Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem (2007)

Aliens Vs Predator (2007)

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

A nasty Pred-alien hybrid escapes from captivity and crash lands on Earth near a small American town in Colorado. With the town quickly becoming overrun by aliens, the remaining humans try to wait it out for the National Guard to arrive. But things are made worse when a Predator is dispatched from the Predator home world to “clean up” the mess.

 

After the monumental disappoint that was Alien Vs Predator, the outcry from fans of both series was strong and they wanted someone with a passion for the franchises to get on board and give the fans what they wanted to see. Cut out the unnecessary characters and give us some people we can root for. Give us a decent story that actually has the monsters fighting each other for a proper reason. And above all, just respect the mythology and legacy of both franchises in the way you treat the monsters. The Brothers Strause continually preached about how much they loved the other films and were determined to put to right the wrongs of Alien Vs Predator. Bigger, better and badder was the motto for this one. I had high hopes for this one. After all, it couldn’t get any worse? Could it?

Well watching Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem is more like an exercise is seeing just how deeper they could dig the graves of these two once-respected franchises. The two title creatures have just become generic movie monsters and have lost any of the originality that they may have had in their own films. They aren’t treated with any respect or even knowledge about what made them great. The writers have simply borrowed elements from the previous franchises and just thrown them out here because they look cool. They’ve watered everything down to the extent where chest-bursting doesn’t look scary, the Predators awesome weapons are just dinky toys and the aliens themselves are made out to be more weak and puny than they ever were meant to be portrayed.

This film really needed to reinvent the creatures and make them scary again but it fails miserably and just adds to their ‘pop culture’ appeal. The film also assumes that you’ve seen the other films and you know what each of the monsters can do and what its weaknesses are. So the film doesn’t go in for the ‘slow reveal’ – it goes in for the jugular with numerous face-huggings, chest bursting moments and speared individuals within the opening thirty minutes. After all, if you’ve seen Predator, you’ll know that it can cloak and has some nifty weapons. So why waste time in unveiling them slowly again? The fact that the human characters never really question the threat they are up against, they just assume they’re in a right mess, really tosses the film out of the window. If they’re so resigned to their fate, it’s no a good sign for the audience that we are ready for the end too.

The human characters are given the boot into third place once more and come out like afterthoughts once the writers have come up with as many cool ways for the aliens and Predator to be destroy each other. It’s not a coincidence that the original Alien, Aliens and Predator produced some truly iconic and memorable characters because the films were based around the characters first and then brought the monsters into the mix later in their running time. You had bad ass characters like Ripley, Dutch and those Colonial Marines kicking ass but what do you get here: puny American Pie-style teenagers, hunky guys with generic ‘troubled past’ back stories and a mother and daughter combo so pointless that the film just needed to kill them off early. The likes of Ripley and Dutch were great characters that were already bad ass but had to rise to the next level in order to overcome their foes. We saw that these monsters could take out ‘normal’ humans any day of the week and that only truly superior humans were able to match them. So it’s a great insult to these characters and the monsters that they are defeated by some wimpy teenagers who would be better off on the set of She’s All That. Would you rather see an alien wrestling a couple of jocks in a swimming pool in front of a bikini-clad chick or watch the alien rip apart a couple of space marines trying to blow it up with some superior weaponry? It’s a no brainer really!

The Brothers Strause are FX visual artists who have never directed a film before so why the hell were they given the task of trying to piece together the mess that was left behind from Paul Anderson and his butcher job on Alien Vs Predator? They’re too bothered with imitating and referencing the other films that they don’t even bother trying to do anything new. The action scenes are very dark and it’s really tough to see what is going on because the cameras are so frenetic and shaky. I guess I was watching an alien fight it out with a predator but you can’t tell. Given that there aren’t a lot of action scenes, when they do come around, you’re better off closing your eyes and pretending you can see the fight. Just because a fight takes places at night and in the rain does not mean that it’s innovative.

And what is the crack with the gore? All of the originals were 18 rated which meant that there were always going to be some shocking scenes but here the gore has been watered down, the violence saturated and the sadistic streak gone. And for what? To get a couple more pimply-faced teenagers into the cinema by getting a lower rating? That’s not a way to treat your fans. On one of the rare positives, both the aliens and the Predator look kick ass. They are both a mixture of CGI as well as traditional suits and animatronics. I still think that the close-up of the alien (every Alien film has at least one close-up), with it’s snarling, hissing, acid-dripping jaws almost grinning at it’s victim is one of the most frightening sights in cinema.

 

Alien Vs Predator: Requiem is worse than its predecessor because we didn’t just expect better, we demanded better. Yes we get more action, more gore and more of the two monsters fighting it out but the problems are still there – no respect for the franchises, a terrible by-the-numbers script and some of the worst characters this side of…well anything. If ever there was a franchise-killing film, this is it. It’s the ultimate insult to Ridley Scott, Dan O’Bannon, James Camera, HR Giger, Sigourney Weaver, John McTiernan, Arnold Schwarzenegger…hell anyone involved in the Alien and Predator films. The only question I have left is to ask: why can’t anyone get this idea right? It’s not rocket science!

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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