If you like mindless action/suspense/SF entertainment, Alien vs. Predator is your kind of movie. If you’re looking for something thoughtful, non-formulaic, and offering insight into the human condition, keep moving people, there’s nothing to see here.
If you’re looking for me to spoil the movie, look no further!
We open predictably, if you’ve seen the trailers: a satellite detects a pyramid under antarctic ice, and the satellite’s owners round up the best and the brightest archeologists, ice drillers, and climbers to form an expedition to check it out.
Don’t get attached to any of these characters. They’re all doomed except one, and she isn’t deep enough to get attached to. There each have a few good moments, and Lance Henrikson’s best was an almost imperceptible nod to his dagger-and-hand trick from Aliens.
The “Predators” have already bored a tunnel down to the pyramid with a space laser, so we get to skip over the “digging through the ice” part of the expedition. Our doomed party arrives at the pyramid before the hunters do, shimmying down the sloping tunnel and leaving a group up at an abandoned whaling camp.
That group dies first. The predators plow through them with no explanation. One of them survives long enough to slide down the tunnel, but then he gets spotted and dispatched.
The doomed party down below splits into two groups. One is in the “Sacrificial Chamber,” so labeled in the conveniently readable mix of ancient egyptian, mayan, and cambodian. The other descends to a treasure chamber, and manages to unlock the chest where the predators keep their weapons. When they remove the three shoulder-mount cannons, all hell breaks loose. The pyramids internal walls shift about, the Sacrificial Chamber is locked, and alien eggs are lifted into it. You know that cute blonde chick from the trailers? The one who has a gun pointed at an egg? She misses.
The pyramid continues to shift every ten minutes or so. If you count shiftings, the baby aliens gestate and become full-grown in 20 minutes. I’m willing to overlook this plot-hole, though, because the Predators LOSE their first two encounters with the aliens. Apparently for all their machismo, these guys ain’t got much of a game when it goes hand-to-hand.
Before long, we’re down to a single predator and three humans. The count drops to two, and then one human pretty quickly, and we get the predictable human/Predator alliance. We also get the predictable “Queen Alien is freed from her chains” moment, and at that point we’re expected to actually fear for the entire human race. Feh. The predators have been doing this for thousands of years. They’ve got orbital weapons. They’ve got a ship up there. They can contain this.
The remaining predator ends up using his wrist-nuke as a tactical grenade. He throws it into a room full of eggs, and he and our human heroine ascend the tunnel in a super-sled of some sort that I don’t remember anybody bringing to the party, but whatever. Unfortunately, the queen is already loose on the surface (and doing remarkably well in that cold.) In a climactic battle the queen is dropped into the depths, chained to some massive piece of 19th-century hardware. The remaining predator is killed, and our heroine is gets her “I’m a real Predator now” mark on her cheek. Then the predator spaceship de-cloaks, and they carry off their fallen comrade, nodding at our heroine but NOT taking her with them in what would be a TRUE gesture of respect for the humans who’ve come so far.
Oh, and then back on their spaceship a chest-burster escapes from the fallen Predator while nobody is looking. Here’s hoping it kills everyone on their ship.