– Summary –
Director : The Brothers Strause
Year Of Release : 2007
Principal Cast : Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Sam Trammell, Kristen Hager, Robert Joy, Ian Whyte.
Approx Running Time : 101 Minutes
Synopsis: A Predator spacecraft crashes to Earth carrying dead Aliens and a Facehugger embryo. Once again, the threat of human extinction looms as the world becomes a battleground for two of the Universe’s most feared alien creatures.
What we think : If you didn’t enjoy the first AvP movie, there’s only one direction you’ll be going here: further down. Requiem mines ineptitude like no other science fiction film, utterly bastardising both franchises in ways until now unthought of. Do yourself a favor – skip this movie. And remind others to skip it too.
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. You’d think a franchise like the Aliens series, which began so well with installments one and two, would be wide open for interpretation without suffering through the laws of diminishing returns and potential audience saturation. After all, with all the books, comics, fan-fiction and other media outlets clamoring for the two biggest modern monster titans to go head to head, this would be a sure fire success, right?
If this film is anything to go by, then the eponymous Aliens and Predators must be hurriedly seeking to return to outer space, and spend less time dicking about on earth.
Woefully cobbled together by a seemingly worse script about town bully’s and the “girl who hangs with tough guys but really likes that nerdy, weedy doofus over there”, and something about a PredAlien (read that as a composite of Alien and Predator… the ultimate “versus” if you will…) and you have all the hallmarks of a teen slasher film with a slight sci-fi twist. To be honest, I had very little hope for this film. Duo directors often blow it, mainly due to a lack of cohesive idea structure. The Wachowski Brothers struck gold with the first Matrix movie, but by films two and three they’d gone out to lunch and nobody could reach them. Albert and Allen Hughes came unstuck trying to adapt the wonderfully visceral From Hell after success with Menace II Society. Anybody sharing a directorial credit with somebody else had either better have a good thick skin, or get ready to fall from a great height. Duo directors suffer from a supreme lack of faith by the audience: you automatically assume that a film with two directors, even brothers, are one of two things: 1) so lacking in style and class that the film is rubbish, or 2) so bloody amazing that no matter what happens on screen it cannot possibly live up to your wildest expectations….. After all, there’s two directors, not just one!
Unfortunately, AVP2:R is about as trashy and bad as it gets. The Brothers Strause (see, even the Ye Olde Style of moniker works against them… this isn’t friggin’ Anne of Green Gables, people, it’s Aliens Vs Predator!) manage to do something even Ellen Ripley or the Governator couldn’t do. Send both franchise’s down the toilet in a single film.
Taking a really cool idea and thinking it’s going to look good on film is one thing. Talking a stupid idea and actually committing it to film is the worst sin you could commit in a film-making career. By managing to conform to every fanboys fantasy and combine both antagonistic villains, you’ve essentially neutered the very nature of the film you’re trying to tell. These babies are supposed to fight, for crying out loud, not become one being. The concept is a cool one, you have to admit, but unfortunately, it’s cool in concept only. Execution, while stylish, I’ll admit, is shocking.
The film starts off pretty much immediately after the previous installment ended, with the dead Predator from that film being ripped asunder by an Alien chest-burster. From there, things go to crap for the returning Predator ship, and a life buoy sends the demonic half-breed PredAlien to earth (where else?) to spread terror and destruction. It’s hard to know exactly at which point the film degenerates into a mishmash of blood and supposed scares, but let me let you in on a little secret: there are very few of the latter, and overkill on the former. It would seem modern film-makers insist on thinking that copious amounts of red gore will take the place of genuine thrills and scares: they won’t. It would seem modern film-makers consider ripping off camera-work from other directors is in some way a homage to that ripped off director: it isn’t, it’s a damned rip-off. David Fincher should have been paid royalties by The Brothers Strause for his work on this film. You know that moment in Alien 3 where the Alien corners Ripley in the medical station, growls at her and then takes off, all shot in glorious widescreen with Ripley far right and Alien far left? There’s a similar moment here.
While I admit, much of the sting has gone from both these two franchises with the advent of a “vs” series, the Predator still comes of the best. They are strange, unexplained creatures who have a great deal still to be told about. The Aliens, on the other hand, are really starting to get old, and it’s hard to find new ways of presenting their old tricks. What this does, however, is prevent the film from being really even, after all, the Predators get a whole bunch of weapons and things to play with, but the Aliens simply get lumbered with acid for blood (getting old) and the old tongue thing that explodes people heads in (even older).
If there’s something to be said about the acting, it’s not worth it. The acting is simply diabolical, but with such a shocking script to work from, it’s hard to know who is really at fault. The story meanders about with mere cardboard characters (some of whom appear, and die within minutes of appearing) standing in for actual people. The whole film is pretty much an excuse for death and carnage with little redeeming value whatsoever. Most films have a point: this one does not. It can’t even claim to be entertaining; by about half an hour in, I was wondering how much time I had left to waste.
As a special side note, I must mention that I base this review on the DVD copy I picked up from the local store. And I have to mention, the 20th Century Fox DVD is an absolute dog. The picture quality on this DVD, which Fox normally does quite well on, is something akin to the bad early days of DVD. The colors are horrible, the black resolution is atrocious and the whole thing looks more like an old VHS transfer than a current, high budget new release. Sound, while certainly in 5.1, manages to be quite dubious at best, with muffled mid-range audio and shocking channel definition ensuring that any of the ambient audio for those “spine chilling” effect from behind you, are minimized. I would have to say that this is singularly one of the worst looking DVD efforts I have seen in years. And that’s saying something.
Overall, I would find it hard to recommend this film to anybody but the most undiscerning sci-fi nutter. Purists will avoid regardless, and the casual observer would be better served sticking to the superior original films. Watch at your own risk.