we’re talking about aliens, which makes it “okay” to portray this kind of extreme sexualized violence against women. What makes it more repulsive is how fuckin’ SWEET it is portrayed as being.
So the National Guard tells our heroes to drive to the middle of town for an airlift. Halfway there, Iraq woman is quite sure that they Government is lying [causing one townsperson to say “That’s crazy! The government doesn’t lie to people!” which got a big laugh in my audience], and she wants to head to the hospital, where there is a helicopter. They split into two groups, and the cop and other minor characters go to the airlift. Iraq woman and the teens make it to the hospital, where we see that in a matter of minutes, the aliens have turned the halls into their familiar ribbed hallways from Aliens. WHERE do they find the time? And WHY? You can just imagine them on one of those Extreme Makeover shows. Anyway, the predator is also stalking the halls and killing aliens, resulting in a very good death scene for Jesse.
So blah blah they get to the helicopter, and the predator fights the big hybrid alien, which is barely distinguishable from him fighting any other alien. The helicopter takes off, and they pass a jet on its way into town. You see, the government is planning on nuking the entire town.
They do. Never mind that, as far as we know, no one in the government really has a clear idea of what’s going on down there, but what’s most disturbing is the way it’s treated later. ON the helicopter, Iraq woman yells “Close your eyes!”—you see, that is ALL you need do to survive a nuclear explosion—and the helicopter crashes, but everyone’s FINE! Nuclear explosions really are just like having a leaky radiator. MINOR inconvenience, at best. Radiation poisoning of our survivors—let alone any other towns downwind of the blast—is not mentioned. But what really blew my mind is how the National Guard comes out of the woods to pick up the helicopter survivors, and one of our heroes says “You nuked our town!” and the National Guard guy replies “Just following orders!” Which is then followed by this swell of noble, inspiring music as we watch the military go about their business. WHAT is happening here? It is all noble and honorable for the military to drop a nuclear weapon on its own people, and it doesn’t matter if they know why, the fact that they’re “following orders” is enough? It’s kind of stupefying. Especially when you consider that among the main reasons Bush gives for wanting to take Saddam Hussein out is that he bombed his own people, which is considered absolutely beyond the pale. But when we do it…?
I have to consider the possibility that this ending is satirical, especially given the “government doesn’t lie to people!” line from earlier, but that is the only evidence I have for this position, and it doesn’t seem convincing. So, there ya go.
< < < SPOILERS END
I was all down to have a silly good time, and the movie seemed like it was going in this direction for most of the first half. All of the characters are repulsive people you’d be more than happy to see munched, and spaceship crashes and alien attacks are fun. But over time it starts to get a little nasty and amoral, and by the time you have extreme violence against pregnant women and a government attacking its own people, I was firmly off the team. Sure, it’s only a movie… well, let’s not even get into that. It starts off cool but gets really ugly and distasteful, and for me personally this prevented me from leaving with any kind of good feeling about this film. Or, you know, the future of humanity, but that’s for another time.
I don’t think there’s any need for that. This is so silly it doesn’t really seem to be a part of either original series.