Ok, so Alien Vs. Predator wasn’t any great shakes – I think we can all agree on that – but surely Paul Anderson’s ADD infused, subtlety wasteland is fucking Jaws compared to what came next.
When AVP:R (never figured out why exactly it’s called Requiem, and I don’t really care) was announced, a firm promise was made to counteract the toned down viscera from the first movie, no this movie would be for adults. More swears, more scares.
We should have known from then that the directing duo known as The Brothers Strause were going to balls this up because stating that all an Alien/Predator movie needs to be in order to be great is a couple of F-bombs and a bucket of offal chucked against a wall every now and then. Every Alien or Predator movie that is regarded as stone cold, undiluted classic is because it is an intelligently made, well scripted, masterpiece of it’s type, usually copied never equalled. The violence is a part of the whole, never the be all and end all; if you didn’t bond with the oiled slabs of meat in Predator and liked being in their company, you wouldn’t of cared when they inevitably get sliced and diced.
As it stands, there’s nothing worse than filmmakers who go on and on about being huge fans of the original movies and think that to show that all you have include name checks to previous characters (naming someone Dallas), famous lines (someone actually screams “Get to the chopper” at one point) or even proudly stating they’ve faithfully reproduced the Xenomorph screams from Aliens. If you really want to honor the original THEN HOW ABOUT MAKING A GOOD MOVIE INSTEAD OF OBSESSING OVER ALL THIS OTHER SHIT!?
I’m gonna take a deep breath, gather my thoughts and let you in on the plot. After a hybrid Pred-alien is born at the conclusion of the end of the first AVP, it grows into a strapping kill machine in no time at all and resets the crew status to: utterly fucking dead. When Predator ship crashes in Colorado and the Pred-alien immediately gets started on repopulating the Rocky Mountains with more insectoid murder-bastards, a distress call gets sent to the Predator home world where a scarred Pred “cleaner” saddles up and heads off to contain the xenomorph infestation (think Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction).
So far so decent. But when the creatures meet and you except the filmmakers to slip the brake off, the film bafflingly hamstrings itself with shockingly insipid characters, compromised action and cinematography so dark, you’d get a better picture if you turned the projector off. Seriously, I cannot establish enough how frustratingly bad the pitch black picture is in sections of this movie. Any scene set in the sewer, for example, is a total write off so you might as well bog off to the loo when this happens because you sure as shit ain’t gonna miss anything.
Something else that rankles is the level of violence on display here. Let’s use the first Alien movie as a touchstone, shall we? Sure, Alien flings the brain matter and viscera as aggressively as the best of them but it’s classy gore, y’know? AVP:R is just nasty and mean for mean’s sake and it just comes across as crass and cheap as the worst kind of brainless slasher movie. John Hurt erupted an alien hatchling out of his chest because it’s a chilling metaphor for the male fear of childbirth, AVP:R has the Pred-Alien regurgitate eggs directly down the throat of a pregnant woman because it’s icky…
There’s no comparison and the Brothers Strause – who went on to make the similarly irritating Skyline – fluff almost EVERY scene in the film.
Stupid, ugly and repeatedly leaving a bad taste in the mouth, the most impressive trick AVP:R pulls is being by far the worst entry in not one but two franchises.
The dictionary reads that Requiem means “a mass for the rest of the souls of the dead…” so I guess it IS apt then, as it renders two of cinema’s greatest monsters dormant as fuck…