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‘Alien vs. Predator’ is boring and lame

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ALIEN VS. PREDATOR — * 1/2 —Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen; rated PG-13 (violence, profanity, gore); Carmike 12 and Ritz 15 Theaters; Century Theatres 16; Cinemark Jordan Landing Theaters; Cinestar 5-Star and Gateway 8 Cinemas; Megaplex 12 at the Gateway; Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons; Redwood Drive-in; Westates Holladay Centre Cinemas 6.

Not to give anything away, but the winner in the long-awaited "Alien vs. Predator" showdown sure isn't the audience. The first 20 minutes or so of this sci-fi/thriller are as boring as any movie in recent memory.

Which isn't to say the 80 minutes that follow are any better — but at least something happens from time to time.

That the film is so lame isn't a huge surprise. After all, it does comes from filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson, who has labored mostly in schlock (among his credits are the first "Mortal Combat" and "Resident Evil" movies).

And when the studio mandated that the film be rated PG-13, it ensured that it would also be toothless.

"AVP" just isn't thrilling or scary.

The story has a team of scientists and researchers discovering the archeological find of the century, a pyramid located 2,000 feet below the Antarctic ice. So these intrepid souls rush to explore it — led by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen, who was in both "Aliens" and "Alien 3") and mountain-climbing guide Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan).

When they get there, find that someone — or something — has already burrowed down to the pyramid. Then they discover they've stumbled into the middle of a turf war between the lethal "Predator" hunters and the equally lethal and infinitely more slithery "Aliens." And as the humans' numbers dwindle, Alexa reluctantly casts her lot with the Predators, who are hunting the aliens as some sort of rite of passage.

The film is filled with one-dimensional cardboard characters — and not just the aliens. Most — OK, all — of the humans are so dim-witted and irritating that you'll be rooting for them to be disposed of quickly.

Director Anderson is clearly trying to pay homage to — OK, rip off — the films in both series, as well as the "Jurassic Park" pictures and John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing." Unfortunately, this one pales in comparison to all of those.

And while you might expect it to be good cheesy fun to finally see these two alien species go toe-to-toe, there's not nearly enough of that kind of action, and there's way too much blathering by the humans.

"Alien vs. Predator" is rated PG-13 for strong sci-fi/action violence (gunfire, blaster fire, impalings, alien attacks and explosive mayhem), occasional use of strong profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), and gore (some human, but mostly alien goo). Running time: 100 minutes.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com