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Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem review!Reviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis

Directed by Colin & Greg Strause


Few things run as deep as my love for Alien and Predator. These two beasts were the gateway into my passion for creature features and horror movies in general. Three years ago I saw all that love eviscerated when Paul W.S. Anderson raped my inner fan with the unholy abomination that was Alien vs Predator. It was the single greatest movie upset of my life, but despite getting burned, I held out hope for a good follow-up. Slick internet trailers and reassuring words from the new directors raised my hopes out of the gutter, and all I asked for Christmas was to see justice brought to my favorite franchises. But instead Santa has delivered a big bag of “Fuck you!”, only wrapped in prettier bow.

Yes, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem is light years better than the first (how could it possibly be worse?), but it’s still a big heaping pile of mediocrity that’s indistinguishable from decades worth of clones. Whereas AVP felt like a 10-year old’s fan film, AVP-R feels like a fan film with an upgrade instead of the real deal. This is a match made in heaven, so why the hell can’t anyone get it right?

The sequel picks up right where AVP left off, as if anyone out there gives a shit. While the Predator ship is leaving Earth, a Predalien hybrid bursts from one of the dead warriors and runs amok onboard. Several dead Predators later, the ship crash-lands back on Earth and the Aliens escape into a small Colorado town, thus starting another war with several bland humans caught in the mix.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem review!The problems begin with a pedestrian script by hack Shane Salerno, co-writer of the first AVP and Armageddon. In a just world, Salerno would be bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly, but he somehow got a job in the film industry and is back once again to spooge his non-talent all over our favorite creations. The human characters, led by town yokel Dallas (one of many lame references), are nothing more than annoying stock WB characters who spout the kind of hideous dialogue you would expect from one of Michael Bay’s writers. When the chaos hits in the second act, what we do get is a series of predictable stalk-n-slash scenes that never stray from formula. By the time an Alien jumps into a high school swimming pool, all a fan can do is sit back and think about all the better stories that already exist in the original comic book cross-overs.

Through thick and thin, these franchises have been made by the best: Ridley Scott, John McTiernan, James Cameron, David Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. These aren’t just any directors, they’re some of the all-time great masters. So who does Fox hand-pick for their decades-in-the-making match-up? First, a soulless studio hack and now The Brothers Strause, two visual FX artists who have never directed a movie before. If history has taught us anything, it’s that FX guys don’t make for good directors (Rob Hall being the one exception), and the Brothers do little to prove otherwise. While their hearts appear to be in the right place, they focus all their efforts on imitating the other films rather than lending their own voice to the series. Direction consists of visuals that are dark and moody but lack any genuine atmosphere. While the emphasis on old school prosthetics over CGI is welcome, it’s all still one big technical exercise. The Brothers capture the look of Alien and Predator movies, but they forget the soul.

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem review!The action scenes are mostly unimpressive since the directors shoot everything dark and close up with jumpy editing. When the Predator throws down with a group of Aliens, you’re disoriented instead of excited, and that’s the biggest sin of AVP-R: It’s a versus film that fails to make you cheer in the way that all good versus films do. Every single good shot and gory moment has already been seen in the red-band trailer, so there’s nothing left to surprise us. There’s not one genuine moment of tension here.

So what’s good about the film? The creature work by Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis is top notch. The Predators looks like genuine Predators this time around, instead of the hulky WWE embarrassments from the last film, and their new weapons and trinkets are undeniably cool. The Predalien is also an impressive creation and provides the film with its only inspired moments of carnage. Add Brian Tyler’s nostalgic score, and you have several elements that would’ve worked perfectly if only this were a better movie.

The fact that Fox opted for this franchise instead of the Ridley Scott/James Cameron Alien 5 collaboration or Robert Rodriguez’s epic Predator 3 script will forever be one of Hollywood’s biggest blunders. Now that they’ve effectively ruined both franchises, the next move will probably be to go back and remake the first films in each series, permanently screwing the fans out of any good future installments. To paraphrase Jackson’s King Kong, that’s the thing you learn about Fox: They’re undying ability to destroy the things they love.

2 out of 5

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  • plagiarize

    saw it too late to include it on my best/worst lists. it would have definately placed somewhere on the worst list. now, i didn’t hate the first AvP as i know most people around here already know. i won’t get into that again here… but say what you like about the story of the original, i’m amazed that this one is getting a pass for the retarded change to the life cycle, when the first AvP got so much hate for merely speeding it up.

    there was no suspense. none. the great moments in the first few alien movies were those moments when you knew the aliens were coming. the air vents in Alien, the sentry guns and motion scanners in Aliens… nothing like that here. all we got here was an alien jumping out and going BOO with zero build up. lame.

    human characters not worth a shit. how is it that i can identify with a space marine or a space trucker much more than i can a kid in high school? oh yeah… better directing and acting.

    someone fire the DP too. dude you’re meant to paint with LIGHT. guess what… there’s no point hiding these monsters in the shadows when they’re fighting each other. none. we know what they look like. Woodruff and Gillis have got them both down to an art now, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    in the first AvP i guess people were too busy getting pissed off that the predators got their asses kicked by grid to notice how much better shot and lit that fight was than anything here.

    however, there is one thing i was genuinely impressed by: the predator scenes. if you cut out all scenes without the predator in, you’d have a really watchable 30-40 minute piece. start with him receiving the transmission and go from there. for a character that doesn’t speak, his thoughts and deductions were brilliantly portrayed without the need of subtitles or voice over or whatever.

    an interesting mute character that doesn’t need someone to talk for him for us to understand what he’s up to. i’d say it’s pretty obvious which one character the strauses cared about.

    and seriously… if you’re going to rip off a film, why pick Resident Evil: Apocalypse? why? why?!?! the whole ending of the film with the missile and the helecopter and the shock wave of the resulting explosion catching up with the helecopter and not showing the crash and just going to white and fading back to a crashed helecopter was a direct crib of a film written by the person these guys were making a sequel to.

    as for the ‘homages’ ‘get to the chopper’ made me laugh. but only because i remembered Buz’s Arnie impersonation.

  • Terminal

    I know, it was beaten over my head every minute. I’ve never seen a movie so intent on saying “See the metaphor! See the metaphor!”

  • Sirand

    28 Weeks was a total metaphor for the War in Iraq. It was so deliberate, anyone could see that. The director even threw in imagery from years worth of news and media coverage.

  • Fireflyfan

    oh undeadmin, i KNOW a lot of you liked that predator script but ONLY because it was fanboy favourite robert rodriguez. his name alone would have you tossing off at the thought of him doing predator , quality be damned.

  • Fireflyfan

    Im sorry but the only parellel was the us military between iraq and 28 weeks. I mean if england was decimated by a virus, of course when it was gone you would repopulate the country, or would you rather it just be left as land mass? And seeing as the uk military was probably wiped out i doubtthey would be the ones spearheading the reconstruction.

    I remember him also mentioning the us blowing up everything in the movie- actually first they try to be discriminate but that makes things worse. ifthey had blown everything up it might have stopped the virus. plus the us military was right- the end of themovie proves it. the kids and mother were left alive and because of that the virus spread unchecked to france where we can assume it crosses borders probably infecting everwhere but us/canada.

  • Chainsaw

    It seems like we do get a lot of boring human characters in horror movies these days.

    Must be more of a reflection of current society than we realize.

  • Sirand

    I think anyone giving it a pass will think differently on a second viewing. There’s a lot to be said for extremely low expectations.

  • Kryten Syxx

    Buz and I discussed the film yesterday and he mentioned I may like it after a second screening. Nope, I actually liked it less. All the humans are just as hollow and stereotypical as the ones found in the first movie, but are given slightless less annoying dialog. There’s not one memorable thing about them, but we are still forced to watch them instead of focusing on the title characters!

    If we cut all that filler out then AVP:R would be a couple cool moments of Predator badassdom and the great Hybrid design. That doesn’t make a good movie. I can’t wrap a sliver of gold in a dog turd and call it a treasure worth the smell. This pic doesn’t even warrant it’s own title for god’s sake. Watching it again made me just want to sit through Alien, Aliens and Predator back to back intead.

  • The Woman In Black

    I don’t know — maybe because it was Christmas and I was in a good mood or maybe because it was fun to see some familiar faces like Sean from Rescue Me and Michelle from 24 — but I actually didn’t mind AVP:R so much. Yeah, the fights were too dark and cut too tight, but all in all, it was a fun time at the theatre. I didn’t find the characters nearly as annoying or unbelievable as those in the first AVP; no one came close to pissing me off as much as Sanaa Lathan’s character did. Hardly the best of the year but certainly not the worst either. 3/5 from this Woman.

  • Sirand

    Alien gladiator type games and death matches on the Predator homeworld with Arnie and Danny Glover and rogue-Predators being crucified? Yea, I’ll take RR’s Predator 3 over some half-assed versus movies.

  • Terminal

    Trophy hunters? Yes.
    Jack Hannah? No.

  • Undeadmin

    Fireflyfan wrote:
    “Oh and Robert Rodriguez’s Predator 3 script was fucking retarded.

    An alien zoo? Get fucking real.”

    I have to ask, do you even understand the Predator franchise? Is it that much of a stretch for a race of aliens that hunt other races as sport to have a facility that breeds and otherwise keeps these species captive? They are trophy hunters in the first place.

  • Undeadmin

    I enjoyed it a lot too. It wasn’t all it could have been but it was still a lot of fun.

  • The Buz

    What’s weird is I completely agree with you Mike on all counts, yet…I oddly enjoyed it. Maybe it was because I lost all hope just before entering the theatre, or maybe my ass is already loose from being reamed so hard before on the first AVP, but I came out of this one happy.

  • Kryten Syxx

    Sorry, but just because the directors killed a few kids and preggos doesn’t give it a pass in the slightest.
    ———————————————————————-

    2007 has been the year of the shaft. Great horror movies were badly marketed and left for dead while true pieces of shit brought home the big bucks. Yet, many of us held out on giving up until the very last week of ’07 because there was no way Aliens VS Predator: Requiem could be a shit sandwich.

    It is inconceivable that anything could be worse than Paul W.S. Anderson’s first AVP film. It was as generic as all his other silver screen entries. The pics was rife with plot holes and turned the mythology of both franchises on their respective backs and shit down their throats. AVP was just a waste of time, effort and money.

    So along came the brothers Strause, two FX guys who wanted to please the fans and make the cross over actually work. Well fans … they fucked up. After all the talk and all the boasts there was little here to actually warrant the title of Aliens VS Predator. What we got instead was WB Teen Series Clichés VS Sci-Fi Original Movie Clichés. Sure, there was some AVP action thrown in there, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

    Why was the focus of AVP:R on a group of cardboard cutouts? I didn’t pay to see a love story between a one-note pizza delivery boy and his “way too old to be in high school” girlfriend. I also didn’t give one fuck about the guy’s ex-con brother and his cop buddy. To top that off, I cannot even remember the name of the Ellen Ripley character we’re forced to watch who has an estranged relationship with her young daughter. If we’re not given a reason to like or care for these characters, why are we spending a majority of the movie with them?

    That may remain a mystery forever, much like all the fight scenes between the xenomorphs and Predator. Each and every clash between these two iconic creatures is badly light and becomes a victim of that great trend of quick cuts and extreme close-ups. This style of eye gouging cinematography carries over even to the very last battle between our scarred up anti-hero and the Alien-Predator hybrid. Here we have a chance to see a great choreographed fight scene to end all fight scenes! What the audience is treated to though is … I don’t fucking know. Honestly, I can’t make out what happened at all during that battle of the outer worldly titans. It looked like someone tried to film a sex scene between two large men in leather fetish suits, but the fire sprinklers accidentally went off and the cameraman was sliding in too close to the action.

    So what good things can be said about the film when the title characters bring so little to the feature? Nothing. No, I am not giving this film a pass in the slightest just because it had the right music or gave 50 homages previous films from both series. That is fanboy bullshit! Cutting scenes and characters out of other films does not make a good movie; it only shows that the filmmakers had little-to-no talent to make their own movie. Hell, even fan-made films like Batman: Dead End manage to put together better Predator and Alien moments in a shorter time span and budget.

    I saw this film on Christmas day in a packed theatre. As much as I hate people talking during the picture, there was a bright bit of wisdom that one greasy teen shouted out at the very end right before the credits roll, “Gay!” Usually I would make the argument that assigning a sexual orientation to a movie is asinine, but after getting raped in the ass by yet another AVP movie it felt appropriate.

  • Uncle Creepy

    I think Buz nailed it.

    While the movie isn’t great, it was a damned good time.

    This is exactly what the first AVP film should have been.

    To say it’s only slightly better than the original AVP is being way too hard on it.

    If I were rating, I’d give it 3 to 3 1/2 knives.

    **SPOILER**

    Hell, it should get a solid knife just for being ballsy enough to kill kids and pregnant women! 😉 LOL

  • The Buz

    Here’s my two cents:

    I was offered candy from a stranger back in 2004. Seeing as how that candy looked delicious and I just had to try some, I took it. Next thing I know I’m being raped in the back of a mini van in a toys r us parking lot. That was my experience with Alien Vs Predator.

    Flash forward to 2007 I’m being offered candy again from a stranger. However this time, this candy looks more chocolaty and shiny.

    Enter Alien Versus Predator 2: Requiem. The follow up to Hollywood-Hack Paul W.S. “Fuck You, and eat dog shit” Anderson’s AVP. A movie that will forever burn in my brain as being the most disappointing film I’ve ever seen. But out of no where comes the Strause Brothers, the directors of AVP:R. After being raped the first time around, I was obviously hesitant about seeing this new go around of Alien and Predators. But after countless interviews, and a kick ass Red-Band trailer my hopes were raised to the point of sheer excitement.

    “It certainly couldn’t be any worse than the first!” That was my motto for the long wait for this Christmas. So what did Christmas bring? Well, he brought us a generic action flick with Aliens and Predators in it. Is it better than the first? Damn straight it is. Is it a great movie? No, it isn’t.

    The film starts off where the colossal fuck up of AVP left off with a PredAlien loose on a ship full of predators. It quickly takes out most of the preds, and the ship goes down into a small Colorado town. Unfortunate for the towns people, the face huggers being contained on board escape and have their way with whatever they can find. A Predator back home discovers that something went wrong and flies out to earth immediately to clean up the mess.

    Here’s the bad. The script. Way too many characters. In one corner we have the soldier woman who I can’t even remember if they say her name who has a estranged relationship with her daughter after being in Iraq for some odd months or years (Oh my god A Ripley-Newt homage!); in another corner we have the town sheriff and the former town bad boy, Dallas, reconciling after Dallas just got out of prison; in one more corner we have Dallas and his younger brother Billy, or maybe Jimmy or something like that, well they are reconciling their relationship after Dallas has being away for so long and his younger brother becoming something of a town fuck up himself. But wait! There’s one more corner to this ring: we have the younger brother and the hot blonde chick, Jesse, trying to hook up after crushing on each other for oh-so long in high school.

    Through the course of the film all these characters mash up into the middle of the ring and hit some arc that I guess made sense at the time of writing it. So thank you Shane Salerno, screen writer of AVP:R and co-writer of the first, for taking the carbon cutouts from Armageddon and Transformers and putting them in a movie with Aliens and Predators. Just like the first AVP, the characterizations suck. Same kind of moon, same kind of jungle.

    The editing and close up of all the fights scenes can also be chalked up on the bad list. Is it so hard to just show us what we all paid to see? Aliens and Predators duking it out. Albeit not every fight scene is this way, but sadly the majority are.

    And though the references were very cool to see (and they are good and plentiful), the movie does come off as more of a fan film than an actual motion picture. There are so many scenes that are lifted directly from the originals that it negates all the suspense that could have been had in the movie. Not to mention my “I could give a shit less” attitude about the characters, I wasn’t scared once throughout the film.

    But not is all lost kids. There is good in this flick. First off the score by Brian Taylor rocks. It has all the wonderful themes from both movies mixed together in one kick ass soundtrack. Something I’ll definitely be picking up. The main and only Predator (so rightly named The Wolf) also kicks major ass. It was a nice change of pace from the down syndrome’d preds of the first film. And he’s a great nod to the comics (Broken Tusk). The Predalien design is also very bad ass. They’ve also created some new biologics with the Aliens in Requiem and how Aliens are birthed. Though it makes no sense from a scientific stand point, it is definitely cool to see on screen. This also becomes part of one of the many fucked up things that happens to people in this movie. I have to hand it to the Strause brothers for having the balls to kill kids, babies, and pregnant mothers.

    And much like Alien Resurrection, it was also just fun watching Xenomorphs run amok. They go to town on…well, this town. It’s carnage bloody carnage. However, you’ve sadly already seen all the best stuff in the Red band trailer they released (except for a few good segments here and there).

    I wasn’t really looking to see the cast of Transformers with my Alien and Predators but it was better than the first. And I’ll happily admit I had fun watching it. I was giggling with glee at every visual reference to each series (the end fight with The Wolf and Predalien is almost shot for shot just like the end fight in Predator) and each sound design homage. All in all though, it wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been. It can be compared to getting third place at the science fair. There’s always the bright side to look on that at least you placed above most of the other people out there, but you just didn’t get that first place you should have gotten.

    This will definitely make some money over the next few weeks, and the hot topic crowd is going to eat it all up, but us hard core fans of these two great series may or may not find all that is should be cracked up to be.

    Am I disappointed? Yeah, I am. But am I satisfied? Yes, I can be for now. I guess maybe after being raped so bad the first time around I just have to sigh and settle for this. It’s not a great movie, but it’s not a bad movie. But as I sit here writing this review, watching Predator, I can’t help but wish I was given more. There is so much potential just waiting to be unleashed. It’s just too bad.

    I hope FOX can give us Space Marines and Aliens, and Predators. IN THE FUCKING FUTURE.

    Until then, this is Buz “Danger” Wallick, last remaining survivor of Alien Vs Predator, signing off.

  • Terminal

    Correction:

    “The movie was obviously a reference to that, it WASN’T an intelligent movie to begin with so the themes were pretty much forced down our throats.

  • Terminal

    Are you high?

    “I remember his incredibly dumb 28 weeks later review which compared the movie to Iraq, which it really had nothing to do with except for it had the military in it.”

    The movie was obviously a reference to that, it was an intelligent movie to begin with so the themes were pretty much forced down our throats.

  • Fireflyfan

    Oh and Robert Rodriguez’s Predator 3 script was fucking retarded.

    An alien zoo? Get fucking real.

  • Fireflyfan

    This guy must be the most overblown, up his own ass reviewer in history.

    Where did you guys find him?

    I remember his incredibly dumb 28 weeks later review which compared the movie to Iraq, which it really had nothing to do with except for it had the military in it.

  • DW Bostaph Jr

    will be seeing it soon.. sigh

  • Kryten Syxx

    Ah, bland human characters … I just knew this latest AVP film would have them. Hell, the trailer telegraphed that to us. Mother fuckers.

  • Terminal

    A little too eerily reminiscent of an AICN review, but otherwise, it’s disappointing to see the potential dashed. Oh well.

  • The Woman In Black

    Darn it! Darn it! Darn it! Darn it!

    But of course we’ll be seeing it tomorrow anyway.