Thursday, 15 July 2010

Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem - Review


Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem (2007) Review By Matt Compton
Director: Colin Strause and Greg Strause
Writer: Shane Salerno, Dan O'Bannon (original characters)
Starring: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz,Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager, Tom Woodruff Jr., Ian Whyte

Surely this film must set some sort of new record. Not only is it the sequel to 2005’s ‘Alien Versus Predator’ but it is also the fourth film in the ‘Predator’ franchise as well as the sixth film in the ‘Alien’ series. Three sequels in one movie is pretty remarkable. Perhaps less remarkable is virtually every other aspect of this disappointingly dismal movie. The only consolation is that it does manage to be a better film than at least one of its predecessors. No prizes for guessing which one that is though.
It actually begins quite promisingly with the alien/predator hybrid briefly seen at the end of the last film killing the crew of the Predator spaceship it is on which then crashes on Earth. The ‘Predalien’ along with a bunch of facehuggers are then let loose in a small town and promptly begin to do what they do best – impregnate and slaughter everything that crosses their path. Hot on their tail however is a lone Predator who having learned of what happened jumps in his spaceship and hightails it across the galaxy on an urgent mission to…well that’s where the problems begin.
At first the predator seems to be trying to cover up any sign of alien presence on earth. He destroys the wreckage of the spaceship and uses special space-acid to dissolve any alien remains he comes across making sure that he remains cloaked and invisible the whole time. This tactic quickly goes out the window however when he gets fed up with all the secrecy and sets about skinning people and leaving their flayed corpses hanging from trees –not the most inconspicuous of habits. This sort of cavalier approach to logic and consistency is sadly indicative of the entire contrivance-filled script. Internal logic is the least of this script’s failings however, the real flaw is the almost wilful desire to create characters as paper thin and clichéd as anything written by even the hackiest of hacks. The town is entirely populated by stock characters like the reluctant indecisive sheriff, the bad boy loner, the high school jock and the hot girl who goes out with the jock but secretly is in love with the nerdy guy she grew up with. What is it with these jock-dating nerd-fancier characters anyway? They’re despicable people, never having the guts to talk to the real object of their affections in public or even stick up for them when they’re attacked by the jocks but then expecting him to be grateful and forthcoming when she finally decides the error of her ways. Skank. I digress however.
The rather grandly titled Brothers Strause are the directors responsible for this film and having made their name in the special effects arena are perhaps understandably more concerned with visuals over plot. It is clear from the outset that all they are interested in is displaying the sort of titanic rumble that the first film promised but failed to deliver. Whether this smackdown occurs however is actually quite difficult to judge due to the directors doing everything in their power to prevent the audience from seeing what is happening on screen. Sure, we know that there are aliens and a predator knocking seven shades of neon space goop out of each other on screen but they are doing it behind an all but impenetrable curtain of darkness, torrential rain, smoke, steam and general gloom. The only times the titular extra-terrestrials are seen closely is in extreme close up, we are very rarely treated to full length shots of the beasties which is a shame because they are great looking and the actors inside the suits give a convincing enough performance (the only actors in this film who do incidentally).
Despite a list of failings as long as an alien queen’s prehensile tail, there are at least a couple of saving graces in this movie. For the first time in the franchise we are given a tantalising but all-too-brief glimpse of the Predator home world as well as a little more footage of the sort of technology they have at their disposal. The film also displays an admirably callous approach to who gets their comeuppance. Nobody is safe here, especially not children and pregnant women.
Unfortunately, this leads us onto an aspect of the film that is simply bafflingly bad. Rather than use the existing mythos and biology of the Alien which was set up in previous films and is so instrumental in their mystique and allure, screenwriter Shane Salerno has instead opted for a complete bastardisation of their reproductive cycle which goes against everything already established about these creatures. The Alien is now somehow able to reproduce by laying eggs in pregnant women’s throats which then almost instantly grow into several new aliens. This defies so many rules of logic and good sense both in the film’s world as well as the real one that it is just insulting.
Although, not an absolute disaster this is a very bad film. It has some good visuals and the effects, or at least what we see of them, are good but ultimately, a film with this much action in it should not be this boring.

Rating: 6/10

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