Alien vs. Predator – aka AVP – is a 2004 science fiction horror film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It stars Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen.
The film adapts the Alien vs. Predator crossover imprint bringing together the eponymous creatures of the Alien and Predator series, a concept which originated in a 1989 comic book. Anderson, Dan O’Bannon, and Ronald Shusett wrote the story, and Anderson and Shane Salerno adapted the story into a screenplay. Their writing was influenced by Aztec mythology, the comic book series, and the writings of Erich von Däniken.
In 2004, a team of archaeologists assembled by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Henriksen) for an expedition near the Antarctic to investigate a mysterious heat signal. Weyland hopes to claim the find for himself, and his group discovers a pyramid below the surface of a whaling station.
Hieroglyphs and sculptures reveal that the pyramid is a hunting ground for Predators who kill Aliens as a rite of passage. The humans are caught in the middle of a battle between the two species and attempt to prevent the Aliens from reaching the surface.
The film was released on August 13, 2004, in North America and received mostly negative reviews from film critics. Some praised the special effects and set designs, while others dismissed the film for its “wooden dialogue” and “cardboard characters”. Nevertheless, Alien vs. Predator grossed over $172 million at the worldwide box office and spawned a sequel in 2007, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
“Though Mr. Anderson finds a rooting interest, it’s too far-fetched even for fantasy, and the film turns into a cold but occasionally impressive special-effects extravaganza. Between the Predators’ dripping their glow-in-the-dark green blood and the Aliens’ getting their rubber cement mucous all over everything, this is certainly a very sticky movie, though not, ultimately, a very frightening or commanding one.” Dave Kehr, The New York Times
“Although that pyramid is an imaginative setting (it reconfigures itself every 10 minutes, creating new chambers and passageways while perilously eliminating others), Anderson is terrible at giving us our bearings; and he’s the only franchise director who fails to generate even a drop of empathy for screaming people who have aliens erupting from their chests.” David Edelstein, Slate