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AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem Reviews

Reviewed By: Jeremy Wheeler

Two of the biggest movie stars of monsterdom are back once again in this throw-back thriller that, despite its best intentions, fizzles in comparison to the legacy it so desperately tries to connect to. To be fair, this rock 'em sock 'em match-up is yards better than its sorry predecessor, yet there are still many things that are missing in the Strause Brothers' tale of small town-meets intergalactic-men in suits, the first of which is a script. Shane Salerno must be a lucky guy -- who else could ride a screenplay this lacking all the way through production and to the third-highest-grossing Christmas release of its time? Apparently Mr. "I Wrote Armageddon" knows exactly what the public wants out of these bad street brawlers -- and that's teen love. Not only that, but Salerno also has the gall to throw in a dime-store Ripley-and-Newt relationship that couldn't be more transparent if he tried (which he didn't). Essentially, it's the same problem that lies underneath the whole production -- it's all some sort of rehash. The same goes for many other pieces of the production's pie; the music, sets, and themes are all steeped in reverence, but there's little attempt to create a cohesive, organic product. Amazingly, none of this is what truly ankles the production -- that esteemed privilege is held by none other than the dynamic duo at the helm of this sinking ship: the Brothers Strause. As these former FX gurus-turned-directors have proven, idolatry is a double-edged sword. Worship the right things and you have good taste, but failing to realize why those things worked in the first place makes for a hollow end product. The result is a terror flick with no terror. What's even worse is that they fail to deliver on the whole reason to see the film in the first place -- to actually see the monsters! It might be a given that these newbies aren't the hottest with creating suspense, but at the very least they should have the know-how to light the creatures in a way gives viewers their money's worth. Basically the only way to see the fantastic effects done by Amalgamated Dynamics is by checking out the film's publicity stills, because you'll see a whole lot more of their hard work there than in anything that ever ended up on the big screen. Shot in close-up, mostly in extreme darkness, the two big baddies don't have a chance to shine as they have before, with the newest addition to the series, the Predalien hybrid getting the biggest shaft of them all. One would think that Colin and Greg Strause would want to showcase their old trade's fine craftsmanship, but again and again, they snip the cords of the ballsy action and leave the viewer highly irritated and yearning for more. Sure, there's gore and yes, it's much-welcomed after the silly PG-13 of its precursor, but more blood does not make these franchises. Despite the evidence that much of the production's heart was in the right place, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem delivers exactly what its title promises -- a memorial service to each franchise, except here the mourners actually pay to attend the ceremony.