ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM
Director: The Strause Brothers
Cast: Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager
MPAA Rating: (for violence, gore and language)
Running Time: 1:26
Release Date: 12/25/07
Review by Mark Dujsik
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is not so much a movie as much as it is a series of blurs and shapes moving quickly across a screen. People might enjoy it more if it were run out of focus, because then they might be able to blame shoddy theater management for hiring an inept projectionist instead of realizing they just threw down too much money (anything over a dollar is too much in this case, by the way) to watch a movie by people who don't know how to make a movie.
There's not a specific element of this movie I especially hate; it's kind of a collective thing. The characters are less than cardboard cutouts, existing solely to be killed after spouting a line or two of clichés. The creatures, once genuinely scary (the aliens) or sort of cool (the predators), are reduced to screeching blurs or barely lit silhouettes that are not scary, cool, or, in a lot of cases, even visible. Speaking of bad lighting, the whole movie seems to have been lit by lighting bug behind a foggy window, and don't get me started on the editing, which makes it impossible not only to follow the action but also to realize that there is anything resembling action happening on screen.
There's a ship resembling a frog orbiting Earth. It's full of predators, those dreadlocked hunters of men and other things, and one of them has an alien, those phallic monsters designed by H.R. Giger that bite, rip, and bleed acid, pop out of its chest. Remember this if you can, because there will eventually be a predator/alien hybrid (a "predien?") running around. The predators on board aren't exactly wise with their heavy-impact weapons while flying in a delicate vessel that separates them from the vacuum of space, and the ship crashes into the woods, where a hunter and his son find the downed craft.
You might think the kid will need therapy after watching his dad's arm burned off by acid and his dad's face assaulted by a face-hugging alien, but that's only you realize the kid's boned too. That's when we get introduced to the seemingly unending bevy of expendable characters. There's Dallas (Steven Pasquale), who hangs out with the local sheriff (John Ortiz), and his brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis), who has a crush on or once dated Jesse (Kristen Hager). She has friends, too, but they're obviously dead from the start.
So a big head-honcho predator sees the security footage from the crashed ship and goes to Earth to find the aliens that have managed to escape. He wanders around the dense forest for a while, and directors the Strause Brothers (Colin and Greg) fill the frame with lots of trees. Lots and lots of trees. So many trees, we can't see anything going on. They do a long, tedious pan up a tall tree twice, and we see the predator playing around with his gadgets in close-up.
There are lots of scenes of the predator playing with his junk, which is a lot more boring (and less disturbing) than it sounds. It's all in close-up, we have no clue what's happening, and it's actually relatively nice compared to those people with whom we have to spend most of the time. In addition to those first idiots, there's Kelly (Reiko Aylesworth), who's on leave to spend time with her husband and daughter. Kelly is meant to be the Ripley of this installment, but the big question is whether or not the Army will cover the costs of her daughter's lifelong need for therapy. There are some other people, but they'll be dead in their first or second scene. It's best not to get attached to them.
See, the movie has an open hatred for people, especially the audience. The dialogue is a cliché-o-rama, clearly written by some kind of script-generating software or a roomful of action-movie-obsessed monkeys (but credited to Shane Salerno), and in one particularly hilarious scene, the dialogue consists of five of these generic chestnuts in a row ("People are dying," The National Guard will be here soon," "Not soon enough," "I can't believe I'm doing this," and "This plan is stupid; let's leave town."). You might think I'm exaggerating, and I wish I were.
Also confusing is the line, "Let's hope we're both wrong," which, given the context that the speaker and the receiver are looking for helicopters with which to rescue the people with them, means that the person hopes there are no helicopters and all of them die. Honestly, I'd be fine with that scenario. Once we leave the forest, we get to watch the people, the aliens, the predators, and the alien/predator hybrid (the "alienator?") stalk around a sewer, a power plant, a dingy locker room, a hospital in which all the power has gone out, and—just so your grimy, indecipherable visual experience is complete—a rooftop at night in the rain.The fights are nonsensically filmed, and there's a single scene in a maternity ward that turns the movie from being mean to being just downright awful for misanthropy's sake. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem also has a climax in which characters outrun a nuclear blast in a helicopter, and it doesn't even have the decency to end there. I, on the other hand, will.
Copyright © 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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