Aliens vs. Predator Requiem (AVP-R)

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem takes two of science fiction’s most beloved, enduring and absolutely terrifying creature creations and plays them strictly for shock value. The franchise’s first film AVP took the characters and at least attempted to tell a worthy story with them. Their mistake was in watering things down to suit a PG-13 audience. AVP-R now swings too far the other way, tossing out any pretense of story in favor of pure, unadulterated violence. The result is a movie every bit as awkward and laborious as its unwieldy, ridiculous title.

It starts right where the last movie left off, with a facehugger infected Predator orbiting Earth. That Predator crash lands, and starts spreading Aliens around a small, Colorado town. A second Predator, investigating the death of the first, shows up to start hunting Alien. He’s brought along with him a vial of magic liquid which, when dripped on something, has the incredible ability to disintegrate exactly what the Predator wants to. No more, no less. And so our new Predator friend prowls around Colorado killing Aliens and pouring his liquid on the remains, as if to hide the Alien infestation from humans, even though they already know about it, and even though he occasionally stops to skin a human and leave him hanging in public. Not very secretive. While we’re at it, it’s never entirely clear what the heck the film’s Predator is trying to accomplish to begin with. His magic disintegration liquid would seem to suggest he’s trying to achieve some sort of infestation containment, but with one Predator up against literally hundreds of Aliens that’s quite clearly impossible. Perhaps he’s simply there for sport, hunting a new breed of Alien/Predator hybrid which shows up in the film, but if that’s the case then what’s with all the trouble to hide the remains of his Alien kills? The movie’s premise is flawed right from the start. There’s no real logic to it, except to say the movie happens the way it does because it’s a movie in which a single Predator fights a bunch of Aliens in Colorado.

Meanwhile, the film introduces various groups of small town humans to serve as Alien fodder while our Predator friend hangs around in the shadows. They’re typical horror movie pretty people, most of whom seem to behave as if they’re trapped in a zombie movie instead of something called Aliens vs. Predator. The few who live long enough to become the film’s hero characters are so poorly developed you’re unlikely to remember their names, let alone anything else about them. She’s the pretty girl. He’s the reformed thief. This guy is the town sheriff and so on.

The humans don’t matter, since the film exists only to deliver rampant gore and violence. That it does, without hesitation. AVP-R takes special pleasure in delivering vicious death to beautiful women, children, babies, and pregnant women. I get it, I understand why the film’s directors the Strause Brothers want to have a chest burster leap out of a kid just as he calls out for hid dad. It’s more shocking. Hollywood shies away from hurting kids, because, well, mainstream audiences don’t want to see it. But AVP-R seems to take special delight in it, probably because we aren’t used to seeing it. Perhaps they think they’re pushing boundaries by doing it. Whatever. I guess the Strause boys should get at least a little credit for keeping AVP-R free of murdered dogs. They prefer fetuses instead.

Unfortunately, violence against weak, helpless opponents is all AVP-R has to offer. The entire film is cloaked in rain and fog and extreme dark making it impossible to discern what’s going on in any of its more action heavy sequences. The Strause brothers make sure you can see Alien babies leaping out of a pregnant woman’s belly, but when the Predator grapples with a group of Aliens it’s impossible to figure out who’s punching who or what’s eating what. It gets boring fast.

I’m not sure who the audience is for this movie. If it’s gorehounds, they’ll probably be disappointed by all the dark shadows and dim lighting which obscure so much of the action. If it’s fans of the AVP franchise or either of the creatures being meshed together here, they’re likely to end up wishing AVP-R had bothered to include some sort of story. It’s a cruel mess of a movie released at Christmas, the worst possible time for a film dedicated to the senseless worship of blood, guts, and gratuitous killing. I can’t think of any reason for anyone to bother seeing it.

Josh Tyler