REVIEW: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem [2007]

Score: 3/10 | ★

Rating: R | Runtime: 94 minutes | Release Date: December 25th, 2007 (USA)
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Colin Strause & Greg Strause
Writer(s): Shane Salerno / Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett (Alien characters) /
Jim Thomas & John Thomas (Predator characters)

“I want Daddy to read it”

When Alien vs. Predator hit theatres a few years back I had seen only Alien and Aliens from either franchise. I figured I didn’t really need to know every single detail of both series before viewing the combo and I was absolutely right. That film took it upon itself to build up a mythology that connected two alien races in a way that showed they’d been on Earth much longer than humans. The story was pretty intriguing and the fights never overshadowed what happened onscreen as far as their individual progressions and their relationship with humans.

Now comes a sequel that throws all that out the window. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem has absolutely no substance whatsoever. We are introduced to a captured Predator, infected by an Alien that’s currently finished with incubation period. A hybrid is born from its carcass as a result before the ship housing it crashes, leading to a Predator on his home planet to come down and clean up the mess while also erasing any trace of either alien’s existence. Fighting ensues, people die, and the plot never evolves or brings anything unique to the table.

I must shake my head at John Ortiz’s decision to take part in this film. The guy has impressed me the past two years and truthfully does better in this role than the movie should ever have dreamed. Unfortunately it’s as one of the thanklessly expendable humans serving as pawns to be killed for shock value. No character rises above the plot and the fact that some live is merely by luck. Normally this would be a cool device—surprises at every turn—but here there aren’t any stakes for the deaths to conjure more than a shrug of my shoulders or giggle at their absurdity.

When the movie finally ends you feel cheated because everything is as it was at the beginning. Aliens and Predators fight and will to the end of time, hybrids appear stronger but are really just a Predator with an Alien tongue, and extraterrestrial weaponry is something we “are not ready for.” Yes the setup for a third installment at the conclusion is the most laughable part of the entire enterprise. It’s an alien gun that forces the government to wonder about intelligent technology and the fact we aren’t alone, not the physical evidence of aliens that the government officials see with their own eyes before ordering an air strike.

I don’t know whether this is supposed to be veiled commentary on the current war in the Middle East, (the perfect opportunity with the line “the government wouldn’t just leave us to die” falls without response or diatribe), but I can’t see what the writers thought they were doing if it isn’t because their work adds nothing to either character’s mythology. The interesting ancient relationships between the two and humanity is thrown out the window and replaced with action, guns, and acid. The lone Predator—they seem to be smart while the Aliens simply exist to procreate—just runs amok erasing all evidence of the invasion and using humans as bait to draw out the Aliens despite never killing them unless absolutely necessary. This non-violent trend towards man is not fleshed out, however, as it was in the first.

So, if you like blood and violence mixed with some action at the expense of story—I did nod off a couple times from the boredom of there being no progression—you will love this film. While the acting is not unequivocally bad with Ortiz being good and Johnny Lewis okay, the characters have nothing to do for the short time they’re on screen. Used mainly as vehicles to show the brutality our invaders can inflict, survival for no reason other than survival isn’t fascinating. No one seems to care about anyone but him/herself and you almost wish everyone would just be eliminated. It’s only redeeming part is the eye-candy courtesy of Kristen Hager. AVP-R falls short on every category.

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