a critiQal film review Alien vs. Predator – Requiem (2007)

Plot: Aliens have landed on planet Earth and they are turning the small town of Gunnison, CO into a bloodbath. Nowhere is safe, especially from the unstoppable new hybrid known as the "predalien." Now, as the once-quiet community of Gunnison is overrun by Aliens, the only hope for humankind is a fierce hunter from the deepest reaches of space. But this Predator is far from a benevolent savior of the human race, because he'll kill any man, woman, or child who gets in the way of his mission to destroy every last alien under these stormy Colorado skies.

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After seeing , a sequel seemed like something worth watching, so I was excited when I heard Alien Vs. Predator Requiem was coming. As the Christmas release date drew closer, however, critics almost universally booed the film.

While I don’t take a lot of stock usually in what other critics say, the combination of the bad reviews and the Christmastime release date made me wait until the film came out on DVD. It hit DVD shelves back in April, but by that point I had a few other movies I wanted to see first.

So I had almost completely forgotten about this sequel, therefore, by the time I received it from Blockbuster.com. As I settled in to watch, I wondered if the critics were actually right on this one, or if I would regret putting off watching this film, and absolutely love it.

While the Alien films relied on Sigourney Weaver, and the Predator included Arnold Schwarzenegger and then Danny Glover, the films so far have relied on much less star power. This makes some sense, actually, since the real stars of these combo films are the Aliens and the Predators themselves.

AVP-R follows lead in this case, presenting viewers with a whole slew of actors, most of which are largely unrecognizable by the viewers. Still, one of those actors tends to rise to the top in these films: in , it was Sanaa Lathan; in AVPR it’s Reiko Aylesworth.

Reiko, like Sanaa before her, has been seen before (she played Michelle Dressler in “24,” among other roles), but she isn’t quite a household name yet. Sanaa took her role in and made the best of it, hoping to use the film as a stepping stone on her route to stardom (she’s since gone on to star in “Nip/Tuck”). Reiko, on the other hand, barely subsists through the film, disappointing even those viewers who recognize her – and certainly not attracting any new fans.

The rest of the cast is not much more than blurs in the darkness, with their acting not helping to distinguish one from the next. The large cast (as was the case for most of ‘s cast) is largely there to die spectacular deaths at the hands(?) of the Aliens and the Predators.

Unfortunately, thanks to rather bad lighting, most of these deaths occur without really giving the viewer what they came to see. Large amounts of Alien mouths blasting through skulls, half seen in the dimness – not really what fans are hoping for from a sci-fi horror flick like this one.

The plot seems like a good premise at first (Aliens invade a sleepy little town), but gradually disintegrates into stupidity and turns foul enough (kids aren’t immune – and neither are pregnant women) that the viewer may feel the need for a shower afterwards. Try sticking with the horror and stay away from the easy targets – it’s no fun if the filmmakers cheat, after all.

And then there is the Predator/Alien hybrid. Due to the poor lighting, the first couple of glimpses viewers get of this new hybrid will go by unnoticed, as the viewer thinks they saw just another Alien. Once the hybrid is revealed, the viewer will probably be a bit put off by the whole thing.

After all if the Alien series and the Predator series could survive 4 and 2 movies respectively without creating new foes, why can’t AVP last even 2 films? And why mess with success? After all, the same old Alien and Predators have made it through 7 movies already the way they are.

And the hybrid isn’t the only change. Apparently this new species of Alien can force a human to birth 3 or 4 Aliens at one time, rather than the typical 1-1 ratio – and these humns are implanted without the middleman (the face-sucking creature). Does this mean further sequels will do away with that creepy deliverything altogether? Hopefully not. Still, now that the Aliens can lay eggs directly in humans, hasn’t evolution moved past that thing?

This extra addition, like the hybrid, seems a ridiculous change. What’s the point? So less Aliens can breed 3 times as fast, creating more Aliens than ever? Um, why does the audience need a swarm of these things? The swarm of the face-suckers and the few big bad Aliens have always been freaky enough.

Maybe this was tossed in just to make a third film in the AVP series even more plausible. After all, with so many Aliens running around, one is bound to be missed, right?

That’s what most will think – right up to the very end, which suggests a third film (if there is one) will instead see humans venturing to the Alien and Predator worlds, proactively attacking rather than just waiting for the next ship to fall out of the sky.

This seems promising, but wait – wasn’t that called Starship Troopers? If the bad box office this film did is any account, chances are we won’t have to worry about a third AVP film any time soon.

And after seeing Alien Vs. Predator – Requiem, I think that’s probably a good idea. Stop running the series through countless sequels before making them so awful the original Alien and Predator series start taking the brunt of the viewer anger.

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