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Film / Alien vs. Predator

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Alexa "Lex" Woods: We're in the middle of a war. It's time to pick a side.
Sebastian de Rosa: We are on our side!

What would happen if the Predator, interstellar alien hunter extraordinaire, took it upon himself to go after the face-raping Aliens? Oddly enough, lots of humans dying.

Alien vs. Predator is the 2004 combination of Fox's two hit alien monster movies, and the stories of the innocent humans caught in the middle. It was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and is the first, and to date only, film in either franchise to be rated PG-13.

When a mysterious heat signature is detected in Antarctica, billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) assembles a crack team of explorers led by Lex Woods (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate. They discover an underground pyramid containing human remains, but the team accidentally trap themselves when they activate the structure. The team soon find themselves caught in the middle of a centurial Rite of Passage held for young Predators, who hunt the Xenomorphs who lie dormant within the pyramid. With their number dwindling, the team must find a way out before they are hunted down by either side.

The concept was first hinted at in the second Predator movie, which featured a Xenomorph skull amongst the Predator's trophies. The film was followed by Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in 2007. The movies abandoned the futuristic setting of the comics and had the conflict take place on contemporary Earth. The movies weren't exactly embraced (though the first film was slightly better received by audiences), even by the fanbase. Most people point to Executive Meddling as the cause of the films' failures.

To see the tropes for the games and comics, see here. See more tropes from the franchise at Alien vs. Predator Central.

Tropes in AVP: Alien vs. Predator:

  • Abusive Precursors: The ancient humans were basically used as incubation units for the xenomorphs, so the Predators could hunt the ultimate prey.
  • Adaptational Badass: Prior Alien vs. Predator media (video games and comic books) have depicted the xenomorphs as Glass Cannons compared to the Predators, relying on speed and Zerg Rush tactics to match the Predators' advanced tech and brute strength. Here in the film, a single drone ("Grid") is shown as being an even match for a Predator in close combat (though supplementary material clarify that Grid is an "alpha" drone and the Predators are inexperienced youngbloods).
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Charles Bishop Weyland does this as a Heroic Sacrifice with a flare and a medicine inhaler. He gets butchered by a Predator hunter because he had a weapon, trumping the fact that he's a sick old man the hunter had been willing to let live.
  • Ancient Astronauts
    [the team finds the Predators' shoulder cannons]
    Miller: Any idea what these are?
    Rosa: No, you?
    Miller: No.
    Stafford: It's a good thing we brought the experts.
    Miller: Well, yeah, it is a good thing, cos' this is like finding Moses' DVD collection.
  • Anyone Can Die: The movie has only one survivor, who was left in the middle of Antarctica. The novelization clears up Lex's fate — the ship everyone arrived on had a crew which stayed behind while everyone else went exploring. Presumably Lex was able to contact them once she got back to base camp.
  • Apocalypse How: Lex believes that if the Xenomorphs get out from the underground cavern and become loose on the Earth, they could overwhelm the planet's biosphere with a Class 4-5.
  • Artistic License History: Why the Pyramid operates on 100 year cycles according to their archaeologist. None of the cultures that are supposedly the influenced by the builders used anything close to that in their counting systems at the time-period given. In fact, given the high Mayan influence, it'd been more accurate to say the Whaling station was lost in 1900 instead of 1904; the Mayans did use 52 lunar cycles, and 2004 is exactly 2 cycles afterwards. A dead 1952 crew by the pyramid would have made sense. Not to mention that the Hunter's Moon joke would have been even more ironic.
    • Once activated, the pyramid shifts every 10 minutes. The problem is, Mayans did not have a unit of time which corresponds to a minute. In case you are curious, it originates from Babylonia.
  • Avengers Assemble: The film starts off like this when showing Charles Wayland bringing together the members for his expedition.
  • Baby Factory/Big Bad: The Xenomorph Queen chained and entombed in the Antarctic pyramid is used as this when it's awakened in the present day, and has implicitly been used this way by the Yautjas for millennia. The pyramid's mechanisms take the Queen's eggs to the sacrificial chamber, and the Queen's children that are born in a relatively controlled environment are hunted by the Yautjas as a rite of passage.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Actually averted where Lex, one of the few examples of a black female lead in a Sci-fi horror movie, was the only person to survive.
  • BFS: The Predators' iconic wrist-blades are much larger in this movie than in previous iterations. It Makes Sense in Context as the Predators in prior films were hunting humans, whereas Xenomorphs are a far tougher game, and using larger weapons makes just as much sense as a human hunter using a larger caliber rifle to kill a lion than a deer.
  • Casting Gag: Lance Henriksen's role serves as a major nod to Bishop.
  • Cat Scare: Though it's actually a Penguin Scare.
  • Clean Cut: A Xenomorph falls victim to this.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The initial presence of many different humans, Yautjas, and Xenomorphs within the pyramid easily results in countless deaths on all three sides especially since the former two sides are both fully armed and therefore dangerous towards one another for this installment.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Anyone high up in WY (except the very first original Mr. Weyland) is guaranteed to be doing something dangerous, unethical and in all likelihood stupid involving the nearest Hive and / or ancient ruins. It's apparently true for the whole corporation: Weyland-Yutani's contract has a clause that allows them to feed you to a Xenomorph just to see what happens when they feed you to a Xenomorph.
  • Crossover: Self-explanatory.
  • Defiant to the End: "Don't you turn your back on me!"
  • Degraded Boss: Again, the Xenomorph Drones seen throughout the film still intensely suffer from this trope since both their human enemies and their Yautja enemies all carry weapons around with them during this installment, but this trope is also averted with the Antarctic Queen as she soon proves to be just as great of a threat to the surviving protagonists near the end of the film as the First Acheron Queen from Aliens.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Widely considered a badly done example.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Charles Bishop Weyland, a wealthy elderly industrialist, who funds the mission to a newly-discovered pyramid under tons of ice. He later reveals to the protagonist that he's dying of lung cancer and wants leave his mark on the world. Later, as the survivors are running from a Predator, Weyland tries to have a You Shall Not Pass! moment. The Predator scans him, sees his deformed lungs, and just walks right past the old man. The pissed off Weyland attacks the Predator with a makeshift flamethrower. Now, the Predator won't ignore him and takes him out.
    • A popular fan theory is that the predator knew that Weyland presented no actual threat to him, but he so respected Weyland's courage that he granted him a warrior's death.
  • The Dragon: The "Grid" Xenomorph Drone to the Antarctic Queen as he's by far the most dangerous of the Xenomorphs, second only to the Queen, killing two of the Predators by himself, and he even manages to evade Scar's Plasma Caster shots when they're aimed right at him while the rest of the Drones were simply mowed down, and he's also the one who leads his siblings in freeing the Queen, and the novelization even refers to him as "the Alpha Xenomorph Drone", implying his higher ranked than the other Drones.
  • Enemy Civil War: What the humans find themselves in, although they end up allying with the Predators.
  • Enemy Mine: Lex and Scar forge an uneasy alliance in the second half of the film.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: The Xenomorph who tries to attack the sole Predator left in the pyramid.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Predators do not kill certain targets such as children and pregnant women. There's even a scene where a Predator refrains from killing a man because it sees that he is dying of terminal cancer. Of course, he changes his mind when the human attacks him with a makeshift flamethrower, but even then, he makes the kill quick and clean and didn't take a trophy.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Did that Yautja just uppercut that Xenomorph?
  • Exposed to the Elements: Alexa in the ending. While she's fully dressed and has gloves, she's notably lacking in coats to keep the warmth in the freezing Antarctic temperature which should be making her collapse into a shivering mess.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Being a film that includes Xenomorphs, people getting facehugged is inevitable. Unlike the four alien films, in which one person is visibly facehugged, the AVP films have the highest count of it with five people facehugged in this movie.
  • Fatal Family Photo: During an early scene in the film, Graeme shows Alexa a picture of his kids. Things do not work out for him. In a variation of this trope, Red Shirt Verheiden mentions to Graeme that he has a son... about five minutes before he's snagged by a Xenomorph Drone.
  • Final Girl: Everyone but Alexa Woods is killed off, leaving her alone with the last remaining Xenomorphs and the last predator; ultimately she is left to fight the Antarctic Queen alongside Scar.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The film uses a few of these of these to get around what a PG-13 rating would allow in terms of violence while attempting to maintain the brutality that the Alien and Predator franchises are known for. For example, the exact moment one particular man is killed by a Predator's wrist blade early in the film is taken offscreen and replaced with a cutaway shot of his blood spattering in the snow.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Xenomorph Queen was preserved frozen in the depths of the pyramid, and as soon as she's thawed out due to the actions of the humans, she immediately begins to pump out eggs.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Weyland.
  • Homage: The film was criticized for being too derivative and relying too much on cheap Call Backs and Mythology Gags to the early Alien films, those being the drinking birds and Charles referencing Bishop's knife game just to name a couple of them.
  • Human Hammer-Throw: Grid was subjected to a Xeno-Hammer Throw when fighting the second Predator, who managed to grab it by the tail and swing the Xeno in circles smashing into several pillars. It recovers in a few seconds.
  • Human Sacrifice: The ancient pyramid's hieroglyphs reveal that thousands of years ago, the civilization whom resided in it offered willing sacrifices to the facehuggers, breeding Xenomorphs for the Yautjas' youngbloods to ceremonially hunt.
  • Infrared X-Ray Camera: This is how WY finds the pyramid in the film. Also, the Predators can see their plasma casters through people's bags in infrared.
  • Ironic Echo: Lex gives one to an alien from the entire Predator franchise before she blows a hole in the aliens' head - "You're one ugly motherfucker."
  • Lesser of Two Evils: The surviving humans ultimately decide that giving Scar back the plasma caster they'd taken so he can more effectively combat the aliens is their best chance to survive.
  • Lighter and Softer: Being the only PG-13 film in the two franchises while the rest are R-rated.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The Predators get one, checking their weaponry and blades just before they beam down.
  • Lovecraft Lite: You've got Ancient Astronauts (Yautjas) building an ancient pyramid beneath Mysterious Antarctica, and worshipped as gods by ancient cultures. They are much more advanced than humans, who they see as little more than prey, or livestock to incubate Xenomorphs. However, both species definitively can be killed, and their motives aren't so much unknowable as bestial/barbaric.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The movie, set in Antarctica, has a Cat Scare with a penguin, but the problem is that the penguin is an African Penguin, which obviously doesn't live down within Antarctica like the Emperor Penguin for example.
  • Monster Delay: Downplayed once again in this film where the Yautja starships and tech appear immediately with the Yautjas themselves, the Antarctic Queen, and her Drones including "Grid" showing up on-screen not too much later than that.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: The film is set there as stated directly above.
  • Mythology Gag: The sub-plot of a human female displaying enough courage and prowess (namely by killing a couple of Xenomorphs) for a Predator to fight alongside her and blood her as a warrior, with her then killing a Queen Xenomorph before the predator dies from his wounds, is all taken from the first Alien vs. Predator comic (and the Alien vs Predator: Prey novelization), in which exactly this happens between Machiko Noguchi and "Broken Tusk". Unlike Alexa, however, Machiko would go on to live with the Predators and eventually become fully accepted into their ranks (albeit while still facing some bigotry).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the film, the exploration team makes a terrible mistake in taking the Yautja guns inside the pyramid, but this is the very action that awakens the Antarctic Queen there and allows her to breed a batch of Drones without any readily armed Yautjas to oppose them, giving them a chance to overpower them, derail their hunting games and possibly get to the surface of Earth to kill more humans, and the theft of such weapons also enrages the Yautjas into killing off a fraction of the exploration team while the unchecked Xenomorphs slaughter even more team members, and as Alexa Woods puts it:
    Alexa: This pyramid is like a prison. We took the guards' guns, and now the prisoners are running free.
  • No-Sell: In at least one instance a human punches an oncoming Yautja, the latter seems at best, mildly annoyed.
  • Not The Illness That Killed Them: Charles has cancer but ends up getting killed by a Yautjas. The Predator was going to let Charles live after scanning his weak bio-signs, but Charles using a makeshift flamethrower against it made it changed its mind.
  • Oh, Crap!: Even the Yautjas with all of their technology start getting jumpy once the Xenomorphs are creeping about just to show that they do know how freaking dangerous those things are much unlike the moronic corporations of the future who someway somehow believe that they can still handle it anyway.
    • Notably, when they realize the humans have taken their guns and therefore have awoken the queen early, they quickly reactivate their cloaks and proceed to double time it into the pyramid to stop them before it's too late.
    • Scar the Predator does this when he sees the Antarctic Queen emerging from the ice.
    • The team in the "Sacrificial Chamber" have one when the Face Hugger eggs aka Ovomorphs rise from the floor, and they realize something very bad is about to happen.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The trailer for the film ends with this.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Scar and Lex do this from his detached wrist-device nuke. Their survival was aided by a mile of ice containing the blast, and the shockwave caught up to them regardless.
  • Penguin Scare: As explained above, this film features one of these instead of a traditional Cat Scare.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Much unlike in the preceding original Alien Quadrilogy films, this installment's example's actually a subversion in that while the whole deal with the Antarctic Queen herself's resolved at the end of this film, a "Predalien" Chest Burster soon emerges from Scar's already dead body shortly thereafter, effectively dragging the conflict out long enough for a whole 'nother movie to be made about it.
  • Puzzle Boss: Much like the First Acheron Queen from Aliens, the Antarctic Queen from this film also becomes an example of this trope since her final defeat involves her getting chained up together with a water tower and subsequently pulled down to the bottom of the ocean by its very weight.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: In an inversion, the movie sees the Xenomorphs on Earth as opposed to them being IN SPACE! as usual with this franchise.
  • Red Shirt: A literal example as after being facehugged, Adele is killed by a chestburster emerging from her chest and ripping through her red shirt. Nearly all of the other humans qualify, as many are well-armed yet most die without getting off a shot, and those that do are not saved by it either.
  • Required Secondary Powers: For understandable reasons, the exoskeleton of the Xenomorphs is immune to their acid. Scar uses this property to fashion an improvised spear and shield for Lex, using the tail attached to a ceremonial spear and its hollowed-out skull.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The abandoned whaling station have one of these made of whale bones. Alexa flees through it in the final battle, with the Alien Queen in pursuit and smashing every bone in the way.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: In another concession to the PG-13 rating, the film uses this trope while depicting Adele's death by a Chestburster, ensuring that we only see it for a split second shortly after it pops out of her torso.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the movie, a Chestburster emerged from Scar's body, setting up the stage for the next movie.
  • Sole Survivor: Alexa. The rest of her team mates are all killed.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted. The opening shot in space is completely silent apart from the soundtrack. The only noise heard comes from the scenes inside of the Predator ship.
  • Stat-O-Vision: A predator decides not to kill Weyland because it can see that he's already dying of cancer. Then Weyland improvises a flamethrower to buy the others more time...
  • Too Dumb to Live: Pretty much everybody, but a few stand out. Adele takes a little too long to put "sacrificial chamber" and "mysterious eggs emerging besides ancient skeletons" together, and doesn't act fast enough to save herself from the facehugger. Miller manages to kill an attacking facehugger but wastes bullets on the corpse (not that his already limited ammunition would have been much help against an entire room of facehuggers).
    • Not to mention what sets off the action of the movie: Stafford and his goons have removed two of the plasma casters, when Sebastian tells them not to touch the casters. Cue Stafford looking Sebastian straight in the eyes as he REMOVES THE LAST ONE ANYWAY. Cue the room sealing off as the mechanisms of the pyramid kick into overdrive, which also activates the sacrificial chamber to fill with Facehugger eggs.
    • The statement "I've never seen a gun help anyone out on the ice" would probably be an indicator of someone being too dumb to live if the movie wasn't conspiring to prove the speaker right (because no human gun winds up being of any use, and the Predators focus mostly on melee weapons in this series).
    • One of the Predators has caught Grid in a constricting net and his blood is clearly melting it. The Predator, instead and rushing in and finishing him off, takes a slow walk towards him, which result Grid jumping him and impaling him when he gets too close.
    • All of the Predators really. They were there to hunt Xenomorphs, not humans. Yet they stop to kill the drill-team on the surface (even going so far as stringing them up for skinning) even though they should realize that time is of the essence with curious humans poking around the temple. Had they not taken this senseless detour in their priorities, they could have gotten to the plasma casters before they were taken by the expedition; and the hunt would have likely gone very differently. Justified in that if Predators weren't that fanatic about hunting they wouldn't be in that mess to begin with. Possibly justified, as it's hinted this is the first hunt for these particular Predators, so it's likely a rookie mistake.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lex.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The only two female members of an eleven-person expedition are Alexa (the protagonist) and Adele Rousseau.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Adele Rousseau, the tough woman who makes a point of bringing a gun "just in case", is one of the first human casualties, getting the dubious honor of being the obligatory Chestburster victim.
  • Versus Title: Easily one of the most instantly recognizable examples in all of fiction in general.
  • Villainous Rescue: As a Predator is about to kill Lex, a Xenomorph appears out of the shadows and impales the hunter with its tail, inadvertently saving Lex.
  • The Worf Effect: As with the Predator movies, the hunters are shown to be unstoppable with their superior technology against humans, having killing several of them in the first half of the movie. Then, a single Drone killed two of them, reminding the audience that the Xenomorphs are just as dangerous (if not more) as the Yautjas. Granted, these specific Predators are specifically stated to be unblooded youths, and they are not properly equipped (forced to rely on their melee weapons instead of their energy guns).
  • Worthy Opponent: Having seen her killing two Xenomorphs, Scar sees her as a warrior and branded her with the same marking as him. After the rest of the clan arrives, the Ancient Predator rewards her with his spear as a sign of respect.
    • The Predators in general are said to breed the Xenomorphs because they consider them the ultimate, most dangerous prey and thus a worthy challenge (not that they created the Xenomorphs, they found them and decided to breed more of them).
  • Zombie Infectee: Scar is impregnated by a facehugger after his marking ritual, but the next time we seen him, he is shown putting on his mask as if nothing happened, and he spends the rest of the film acting as if he didn't know about the Alien inside him.

Alternative Title(s): AVP Alien Vs Predator