Aliens vs. Predator Requiem Movie Review
The first Alien Vs. Predator was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It was funny - hilariously so - but not in a good way. It was cheesy, over-the-top and was only rated PG-13, a ridiculous move considering that both franchises had always held hard "R" ratings. Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem brings in new directors, screenwriters, cast and gore, but still ends up looking like it was made to make money and not entertain audiences.
AVPR focuses on a few teenagers, soldiers and others who find themselves in the middle of Hell themselves when a Predator ship crash lands near their town. The Predator dies, but the other Aliens onboard do not. Soon, the townsfolk begin to realize that something is not quite right, but by that point, it's too late. The military is brought in to deal with things, but even they are overrun by the rapidly expanding invasion. Thankfully, another Predator has landed to clean up the mess, but it, too, may not be enough to save humanity.
Unlike the previous film, which relied on elaborate traps and sci-fi gizmos, AVPR is, ultimately, your run-of-the-mill monster movie set in a small town. As such, it's decent enough. As it comes with an R-rating, there is some okay gore and a few exciting moments here and there. It's always fun to see the Aliens in action, of course. The cast is good-looking, which is about all you can ask for, and the movie races along at a fast enough clip.
Unfortunately, directors Colin and Greg Strause are no better prepared to handle the franchise than Paul W.S. Anderson was. What's lacking from the film is the appreciation for the franchises that inspired this movie. The Alien movies and the first Predator movie are classics and feature two of the best alien creatures ever conceived. The Strause brothers don't seem to realize this, as they treat these creatures as nothing more than another monster in yet another monster movie. They never capture the emotions of the townspeople as they come to realize that they are being invaded by some super bad-ass aliens, and what's lacking is that feeling of utter desperation and hopelessness that worked so well, especially in Alien and Aliens.
As simply a monster movie, AVPR works in its own right, though the Strause brothers miss out on some good opportunities. In one sequence, two teenagers play to go skinnydipping, suggesting that the film may truly live up to its R-rating. Instead, the girl's jealous boyfriend shows up and several of the guys go falling into the pool, just as an alien jumps in at the other end. The Strause brothers could have really made something of the scene, but instead just blow it. There are other moments where they should have gone a different direction and simply don't.
Nevertheless, I liked AVPR better than the first movie - in some ways. It's a more authentic film, offers a lot more gore and a little more believability. The Strause brothers obviously took the movie more seriously than Anderson did, and that helps. At the same time, AVPR isn't all that great, either, but it isn't bad enough to be thoroughly entertained by just how bad it is. In other words, the original Alien Vs. Predator was so bad it was good - in a funny way - AVPR isn't as bad, but it ultimately isn't as entertaining.
If you like to mock bad movies, the first Alien Vs. Predator is the way to go; if you want a little bit more gore, you can do worse than Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem. Either way, I hope this second film puts an end to the miserable franchise.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.