The reluctant hero. Everyone knows who they are. Officer John McClane in the Die Hard series is one of them. The guy who’s caught in the wrong place at the wrong time but manages to save the day. Enter Alexa Woods, guide to an archaeological expedition to Antarctica, and the hero to my next installment of Women Who Wow Wednesday.
Billed as a doomsday movie of sorts with the tagline: “Whoever Wins…We Lose,” 2004’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator introduces us to a new reluctant hero. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the movie took in a healthy $173 Million at the box office with a budget of $60 Million.
They call her Lex for short and her stature may reflect that, but there’s nothing short about her. Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) leads a group of ragtag experts deep below the Antarctic frost to explore a recently discovered, giant pyramid. Hired by Weyland Industries, Lex is the first to bail on the initiative declaring the project unsafe. How do you like that for great leadership qualities? She eventually cedes to direct the team with a few simple rules:
- No one goes anywhere alone—ever
- Everyone must maintain constant communication
- Unexpected things are gonna happen
*** From this point forward, I may reveal some spoilers. Be warned. You may want to skip to the end. ***
When the team arrives at an abandon mining town to set up drilling equipment, they soon discover they may not be alone. A force, greater than anything on earth, bore a perfect thirty-degree tunnel through the ice to the base of the pyramid. As Lex takes one group into the tunnel, the other group meets an invisible force—a pack of Predators. The entire group is slain.
Making their way below the surface of the ice, Predators hunt and kill anyone who appears as a threat to their mission. Although Lex was able to save Mr. Weyland, played by James Cameron veteran actor Lance Henriksen, from a previous fatal encounter with death, nothing could have saved him this time. He is one of the first to go.
One by one, as Predators kill the second team, a new enemy emerges, even deadlier than Predators—Aliens. Aliens kill the remnant of the humans, while Predators hunt the Aliens, and on and on this fun circle goes.
Lex realizes she’s stepped in the middle of a war. When confronted face to face by the last surviving Predator, she bows her head to the ground in humility, and provides the entity the weapon it needs to defeat the Aliens.
And this is the best part. Just when we think it’s lights out for Lex, Predator turns its back on her to fight an oncoming hoard of Aliens. But one of them makes it through to reach Lex. Predator spots this and throws her its spear. This gesture solidifies their warrior kinship. Lex kills the Alien, running it through with the spear. Once the dust clears, Predator fashions for Lex a spear from the tail, and a shield from the skull of a dead Alien. Predator then marks Lex’s cheek with warrior markings with the acidic blood of her conquest. Lex earns the rite of passage from Predator.
She was now one of them.
*** End of spoilers. ***
The Indians who lived in our part of Canada more than two hundred years ago believed that if they ate the heart of the bravest enemy, they would in turn become brave. Lex didn’t have to eat the heart of an Alien, but she certainly earned her right of passage as a true warrior.
What are your thoughts about the reluctant hero, Lex?