January 3, 2008

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Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (R)
The aliens of Alien films and a predator of the Predator species face off on Earth once again in a battle that is all-around bad for the humans in Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, a film that should be much awesomer.

Starting immediately where the last movie, Alien Vs. Predator, ended, Requiem starts in the Predator ship departing Earth after the Arctic hunt for aliens. But one alien has stowed away in the body of a dead Predator and while the ship is still within sight of the Earth, a hybrid of the Predator and alien comes popping out of the dead Predator’s chest and quickly causes the ship to crash back on our planet. A Predator is able to send out a message but is soon killed by the Predalien, which then wiggles off into the night with a couple of those face-suckers who get free from an on-ship lab. The ship crashes in a forest somewhere in Colorado and is found first by a hunter and his son (who soon also find the face-suckers). While the hunter’s wife calls the sheriff and gets together a search party to find her missing family, a Predator from the Predator home world finds out about the hunting accident in his own family (or whatever) and points his ship Earthward. Soon he is in the forest searching for the alien, which quickly finds more and more people to incubate its fast-growing embryos.

Some of those people are played by Steven Pasquale (best known for his role as Sean on Rescue Me) and Reiko Aylesworth (the late Michelle Dressler of 24 and according to IMDB now a regular character of some kind on ER). Some are played by people of considerably less fame. All the people eventually run and scream and watch loved ones get eaten by aliens or killed by the Predator or sometimes are themselves eaten. At some point enough people catch on that it isn’t just a deranged forest-dweller behind these eviscerations (with the viscera seeming to come springing out of the body) and decide to arm themselves and band together to get the heck out of this crazy, alien-filled town.

The first Alien Vs. Predator featured a similar amount of irrelevant back story, screaming tertiary characters and skin-searing acid, but it pushed further with its cheesiness. It gave us a human (and a woman, no less) who takes sides in the Alien-versus-Predator battle and even makes friends with one of the grunting, invisibility-having predators (who dies, by the way, in the opening moments of this film — sadly, of the woman, the excellent Sanaa Lathan, we see nothing). In Requiem the human characters get far less development than the one Predator. Who cares if some pizza delivery boy, a jock bully, the girl the pizza delivery boy likes and the pizza delivery boy’s brother live or die? They barely even know what they’re fighting until the movie’s final third.

I didn’t expect Requiem to be a good movie but I was rather hoping it would be awesomely bad. Instead, it left me with a ho-hum feeling and gave me only a dark, blurry disappointing mess of silly-looking aliens dispatching one-dimensional humans. D

Rated R for violence, gore and language. Directed by Colin Strause and Greg Strause and written by Shane Salerno from characters by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett (Alien) and Jim Thomas and John Thomas (Predator), Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem is an hour and 26 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by 20th Century Fox.