Whoever wins… We lose.
For many years I’ve had issues with Paul W. S. Anderson. His buggering of the Resident Evil film franchise has long felt like a personal attack on my love of the games. So for years I’ve been in possession of a strong amount of venom for him, which has skewed my perception of his overall output.
So it was interesting to read his Wikipedia article, and give some thought to why he keeps getting work. Simply put, he brings films in on more modest budgets and they make decent profits. Away from Resident Evil, he directed Mortal Kombat, which we all know is great. Then there’s Event Horizon, which wasn’t for me though I can appreciate its status. Death Race was an alright piece of Statham nonsense too.
When viewed as a whole, Anderson’s filmography, or at least what I’ve seen of it, evens out into the lower end of alright. So I think it’s time to let most of the venom go. But should I reserve some for AvP: Alien vs. Predator?
It turns out I needn’t carry any. AvP is actually alright.
There is a fundamental problem with this part of the series, in that the individual series contain such strong entries that forcing them into each other can’t equal to the parts. Both the Alien and Predator films contain memorable characters. AvP does not. Do we care when they start dying? We do not. Though I find the interactions between humans and Predators interesting, it’s not what we’re for. We’re here to see them fight!
Once the action starts in the second half, things improve a fair bit. Predators are very capable and Xenomorphs are ferocious. They’re a great match in a fight, and AvP doesn’t muck around when it comes to them making a mess of each other. There is a sense of weight to the fights, and we get a good moment off them facing off. One shot of the inevitable big ending fight is cool too. Though I must question why Predators keep insisting on taking their helmets off!
The cast is forgettable, and the ending feels like a fanboys wet dream. But whilst the tag line has us Humans cast purely as the losers, AvP isn’t a bad film. In fact, it’s likely the best film to sum up Anderson’s career.