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|By AARON SKETCHLEY (aaronsketch@HOTdelete_thisMAIL.com)||Ver 1.0 2020.06.21|
Alas, I've watched this movie far too many times, and a lot of the suspense in the move has diminished for me. Nevertheless, some sequences are still very gripping, once the ball gets rolling. The characters and their interactions are also a lot of fun, and on top of this, the movie is stuffed full of instantly memorable quotes and one liners.
If you haven't seen any of the Alien movies, make sure you see the first one (Alien) first! Not because there are things that you need to know from that movie to fully enjoy Aliens, but because of the way the alien creatures are presented in this film, and how that will diminish a lot of the suspense of Alien.
The additional scenes restored in the "Special Edition" are wonderful additions for fans of the movie (my favourite has the nostalgia-inducing mid-80's plastic tricycle riding down the corridors of the colony, complete with Weyland Yutani stickers on it!)—though I tend to agree that cutting them improved the pacing of the film, and increased the suspense and tension in latter scenes.
Perhaps the film's greatest flaw is that there wasn't anyone relatable among the main characters - only the Russian commando comes close. (I have no problem with Adrien Brody playing the anti-hero. That was refreshing, and he played the opportunistic tendencies of the character just right). I especially didn't like the doctor's out-of-character switch near the end of the movie. It came as totally arbitrary, with no warning signs (if he was such an opportunistic monster, why didn't he opportunize on the situation better?) Personally, given how out of place he felt among the other warriors and criminals, I would have found it much more enjoyable if it turned out that he was working with the Predators to keep their injured prey alive just a bit longer to maximize the hunt, or something along those lines.
Nevertheless, I liked the basic concept of the movie—very nightmarish—and the second Predator race was a nice addition to the mythology; in its own way it kind of explains why very few Predators have come to the Earth. Now, as tempting as a direct sequel or prequel set on the hunting planet would be, I'm much more interested in a film that explores the Predators who secretly abduct people from the Earth. How do they get away with it and how do they overcome their drive to bring back skin and bone remains as trophies?
The only redeeming thing I can say about it is that it employed people in the Vancouver film industry.