As a piece of cinema, this film never rises above “pedestrian” and frequently sinks below “wretched”. As I told in my previous movie review on this films, it seems to be stuck between an ensemble cast and focussing on a few characters, which means we have a large number of “red-shirts” who are never named on-screen and exist only as fodder for the alien monsters. Both Alien and Predator made the effort to flesh out even the minor characters, which is an essential part of any horror film - if we don’t have any connection to the characters, why should we care when they are killed?
Outside of the Lex and Sebastian, the most well-developed character is Ewen Bremner’s Graeme Miller, and the entirety of our knowledge about him is that he has two sons, and therefore we are expected to feel extra sad when he is inevitably killed.
The only good performance we are given is Lance Henriksen, who avoids the usual trope of being an obsessive and money-hungry corporate dictator with some scenes of genuine humanity. Everyone else is either competent, boring or just incredibly wooden, exacerbating the problem that the bit players have absolutely no personality.
While the film can be credited for some good practical effects, so many of these effects are shrouded in half-light that they’re hard to make out. Especially impressive is the animatronic Alien Queen, which was actually a 4.8 metre version, a 1.2 metre version and a C.G.I. version., as well as an Alien puppet created to be more realistic than a man in a costume. But these effects are not enough to save this film, and at least one of the miniature shots (of the pyramid) is so badly made that the “enormous” pyramid looks about four storeys tall.
This film was at least 14 years in the making, ever since an Alien skull appeared in the Predator’s ship at the finale of Predator 2, with comic books and games galore.
Realising a concept this hotly anticipated was never going to be easy, but writer-director Paul W. S. Anderson proves that he can go above and beyond the call of disappointment. Admittedly this is not the only weak addition to the Alien-Predator series, but it takes a special level of idiocy to manage to ruin a crossover between these two creatures. Given the largely non-sentient status of the Aliens, there wasn’t even the usual backlash from fans to deal with, where a crossover must strive not to give an advantage to one side or a clear winner. Alas, the finished product feels unnecessary, devoid of the spirit of its predecessors, and reeks of an attempt to cash in rather than make a memorable product. A disappointment to fanatics and laity alike.