As far as movies go, there’s nothing inherently wrong with AVP – Requiem. The actors do a serviceable job. The special effects are special enough. And the writing keeps everything together well. As its own movie, it only suffers from being a little lackluster. As a movie based on — not just one, but — two popular franchises, AVP-R falls short of expectations by playing it too safe and simply aping the key moments that made the franchises what they are.
Aliens vs Predator – Requiem takes place directly after the first AVP with the Predators hauling on-board the impregnated corpse of their brethren. This host gives birth to a Predator-Alien that can apparently impregnate hosts without the Face-Hugger middleman to slow down the process. The PredAlien wreaks havoc on the Predator spacecraft, sending it crashing down outside a small town in Colorado, unleashing not just the PredAlien, but the imprisoned Face-Hugger cadre on board. Meanwhile, back on Planet Predator (my name, not theirs), a Predator Boss wonders why one of his ships hasn’t returned. Through video logs, he discovers the fate of the errant craft and blasts off to Earth to wrangle the freed Aliens.
And, of course, we have the humans caught in the crossfire and each of the principles fill out their archetypal roles. There’s the ex-con-turned-hero Dallas (Steven Pasquale) and his oft-in-trouble teenage brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis). On the other side of the law is Sheriff Eddie (John Ortiz). Lastly, Kelly O’Brien (Reiko Aylesworth) channels the spirit of Ripley as the soldier returning from war and emotionally estranged from her daughter.
Had AVP-R been a longer movie, all of these interesting characters could have been paid off, but coming in at just a little over an hour and a half, the development of these characters feels a little too compact and neat; it’s similar to how hour-long TV episodes leave you feeling. It’s not bad. It just feels like you’re watching a widescreen television show with an above average budget. On the other hand, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise as most of the cast comes from a very heavy television background.
On top of that, there’s a constant feeling of deja vu as the film recycles choice moments from Aliens and Predator. When the National Guard rolls in to assist with the situation they get ambushed in the same way as the space marines in Aliens, but in less dramatic fashion. Later, the Predator removes his armor and mask for a brawl au naturale just like in Predator before the showdown with Schwarzenegger. These moments are nice to see and help remind the audience of how great the source material is, but it also makes the original parts of the film pale even more.
On a side note: Am I crazy or was the Predator in this film a little on the crappy side? He’s supposed to be the hunter of hunters, but he’s easily cut down to size by a few Aliens as he fumbles around during a fight on a power station. Furthermore, besides being on an obvious containment mission, he still has time to skin humans for sport. In the future, I hope they’ll send a more professional Predator.
What the film does get right is the technical balance of the many character plots in a relatively short amount of time. Understanding their motivations and personalities is easy and viewers are unlikely to get lost, however, it seems like wasted effort once hell breaks loose as the overriding survival-horror plot overshadows everything.
If you’re a die hard fan of all things Predator or Alien, then you’ll probably have a good time watching Aliens vs Predator – Requiem. If you’re looking for an original story, inspiring acting or memorable set pieces, you can give this movie a pass and catch it on TV.