Saturday, January 05, 2008

AVPR: "I ain't got time for plot."

Alien Vs Predator Requiem

Let's start with the title, shall we? Tacking the word "requiem" to this sci-fi schlocker is even more annoying than refusing to put numbers on the DIE HARD films. Perhaps meant to recall ALIEN IV (AKA ALIEN: RESURRECTION), when I read "requiem" I'm constantly reminded of Mandy Patankin from THE PRINCESS BRIDE admonishing, "I don't think that word means what you think it means." Or, perhaps, it was used to let audiences know that this is the death knell for two franchises which might have spawned a third.

Picking up where ALIEN VS PREDATOR left off (with the final "shocker" shot of an Alien/Predator hybrid bursting out of a dead Predator's chest), the effects-team-turned-"director" Strause Brothers's flick strongly recalls the opening of ALIEN3* (not a good sign). The Predator ship crashes in Colorado where a small cache of face-huggers survive. Back on the Predator home world, a distress signal is picked up by one lone Predator. He brazenly goes off on his own to exterminate the beasts.

In the meantime, the audience is introduced to what feels like about a hundred stock characters--the sheriff, the ex-con (Ripley), the upstart brother, the misunderstood pretty girl, the war veteran (Hicks), the innocent little girl (Newt), the dumb jocks, the homeless people, and more. This goes to the heart of AVPR's problem: too many humans, not enough Predators. None of the human characters is in the least bit interesting. I'd say that they're "face-hugger fodder" but that'd be a misnomer. The Aliens in the film don't seem too interested in populating Earth with their progeny. Only the "PredAlien" seems capable of laying eggs and does so in a way completely different than we're used to seeing Aliens reproduce.

I've always been troubled by the notion that an Alien that gestates in a creature other than human somehow adopts the host's physical characteristics. This feature of Alien reproduction would doom the race, mucking up their DNA irrevocably. How a host's DNA interferes with a "chestburster" is beyond me. Aliens simply use creatures to host, not to mate. Regardless, this seems to be a moot point as the PredAlien's progeny are lacking the creature's outward Predator characteristics (the four-pronged jaws) and seem to be "normal" Aliens.

Giving the physiology of the Aliens any thought at all is more hack screenwriter Shane Salerno did at all. The Aliens of AVPR are few in number and weak of blood. Other than the head dumb jock getting a face full of acidic blood, there seems to be little concern about getting their green goo on anything and everything else. The film's eventual human "hero," Dallas (Steven Pasquale) practically bathes in the stuff with no ill effects.

There are about fifteen good minutes of action in AVPR which might be salvaged by fan editors at some point and tacked on to the end of Paul W.S. Anderson's superior ALIEN VERSUS PREDATOR. Even at 86-minutes, AVPR is an excruciating watch which often had me recalling the plot, dialog, music, and direction of the previous Alien and Predator films and wondering how the mighty could have fallen so far. AVPR, you are one ugly motherfucker of a movie.

* For more of my ranting about Alien3, visit The Metamorphosis of Alien III from Cashiers du Cinemart #12.


Anonymous said...

I haven't watch this film yet but I think it's a good movie.

Unknown said...

Um.... I wouldn't judge it until you watch it.

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