Directed by veteran special-effects artists Greg and Colin Strause, this spawn of four ALIEN films, two PREDATORS and the 2004 mash-up ALIEN VS. PREDATOR delivers what it promises and not much more.
Assuming that anyone drawn to ALIENS VS. PREDATOR is familiar with both franchises, the story picks up where ALIEN VS. PREDATOR left off: A spaceship piloted by alien hunters — the Predators — takes off from Earth, bearing the body of one of their own. Unbeknownst to the others, an alien is incubating inside the corpse. The creature proves to be a formidable alien-predator hybrid — call it an alienator (Tom Woodruff Jr.) — that rips through the crew, causing the ship to crash in Gunnison County, Colorado. Local man Buddy Benson (Kurt Max Runte) and his young son, Sam (Liam James) — who are, in what passes for irony, bonding over a father-son hunting trip — witness the fiery crash and quickly fall victim to escaped face huggers, while the ship's distress call summons another hunter (Ian Whyte) from the Predator planet to tidy up what's sure to ba a very messy situation.
Meanwhile, small-town life goes on: Fresh out of jail, local ne'er-do-well Dallas (Steven Pasquale of TV's Rescue Me) reconnects with his restless teenage brother, Ricky (Johnny Lewis), who pines for high-school heartbreaker Jesse (Kristen Hager), and old buddy Eddie Morales (John Ortiz), now the town sheriff. Kelly O'Brien (Reiko Aylesworth) returns from a tour in Iraq to a cool reception from her little daughter, Molly (Ariel Gade). Darcy Benson (Chelah Horsdal) grows increasingly frantic as the search for her husband and son turns up nothing; waitress Carrie (Gina Holden) wonders why her husband, Deputy Ray (Chris William Martin), didn't come back with the other searchers. And then all hell breaks loose: Worker aliens start devouring everyone in sight as the alienator -- the new colony's queen -- makes an impressively disgusting stop in the local maternity ward to propagate her species. The ruthless Predator uses his formidable extraterrestrial weaponry to kill aliens, along with any puny humans who hace the misfortune to get in his way. Should the ever-dwindling band of survivors trust the authorities -- embodied by soothing radio transmissions from the silken-voiced military bigwig (Robert Joy), who promises that help is on the way -- or follow Dallas' lead and fend for themselves?
The film's major draws are R-rated gore and some nice physical effects, proof that a man in a top-of-the-line monster suit can still be more effective than CGI. The story is formulaic, the characters are negligible (that the lead is named Dallas has no implication beyond a nod to the original ALIEN) and the lighting is so dark you could be forgiven for feeling the filmmakers didn't want> you to see their handiwork. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh