Thursday, March 8, 2012

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007 Review, 4th review of 5)

    Having Predator and Alien rumble in “Alien vs. Predator” was a nice little treat but it did leave me wanting a little more then what I got, then three years latter there was a sequel titled “Aliens vs. Predator Requiem” and I got really excited. I was sure that they knew by now what works and what doesn’t in a film like this and it would be that stellar clash of titans epic that I’ve been waiting for, did it succeed, um, not really. Remember what I said about monster movies being nothing more than trashy entertainment, well, more often than not, they can come off as just plain trash and this film comes very close to fitting that description but it was at the very least saved by a hair.

    The film starts off very strong, picking up were the last film left off, the Predator/Alien hybrid that was seen at the end of the last AVP film bursts out the chest of the predator and stows away on the ship. We get some cool shots of outer space, including an awesome first gimps of the predator home world, sure it’s not a very long scene but after 3 films, I’ve always wanted to see this place and from what we do see it looks really cool, there’s tall statues, futuristic buildings, control rooms and a really interesting orange lighting to the whole planet, which is really neat. The ships also look really good and we see a few cool interiors like a map room complete with a hologram of Earth and the lab where they keep the alien face huggers. Then without warning, the hybrid makes his attack, killing off all the Predators on board the ship, freeing the face huggers and crashing into a mountain side on earth near a small Colorado town. Now the aliens are free to spread throughout the town like wild fire, meanwhile a single predator learns of the downed ship and goes out to avenge his fallen brethren. Okay, so we had a really cool opening and the setup sounds really exciting, how could they mess this up?

       Well, the problems start as soon as we see our main extras and I say extras because there really aren’t any main characters to speak of. Nothing that these peope say or talk about is interesting, they have no personalities, they give you no reason to care about them, other than the fact that there humans. The characters in the first “Alien vs. Predator” were mostly just cardboard cut outs but at least there was an effort to make them actual characters and to be fair some of them were genuine enough to care for. But these new people are so bland, boring, unimaginative, uninspired and forgettable that when they show up again in the film, I forget that they were introduced to us earlier. I never thought I’d say this but give some small credit to the jerks in “Predator 2”, they were at least characters. These people might as well have there scripts in their hands for how obvious they are. It actually makes for the first time in a film that a steaming hot chick got in a sexy bathing suit and I couldn’t care at all. Now I know it’s typical for slasher films to have characters like this but the Predator and Alien movies were about more than that, they were about good characters (for the most part) and really good stories (again for the most part) and this film can’t give me a single good character.

      Actually, I take that back, there is one good character that I like and that of cores is the Predator himself. Of all the different Predators I’ve seen, this one is easily the best. Sure, he has some boring moments like when he’s cleaning up a mess with his magic blue disappearing liquid. But then he has some really great moments, there’s a scene when he comes across one of the dead Predators from the crashed space ship, he puts his hand on his head and quietly grieves to himself. That was pretty surreal, this shows that Predators are more than mindless monsters that kill for sport, they do actually care for their own kind. He also has his fare share of really cool moments, he’s the only predator to use a wipe, he has two plasma cannons on his back for the price of one, he’s also equipped with a laser net and there’s a really awesome moment when he kicks down a glass door.  The Aliens look a lot more menacing and are closer to the ridge warrior head designs from the 1986 “Aliens”, unfortunately while they look cooler, there not as formidable as they were in the first AVP movie. The new Predator/Alien hybrid doesn’t offer that much new, aside from aesthetics, but it is still a cool design and a great appoint to go against this new heavily armed Predator.

      Now it really hurts me to confess this but the film did have some worthwhile entertainment. The  alien and Predator battles in this film are pretty sweet, and they don’t just fight once, they have all kinds of brawls throughout the film. We get a fun fight in the sewers, a shootout at an electronics plant, a fight in a discount store, an exciting battle inside the hospital and the final showdown on the roof top between the main Predator and the Hybrid is really awesome. The two body slam one another, predator swings his spear like a samurai, using his tail the hybrid kicks him across the roof and there’s this one really cool moment matched to some great music where the predator slowly takes of his weapons and mask as if to say “I don’t need any weapons to defeat you”. The roof top setting is also a really cool location because there are so many pipes and electrical boxes for them to crash into and crawl around on.  Yes, for as bad as this film is, it has one hell of an action packed climax. There also isn’t as much of a shaky camera effect as there was before and the fights are a little longer. However, we do dive back into negative territory because while we do have those improvements, the action (and the just about the entire movie) still suffer from too much dark, murky lighting. Of all the horror, monster movies I’ve ever seen in my life, I have never had a harder time seeing anything that was going on then in this movie.


      While the film gives both creatures a lot of screen time, the movie never has a moment when it addresses the two different species. The people in this film just keep running around saying that there being invaded and that they need to escape but they never acknowledge that there’s two different alien spices that are at war with each other. For all the flaws in the first AVP movie, they at least addressed the two different creatures, the humans were aware of the two fighting, why they were fighting and it was a story that worked with both specific creatures in it. In this movie, there just creatures invading a town, they might as well be the Martians from “Mars Attacks!” for all the difference it makes. On that note, there’s no A too B connection between these two films. Sure it takes place right where the last one left off but nothing else from the first film is brought up here, there’s no mention of any of the events, no mention of the main character from before, no mention of that pyramid, it’s literally like a standalone squeal that doesn’t feel at all like the first. 


      The violence and gore is really overblown and there’s one scene in particular that really pushed my hot button. There’s a moment in a hospital were the aliens are in a room full of babies, real live babies! We don’t see the creatures eating them but we can assume that they did, considering that this hospital becomes the main location for their nest. That just feels like a very sick attempt to kneejerk an uncomfortable reaction from the audience. If you thought that was bad, it actually gets worse. Latter in this scene we see a pregnant woman on a hospital bed, then the hybrid creature fills her up  with multiple alien eggs, so she can produce multiple aliens, it’s nasty. Just to make this even worse, the directors stated that the hybrid prefers to impregnate already pregnant woman with aliens, because it gives the babie aliens something to eat inside the womb to give them strength and that’s the straw that broke it for me, if a film does something that monstrously cruel and sick then it is just dead to me or at the very least ignored more than the others.    

       Usually, I’d give a bad movie like this 1 ½ stars, but I sadly must confess that there is some enjoyment that saved it from being a complete waist of time. The predator is awesome, the musical score is decent, the monster battles are fun and the climax is one of the best that the series has to offer. But that’s still not enough to save this film from its stupid characters, lame scripting, lack of attention to the source material, painfully murky vision and unnecessary disturbing sequences like that horrible hospital scene. I just can’t be as easy on this film as I was on the last one, the first AVP felt like a traditional, fun 1950’s Sci-Fi monster flick and was self aware of what kind of film it was. This film is trying to be so many other things at once and is constantly forgetting what it’s supposed to be. So how do I properly rate and recommend this film, well I’d say it’s a safe one to skip but if you’re curious then rent it and fast forward to all the good stuff. I give “Aliens vs. Predator Requiem” 2 stars, the climax gets a 3.5. Anyway, if this series was to survive and grow, then it would need to do something really good the next time and leave the Aliens behind from now on, a review for “Predators” is up next. 

     To Be Concluded.....                

1 comment:

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