Alien vs. Predator: Requiem [Retro Review]

“People are dying… we need guns!”

The Scoop: 2007 R, directed by Colin Strause and Greg Strause and starring Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth and John Oritz

Tagline: It began on their world. It will end on ours.

Summary Capsule: Space cockroaches and Rasta hunters. Why not vacation in Colorado to duke it out?

Justin’s Rating: I’d love to see an Alien/Care Bear hybrid.

Justin’s Review: “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” “My mommy said there are no monsters, but there are, aren’t there?” “Game over, man, game over!” “You’re one ugly mother-”

Somehow, I don’t think “Wear the hat, or you’re fired” from AVP:R is going to make it into the lexicon of classic Alien/Predator quotes. Call me crazy or call me Steve, just don’t call me late for dinner.

In 2004, Alien vs. Predator robbed my soul of a cherished bit of fanboy love. It was a dark day for the rebellion and for the greater metro area of Detroit.

After all, Aliens and Predator are bonafide classics in the horror/scifi genre, products of unlimited imagination. The two series presented us with the notion that outer space isn’t all Starman/E.T. fuzzy goodness and hopeful humanity – it gave us a stark, deadly galaxy where beings far more advanced lay in the shadows. The series took suspense and slasher horror to a new place, with incredible technology, believable characters and monsters not of this planet. Sure, both of the series didn’t retain perfection through and through — Alien 3 and Predator 2 inhabit some homeless video shelter in Alberqurque – but it took Paul W.S. Anderson, a PG-13 rating, and absolutely no love or respect for both of its parent movies to make AVP into a horrible disaster.

Does Alien vs. Predator: Requiem fare better with a new director(s), a very hard R rating and a shift from touchy-feely “let’s make friends with the Predator and unlock the mysteries of the $10,000 Pyramid!” to “die die die die die die HOLYCRAPDON’TDIE die die”? Yes, it does. Does AVP:R suffer from illogic out the wazoo, disrespect for the series’ continuity, and yet another outing on modern-day Earth? Yes as well.

In an interesting twist, AVP:R begins with a Predator spaceship under siege from a new type of Alien – an Alien/Predator hybrid. The ship crashlands in Colorado, or as the scenery suggests, the fictional Pacific Northwest of Colorado, and the clock is on for another incoming Predator and the residents of a small mountain town. The town is populated with faithful horror movie stock characters, including The Sheriff (powers: using a radio and looking bewildered), The Ex-Con (powers: being proficient with every firearm under the sun, like all ex-cons are), The Tiger Beat Teenage Heartthrobs (powers: getting semi-nude and looking ridiculously thin), The Jerk (powers: begging for death), The Waitress (powers: cherry pie), The Tough Military Chick (powers: copying Ellen Ripley), and The Doe-Eyed Little Girl (powers: being a little girl and therefore immune to on-screen death). It’s the kind of cast that would be similarly comfortable in any slasher or zombie flick, yet really give us no great heroes to connect or identify with.

Strangely enough, “zombie flick” is what I’d liken AVP:R to more than any other genre. Utterly disregarding the previously established hours- and sometimes days-long gestation period for the Aliens, the little critters start popping out of people’s stomachs faster than it takes me to brown some toast. Lickety-split, the town is overrun, people are fleeing, the army is sent in, and fun buzzwords like “containment” are used. The Predator, unable to similarly make babies without a lengthy courting process and several months of OB/GYN visits, finds himself the sole Intergalactic Janitor: cleaner of gooey green acidic messes.

This movie contains a bevy of standard elimination movie features, including the morbid cheerleader who states, “We’re not going to make it, are we?” Don’t be fooled by the question mark; a period would be a more fitting and somber end to that sentence, or perhaps an exclamation mark might move things along more swiftly.

There are two crowds of fans that will probably flock to this movie: the faithful fanboys of the original series, and the brain-scooped morons who have been known to utter “AVP is, like, the best movie ever!” without a hint of social irony. I’d say that both groups have a 50-50 chance of liking this film.

The first problem is that, like AVP, this combo sequel really tweaks the timeline of the Alien series (as the Predator series has been always set in the present, that’s less of an issue). Everyone in the first two Alien flicks seem pretty surprised to encounter said beasties, even though according to the AVP films, they’ve been tromping all over Earth for some time now. Sure, there are homages to the Alien series and another tenuous connection between sinister characters in this film and “The Company” in the future, but this is just pretty lame. The AVP franchise, which has been going strong in video games, comic books and novels, enjoyed an outer space setting far from now, yet there’s been two AVP movies so far that seem cheap enough to just set things in the here-and-boring now.

The second problem is that AVP:R isn’t skillfully made as a “movie”, per se. The lighting can be on the “black hole” side of the spectrum, some of the action sequences are done in extreme close-up (which gave me a nice little vein-y headache), the characters really are a heapload of blah, and there are ginormous leaps in continuity that would leave you scratching your head if you had any time to do so. For instance, in one scene the town loses power, so the entire community (for some reason) decides to evacuate. Then, in the next scene, you see all these cars lined up to get out of town, but our heroes drive back into town because they need guns to get out, even though a “reverse” on the stickshift would do the job as well. We’re left wondering if anyone ever drove out of town, or if the people were killed in their cars, or what. That’s a common occurrence in this movie: the directors needed to shoehorn in a few more minutes of explanation so that I didn’t start screaming without my knowing it right there in the middle of a movie theater. So sorry, people of rows 1-5. Didn’t mean to make your kids cry.

Even so, AVP:R validates its existence with the in-your-face action sequences; from the start, Predators are slamming into Aliens, Aliens are chomping away with both mouths, and people are dying left and right. It easily contains the highest body count of any Alien/Predator movie to date, and kept me a little unnerved with how many of the “main” characters met a sudden and gruesome end. The Predator gets a ton of awesome new gadgets to compliment his old ones, and the PrediAlien serves its purpose adequately. It’s not a boring movie, or without some pretty neat moments.

If there ever is an AVP 3, Alien 5 or Predator 3, Justin really hopes they land a genuinely talented director and scriptwriter for the project, and bring these franchises out of common slasher muck and back into the glorious spotlight.

Kyle’s Rating:No peace in our time!

Kyle’s Review: I would respectfully disagree a tad with Justin here and suggest that there is another societal slice that would and should flock to Alien vs. Predator: Requiem; a slicing that happens to include (rather enthusiastically, surprisingly!) myself.

If this grouping were to be labeled, I suppose the most appropriate though lengthy designation would be People who have given up on an Alien vs. Predator film that has any hint of superior workmanship yet manages to deliver the superficial thrills that lowered expectations allow you to hope for. I don’t know, should we have some tee-shirts made up?

I’m fully aware that I’m willingly drinking the kool-aid here, although I would suggest that in the complicated ‘I know that you know that Hollywood knows that I know that we know that ultimately this movie SUCKS’ levels of self-awareness going on you essentially come out on top if you resort to treating this film like an old-school wooden roller coaster but don’t even waste your street cred mentioning that you’re up to even that kind of brain-dampening. Aren’t we all experienced enough to enjoy stuff like this and 2 a.m. Del Taco chili-cheese fries without having to do anything than raise a Roger Moore-esque eyebrow at the lascivious incredulity of it all?

Justin was right, as was everyone who saw this film and could form a coherent sentence (a less inclusive group than you might initially think): calling this movie a “movie” is being generous to begin with. Filled with television stars (I literally only walked over the theaters after work because I knew 24’s Reiko Aylesworth [we’ll always love you, Michelle!] was presumably filling the Ripley role), like so many big horror/sci-fi releases it’s only a whole lot of profanity that prevents this from being standard made-for-television fare, because looks and plot-wise it is what it is.

And yet… and yet! Fathers die! Children die! Maternity wards get turned into alien hives, pregnant women are forced to sire alien babies, and just when you think a hot chick is going to go the distance (spoiler!) she gets PINNED TO THE ****IN’ WALL BY A PREDATOR SHUREKIN. Ticket price: justified!

It seems almost as though the people behind these Alien vs. Predator films is trying to create some sort of mythology that ties in these films, pays attention/homage to the original series, and sets up a whole lot of future shenanigans. Good luck, I guess? When I was a kid, buying Alien and Predator comics that at best featured film heroes like Dutch and Ripley in cameos or passing references (but often offered both extreme gore and female nudity: hooray!), I could not have cared less that they were trying to advance the stories of the Aliens or the Predators. What is in the movies matter, and that’s it. So I suppose if they can pull off a miracle and establish a really cool and all-encompassing story that allows for modern day encounters with both malicious races without invalidating our cherished original films, I’m all for it!

But do we really believe that’s possible? Say it with me: NOT AT ALL!

Until the people who are capable come along, though, enjoy minor thrills like this. Why not? Say this one with me, too: PINNED TO THE ****IN’ WALL BY A PREDATOR SHUREKIN. Gnarly!

In retrospect, Missy's dad went a bit over the top for his April Fool's scare.

Intermission!

  • Alien homages: the Ripley/Newt relationship between the Mom/Daughter, the mom driving the APC tank (like Ripley drove the APC in Aliens), the Lieutenant getting whacked, “Monsters” talk by the little girl, and so on.
  • Baby lovers, you might want to skip out on certain portions of the hospital scenes.
  •  The first Alien movie not to feature the Alien eggs.
  • This is the first movie in both the Predator and the AVP-based movies that actually feature scenes of the Predators’ home planet.
  • The Predator was nicknamed “Wolf” by the filmmakers, after the character Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction. His role in the film, like Wolfe’s, is described as that of a “cleaner” – one who covers up assassinations, accidents, and other messy situations.

Groovy Qu0tes:

Dallas: People are dying… we need guns!

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Movie Review: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem « The Movie Deedat

  2. Pingback: Movie Review: Predators « The Movie Deedat

  3. Pingback: Movie Review: Predators | CineRanter

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