"Alien vs. Predator" (a.k.a. "Alien 5" or "Predator 3" depending upon how you count) is a 2004 science-fiction movie depicting a teamup of 20th Century Fox's two most profitable movie monsters. Director Paul W.S. Anderson helmed the creature feature, which tells the story of a group of explorers who find an ancient pyramid beneath a hidden island. There, the xenomorphic aliens and the "Most Dangerous Game"-inspired predators do battle, with the hapless humans caught in the middle. Though critically reviled, the film did respectable business at the box office, grossing more than $170 million worldwide and prompting the creation of another sequel in the franchise.
The best thing about "Alien vs. Predator" is its lack of pretense. It endeavors to deliver a little goofy popcorn fun by throwing two popular movie monsters against each other. Though he lacks the brilliance of earlier directors in the franchise, Anderson displays a great deal of respect for previous films and has enough skill to deliver reasonable roller-coaster excitement for the majority of the film's running time.
The first two films in the "Alien" series rank among the greatest science fiction films ever made, while the original "Predator" remains superior popcorn entertainment. In comparison, "Alien vs. Predator" constitutes a giant step down. Its gimmicky premise suggests little more than a naked cash grab, and although its action scenes attain a certain level of excitement, storyline and character development are perfunctory at best.
"Alien vs. Predator" is no one's idea of a masterpiece and certainly doesn't measure up to the legacy that preceded it. But for the undemanding, it legitimately qualifies as good, dumb fun.
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