By Vic Holtreman
Short version: I didn't think it was possible, but AVP-R is worse than the previous Aliens vs Predator movie.
It's that bad. I kid you not. As first time directors, "The Brothers Strauss" (as they are referred to in the credits) are great visual effects guys. Honestly, I'm having a hard time coming up with ways to tell you just how depressingly awful this movie is, but I'll do my best.
Within minutes of the start of the film I was bored and my mind started to wander. It opens aboard a Predator ship, where a dead comrade is presumably being transported to the home world directly after the events of the last film. An Alien bursts forth from the dead Predator, shortly taking out the entire crew and crashing the ship on Earth.
Immediately I wondered just how this could happen so easily. In the last film the premise was that Predators had been using Antarctica as the location for a rite of passage or training ground for Predators. For many years (was it centuries?) the Predator race had been doing this very thing.
So how is it that they could be so oblivious to the possibility that a dead comrade might be home to a gestating Alien? How is it that one Alien was able to take down the crew of a Predator ship (these guys ARE hunters, right?) so easily?
Once the ship crashes one of the mortally injured Predators manages to send a distress call which is pi,cked up by an elder on their home world. It was marginally cool to get a glimpse of their world, but that's about it. He heads out for destination Earth.
Once the story cuts to the residents of the small town it gets even worse. We meet a variety of characters whose lives will clumsily come together as the movie progresses. We have an inexperienced (and inept) sheriff, the rebel/criminal brother of a local teen who comes back to town, that teen lusting after the local hottie who is dating a jerk/bully.
We also have Reiko Aylesworth as Kelly: a mom returning home after some unspecified amount of time to an estranged little girl and stay at home dad. The whole role reversal thing here creeped me out a bit for some reason.
She is probably the only person in the entire film who demonstrated any acting ability above what you might see in a high school play. We don't really care about what happens to any of the characters despite the weak attempts at trying to connect the audience with them.
Oh, who cares about the acting, right? You want to see this for the action. Well I'm sorry to report that 90% of the time the scenes were shot in such a way that between the low lighting, rain, extreme close ups and quick cuts you can't even tell what the hell is going on. Nor do you care much, as the whole thing seems assembled with less reason for being than a video game plot.
Then there were the really vile bits, like Aliens invading a hospital and finding easy hosts for their "little ones." Beyond the idea of using the sick and helpless for this were a couple of scenes in the maternity ward where a woman who is going into labor is attacked by an Alien and has eggs deposited inside her in a repulsive manner (no, not THAT, but it was still disgusting).
Seriously, if I wasn't going to review this I was so bored and disinterested I would have walked out 20 minutes in. It seems that my initial reactions to AVP-R turned out to be right after all. Of late I had been getting cautiously optimistic that there might be some chance that this would actually redeem the first, but it's actually worse.
While I gave the first on only 1.5 stars, at least it got to be a bit of fun in the second half, but this one is almost completely without any value. There were a couple of very brief moments that were cool between the Pred-Alien and the Predator, but I'd count those at no more than maybe two or three eye-blink moments, tops.
I know the Strauss brothers are big fans of both franchises and had good intentions, but Aliens vs Predator: Requiem proves that being a big movie fan does not necessarily mean that you can make a good movie.
Folks, seriously, don't bother. This thing is going to tank hard at the box office and if you see it anyway don't come crying to me because YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
I can only hope this will sound the death knell for this sci fi movie franchise merger.