Awfully Good: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
Aliens may be attacking Chloe Moretz in THE 5TH WAVE, but I know one invasion I don't want to live through again…
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
Director: The Brothers Strause
Stars: Frank Predator, Ted Alien, Chet Predalien
When a Predator-Alien hybrid is let loose on Earth, only one masked extraterrestrial hunter can step up and save a small town in Colorado.
When the concept of Aliens vs. Predator was first pitched by Dark Horse in the early 90s, many a science fiction aficionado dreamed up the epic scenarios in which these two franchise monsters would go head to head. And while Paul W.S. Anderson's 2004 adaptation was a PG-13 snoozefest, this 2007 rated-R sequel finally gave fans exactly what they were clamoring for—a low-budget, barely comprehensible story set in a sleepy mountain town where the title characters play supporting roles to more dumb humans. Thanks Fox!
The casting for the SLEEPLESS IN SEATLE remake was admittedly inspired.
AVP:R was directed by the pretentiously monikered Brothers Strause, who got their start in special effects and music videos and would go on to make another alien-themed Awfully Good candidate, SKYLLINE. (The fact that SKYLINE is the best film in their oeuvre should be a clear warning.) REQUIEM picks up exactly where the first ALIEN VS PREDATOR left off, with a Predator-Alien hybrid bursting from the chest of a Predator as his ship leaves Earth, causing it to crash back to our planet in Gunnison, Colorado. A bunch of facehuggers escape and soon make their way through the town.
The hybrid Predalien (no, seriously that's what they call it) sounds cool in theory, but is definitely not in execution. He's presented as the big villain of the film, commanding an army of normal xenomorphs, but he mainly just shows up here and there when it's convenient to the story. The film also never bothers to explain if the Predalien has any unique powers and abilities as a result of its cross-pollination, so it just comes across as a standard alien with dreadlocks and a derpy head.
This alien was designed by H.R. Giger's less talented son Clarence.
The Predator himself doesn't fare much better in REQUIEM. After the first AVP inexplicably turned the alien hunter in to a hero, the sequel turns him in to the full-on savior of humanity. After multiple films we finally get a 10 second glimpse of the Predator homeworld and it is literally just a handful of buildings with a single Predator in them. This Predator gets an emergency message about what's happening on Earth and immediately leaves for our planet alone without any backup. Once he lands, he inexplicably begins to track down the Predalien and cover up all traces of its existence, destroying the ship and painstakingly disintegrating all bodies and evidence. It's a bizarre plotline that's never explained. Why not just blow up the town from space and head home? Is the Predator worried about the legal ramifications of accidentally unleashing a genetically-modified extraterrestrial on our planet? Is he worried about getting in trouble with his supervisor? Or maybe he's just trying to mess with alien conspiracy theorists? Regardless, he's pretty bad at his job as he continues to expose himself to more and more humans as the movie goes on. And before you get too excited, any fighting between the Predator and other aliens is underwhelming at best.
That is one threesome I want no part of.
The script by Shane Salerno is only remarkable for its laziness. There are plenty of plot holes and inconsistencies (i.e. how come alien blood is only acidic some of the time?), as well as eye-rolling references to the previous films that just remind us how much better they are in comparison. (Hearing someone other than Arnold yell, "Get to the chopper!" should be an actual crime.) The story's weirdest tangent however sees the Predalien make his way in to a hospital and decide he wants to breed with already-pregnant women. This culminates in a scene where the hybrid alien stares awkwardly in to a hospital maternity ward full of babies liked a proud father, then immediately starts face-humping a woman about to go in to labor. Later on, she gets an impromptu C-section from some womb-bursters.
The screenplay also features lots of random human characters you don't care about—an ex-con fresh out of jail, the sheriff who put him there, a high school student and his crush and his bully, and a solider home from the war and her estranged daughter. Those basic descriptions are all the characterization you're going to get from REQIUM as the group is just thrown together halfway through and never build any sort of relationship or memorable qualities. At one point the guy who randomly becomes the hero says, "We have to protect Kelly and keep her alive!" and I actually had to go to the IMDB page to remind myself which one was Kelly. The other problem is that the movie never bothers to connect either of the film's alien or human plotlines, to the point where you could completely remove the Earthlings and nothing would change. And which would you rather follow: two alien species fighting to the death or poorly-written people whose names you can't remember?
"Excuse me, I'm looking for my friend Sigourney…"
The most memorable part of ALIENS VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM, however, is the way the Brothers Strause attempt to cover up all these glaring problems. Their solution? Make it so no one can physically see the movie! AVP:R is so dark—not in terms of story or tone, but being poorly lit—that you can't see what the hell is going on most of the time. I don't think I've ever encountered a major studio film with such terrible cinematography. I get wanting to create a sense of suspense by hiding these horrific creatures in the shadows, but most of this movie is visually incomprehensible. (Halfway through, the aliens knock out power to the entire town, making things even darker, and I thought for sure the filmmakers had to be doing this on purpose.) It's an especially terrible idea when featuring title creatures that are mostly black and hard to decipher when they're fighting. There may well have been some cool action and gory scenes in this movie, but I literally could not see them.
Can you spot the Predator in these actual screenshots from the movie?
Some famous last words and one character's penchant for telling other people to shut up. BONUS: Gratuitous underwear scene!
Some of the best gore and action scenes.
A gratuitous underwear shot.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- You can't see what's going on
- Someone dies
- The alien's blood is acidic
- The alien's blood is not acidic
- There's a direct reference to another movie in either franchise
Double shot if:
- Dallas tells someone to shut up
Thanks to Henry and Erinn for suggesting this week's movie!
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|Extra Tidbit:||The filmmakers nicknamed the Predator "Wolf" after Harvey Keitel's cleaner character Winston Wolfe in PULP FICTION.|