Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem
Directed by The Brothers Strause
Twentieth Century Fox 2007
By Caesar Martini
Ever since the end of Predator 2, when the camera casually drifted across the skull of an Alien adorning the trophy wall of a Predator space ship, fans of both genres have clapped and touched themselves with the giddy excitement of schoolchildren at the possibility of perhaps one day witnessing a climactic geek-gasm showdown between the two badass alien species.
In 2004, some 14 years after the fact, fans got to see the monumental fracas in the first AVP. It pretty much sucked. Someone had the inexplicable idiocy to make a PG-13 sequel to two R-rated franchises where the antagonists spend the majority of their time ripping out spines and bursting out of human bellies in an orgy of blood and death. As a result, fans from both franchises were pissed off.
AVP:R is thankfully R rated, and there’s plenty of blood and gore to go around. The Predator alien isn’t nearly as cuddly and human-friendly as he was in AVP, and there’s an interesting hybrid Alien that is the result of an Alien bursting out of a Predator’s belly.
Unfortunately, everything else kind of sucks. The direction is a disaster, with most of the conflict taking place in the dark, in the rain, and seemingly filmed by a cameraman who was standing two feet away and never figured out how to use the ‘zoom out’ feature. They also turned the Predator into a very black-coloured creature instead of the light tan colour he is supposed to be, which was most unhelpful in distinguishing the Predator from the Aliens during any confrontation they got into.
Fans of the franchises will notice that there are several shot-for-shot scenes taken from previous Aliens or Predator movies, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if this was intended as homage to past (and much better) movies or if it was some kind of cinematic plagiarism.
And finally, logic kind of took a backseat in this film to convenient filmmaking. The Alien gestation cycle is somehow miraculously accelerated, with the wee beasties bursting from chests and growing to full adulthood mere hours after the victim is infected. The National Guard is called in by the town sheriff on the very thin reasoning that the power went out and he found a dead guy in the woods (somehow I think it would take a little more than that). And at one point, the human characters are terrified that they won’t be able to get out of town alive while cruising down the streets in a tank.
Seriously, guys. “But that’s at the other end of town, we’ll never make it!” YOU’RE IN A FRIGGIN’ TANK. If something gets in your way, you can run it over, or shoot it. That’s the beauty of tanks. Drive to goddamn Mexico, if you want.
Some character development wouldn’t have hurt. I think any moron who looked at the previous Aliens and Predator films would easily observe that the human characters and actors are what made it possible to deliver tension and gripping action. In AVP:R, the humans are basically cannon fodder and you don’t really care what happens to them.
Unfortunately, the way this movie was executed, I ended up not really caring about anything else, either. I would say this is better than 2004’s AVP, but overall, still a bitter disappointment that forces me to search elsewhere for my geek-gasms.