Alien vs. Predator (2004)

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During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win. (IMDb)
For a mid-2000s movie based on the idea of pitting villains from two different sci-fi franchises against each other, it’s not actually that cheesy. The sets look cheap and bland and the dialogue is mostly unmemorable, but the simple main plot is quite suspenseful (humans exploring an ancient underground pyramid in Antarctica while being hunted by two different alien species) and with its refreshing woman-of-colour lead it comes to an almost inspiring team-up climax that you don’t see coming.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Predator 2 (1990)

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Amidst a territorial gang war in 1997, a sophisticated alien hunter stalks the citizens of Los Angeles and the only man between him and his prey is veteran L.A.P.D. officer, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan. (IMDb)
Lots of cringe-worthy sleazy action-movie schlock (cue the boobs and blood and Busey and cartoon-ish stereotyped baddies) but it’s mostly balanced out by the solid quartet of protagonists (Glover’s renegade Mike has a great dynamic with Paxton’s goofy Jerry) driving forward the story. The third act drags on though, and because it’s an investigative plot and not a survival one, it raises a lot of questions surrounding the Predator’s motivations (the biggest being why is here in the first place?)
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

TOP 10: Most Overrated Films

Films here are ranked based upon the difference between my personal 100-point score and the higher 100-point score on IMDb. From what I’ve experienced, a film’s rating on IMDb more or less seems to reflect the popular opinion held by both the casual and the serious film critics that I’ve read or listened to. The criteria:

  1. Must be rated lower than 7.5 by me. 7.5 is the minimum score that earns a “Great” designation from me. If I consider a film “great”, I could hardly deem it overrated!
  2. Must be rated higher than 7.5 on IMDb. Conversely, anything rated less than 7.5 on IMDb isn’t rated high enough for me to consider it overrated.

Without further ado, my Top 10 Overrated Films:

10. Blazing Saddles (1974)

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IMDb rating: 7.8
My rating: 6.5
Rating difference: 1.3 (review here)

The mix of racial, Western, and Hollywood satire is appreciably biting and bold, and Little and Wilder are both excellent, but too many jokes fall flat or feel cheap for this to be considered a great instead of just good comedy.

9. Predator (1987)

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IMDb rating: 7.8
My rating: 6.4 (review here)
Rating difference: 1.4

If the whole movie had been Arnold alone in his battle of wits with the Predator, I would have rated this movie higher. Unfortunately, the first half or so is riddled with eye-rolling dialogue and features one particularly brain-numbing shoot-em-up. Good popcorn flick, but nothing more.

8. The Untouchables (1987)

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IMDb rating: 7.9
My rating: 6.3 (review here)
Rating difference: 1.6

A gangster/cop flick with Robert De Niro? That usually works out, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, though De Niro was decent, I was majorly disappointed by this one. The writing was awfully messy and the acting leagues below what you would expect from the rest of the seasoned cast. A nice score and set and a few good scenes saved this one from being just plain bad.

7. Big Hero 6 (2014)

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IMDb rating: 7.9
My rating: 6.1 (review here)
Rating difference: 1.8

I was expecting big things from this animated flick, but a good chunk of it sorely let me down. Baymax the robot was a fun and unique character, and the tragic child prodigy Hiro had potential-but the latter’s development was cheap and rushed, and the supporting cast of characters was largely unfunny and lazily written. The story, meanwhile, was predictable and rushed. A nice-looking film with some cool surface elements but a forgettable story.

6. Forbidden Planet (1956)

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IMDb rating: 7.7
My rating: 5.9 (review here)
Rating difference: 1.8

Not sure why this gets elevated above other campy 50s sci-fi flicks. There’s an intriguing psychology-related thesis at the end, but it betrays the rest of the movie that either preoccupies itself with dumb romance or goes on and on about the future technology it invented.

5. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

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IMDb rating: 8.8
My rating: 7.0 (review here)
Rating difference: 1.8

Gonna get a lot of flack for this choice, I’m sure… I thoroughly enjoyed the first one (that is, the fourth one… well, you know what I mean), in large part due to the memorable batch of characters that played off each other so well. In this one, most of them started to feel a little “been there, done that” in the way that often happens in sequels. None of them were really developed any further, aside from Luke and his father, of course! All in all, it was still a good film (good action, an exciting climax and twist, and a cliff-hanger ending), but in my humble opinion, not the masterpiece so many people seem to classify it as.

4. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

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IMDb rating: 8.4
My rating: 6.4 (review here)
Rating difference: 2.0

Oops, another Star Wars film! It starts off well as the ol’ gang gets back together, but the campyness really takes off from there as they team up with the jabbering fuzz-ball Ewoks against the Dark Side. And the big confrontation between Luke and Vader/the Emperor that had been built up so much by Yoda’s warnings against the lure of the Dark Side and the big twist from the last episode was a huge letdown that had little impact on me. The Emperor taunts Luke to get him angry. Vader says it’s useless to resist. Luke screams that he won’t fight Vader, but then occasionally fights Vader. Annnnd repeat.

3. The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

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IMDb rating: 7.7
My rating: 5.7 (review here)
Rating difference: 2.0

Maybe I just didn’t get it. The build-up to the school bus crash you know is going to happen is certainly torturous and well-done. The snowy scenery is nice. Everything else? Didn’t know what to make of it. Confusing characters and bewildering happenings made this ultimately a chore to get through.

2. Dazed and Confused (1993)

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IMDb rating: 7.7
My rating: 5.6 (review here)
Rating difference: 2.1

Good music, fun 70s setting… but mostly just boring, quite frankly. It’s not that I’m against Linklater’s meandering, plot-less style, because I quite enjoyed his later Boyhood. But there are very few engaging characters to really latch onto here, and even less engaging events. A disappointingly dull offering. Don’t think I’ll be rushing to see Everybody Wants Some!!

1. Batman (1989)

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IMDb rating: 7.6
My rating: 5.3 (review here)
Rating difference: 2.3

Maybe it was just because I watched it right after I finished Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (which I thoroughly enjoyed), but I found this installment to be laughably bad. Campy, cartoony, and awkwardly scripted. I’ve heard people say they thought Keaton was excellent here, but I found him to be about as engaging as a board of wood. Nicholson was the opposite in his over-the-top performance that was more annoying than terrifying or funny.

 

Have at it in the comments–have you now completely written me off as a trustworthy film reviewer? Where have I gone wrong? Do you agree with any of these choices? Thanks for reading!

Predator (1987)

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A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior. (IMDb)
The visual effects haven’t aged well, but the music and the claustrophobic jungle setting create an effective mood right from the beginning. Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger and Weathers’ eye-rolling banter throughout does more harm than good in its attempt to add some character depth to the trigger-happy action, and when Arnold goes Tarzan and takes on The Predator mano-a-mano in the great final act you realize that the rest of the crew were just unnecessary extras from the start as well.
6.5/10 (Alright)