Friday, June 29, 2012

Alien vs Predator: Requiem

I don't like having to end a marathon on a bad note, but I guess that's often the nature of movies.  Franchises often end because the sequel is a clunker, not because the story reached a natural conclusion.  Movie studios will churn these things out as long as they make money off them and often don't stop to think about what made the franchises so good to begin with.

Alien vs Predator: Requiem is just a mess of a film.  It contains a fairly large cast of characters, and it even tries to provide us some kind of story for most of them, but the story is hollow and empty.  A young man returns to his hometown from who knows where, picked up by his friend who is now a cop and inquires about his younger brother and is told he's been getting himself into trouble.  A woman returns home from the army to her daughter and husband Sam Merlotte and apparently her daughter isn't too happy about her being gone for so long, but that plot gets dropped like a stone somewhere in the middle of the film.  The younger brother has a love interest and some bullies who bother him but they all get killed off so fast that it doesn't really matter.  As such, I don't care a bit about any of these humans and whether they survive or not.

As far as our big two species are concerned, the Predator apparently collected some facehuggers and put them in jars, which really doesn't make any sense considering they blew the whole pyramid up at the end of the last film.  The hybrid grows quickly and causes enough chaos that the ship crashes, which sends a signal to some other Predator to come to earth and clean up the mess.  The facehuggers get loose and create more aliens, and the clean up Predator is here to kill them and the hybrid.  This is all functional enough but not particularly interesting.  The hybrid has the ability to impregnate humans without an intermediary facehugger by simply shoving something down a human's throat.  That really makes me wonder how Predator reproduction works, but beyond that and his silly dreadlocks, there's no real difference between the hybrid and the other xenomorphs.  It's wasted potential, in my opinion.

Much like Predator 2, there was one scene that genuinely amused me.  When the little girl complains about monsters being outside, her parents don't believe her.  The dad walks up to the window and says, "See?  No monsters."   The xenomorph then promptly breaks through the window and kills him.  I'm probably supposed to be more scared than amused at that point though, so I think it's still a fail on the part of the filmmakers.

I have a nitpick, and this happened in the first Alien vs Predator as well, and I let it slide then, but now it's really bugging me.  In both films, a xenomorph walks up to a woman and snarls at her, having her recoil in horror, breathing heavy and afraid.  After we have this moment, it kills her.  This is an obvious callback to Alien 3, but the thing is, it doesn't make sense!  The xenomorph did that to Ripley because it sensed she was carrying the queen, and leaned in closer to make sure!  Xenomorphs don't tease their victims, they rip them to shreds!

At the very end of the movie, the people who have been told repeatedly by the government that rescue was coming are in fact blown up by them instead.  The two brothers and mother and daughter are on a helicopter at the time, trying to escape, and the explosion blows the helicopter off screen.  I really, really wish the movie would have ended there, so I could pretend they didn't make it and everyone in this miserable, pathetic excuse for a film was dead.

Congrats, AVP2.  You turned this usual "give it the benefit of the doubt" reviewer into a bitter, snarky critic.  There's an "uncut" version of the film that contains about nine more minutes but from what I have heard adds very little to the film.  AvP Galaxy breaks it down for those of you who are curious.

And that's it for the films.  There have been plenty of comics, novels, video games and even an action figure line that joined these two franchises together, but I'm not familiar with any of them.  To try to end this on a more positive note, I recommend you checking out Batman: Dead End.  That's an Alien vs Predator match up that's definitely worth watching.

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