Aliens Vs. Predator 2 [2001]

In delivering PG-13-rated excitement, Alien vs. Predator is an acceptably average science-fiction action thriller with some noteworthy highlights, even if it squanders its opportunity to intelligently combine two popular and R-rated franchises. Rabid fans can justifiably ask "Is that all there is?" after a decade of development hell and eager anticipation, but we're compensated by reasonably logical connections to the Alien legacy and the still-kicking Predator franchise (which hinted at AVP rivalry at the end of Predator 2); some cleverly claustrophobic sets, tense atmosphere and impressive digital effects; and a climactic AVP smackdown that's not half bad. This disposable junk should've been better, but nobody who's seen Mortal Kombat or Resident Evil should be surprised by writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson's lack of imagination. As a brisk, 90-minute exercise in generic thrills, however, Anderson's work is occasionally impressive... right up to his shameless opening for yet another sequel. --Jeff Shannon

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