Film discussion

Throwback 10: Aliens vs Predator: Requiem

The first Aliens vs Predator split a lot of audiences, with some loving the more watered down adventure style story and lack of horror, whilst others felt that the end result failed to represent either franchise well. Luckily, the sequel, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, managed to bring audiences together… by being an awful, awful film.

Directed by Colin and Greg Strause, or ‘The Brothers Strause’, it’s quite obvious that this is their first time overseeing a large screen feature film, with very little flare to the proceedings. The film is dull, spending most of its time in dark locations that fail to grab attention or pop on the screen. Even the daylight scenes fail to have any kind of significant look or style to set it apart. The only moment that does look new and interesting is the brief appearance of the Predator home world, though this barely lasts five minutes.

The story, a direct continuation of the first film, picks up very shortly after the closing moments of AVP, with the Predalien hybrid loose on a Predator ship, which subsequently crashes outside a small town in America. Due to all of the Predators on the ship being killed, and the Predalien being a Queen (something that is never stated in the film and only explained in the behind the scenes materials on the DVD and Blu Ray), a specialist Alien hunter is sent to Earth to destroy it.

As far as a set up goes, it’s not the worst in the world. Watching Aliens overrun a town full of people should be entertaining, but it fails to live up to expectations. Seeing the remains of the colony on LV-426 in Aliens following the alien attack was frightening and full of mystery; seeing a similar scenario play out on modern day earth fails to capture any of these feelings, despite trying to recapture the horror of the original.

The characters that inhabit the town lack any interesting qualities. There’s an ex-con called Dallas (Steven Pasquale) and his brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis), whose story is filled with teen dating drama and lost car keys; then there’s Army mother Kelly (Reiko Aylesworth) who has just returned home from tour and is struggling to reconnect with her daughter Molly (Ariel Grade). The film wants the audience to connect with these characters and care about them, but it never gives Kelly and her daughter time to develop on screen in any meaningful way, and Ricky and Dallas are boring and dull in their scenes.

Unfortunately the film isn’t able to make up for this lack of characterisation with good action, as the vast majority of the picture is too dark and dull to be able to really know what happens. However, there is one scene that sees the Predator, Wolf, hunting Xenomorphs in the sewers that stands out as one of the sci-fi actioner’s best scenes, although it’s not hard to stand out against the rest of the feature.

The poor characters and lacklustre action is let down even more by a plot that makes little sense. For example, why would the Predators send their best hunter to erase all evidence of the Xenomorphs, yet allow him to hunt humans? The fact that the Predalien is also a Queen, but this is never explained, leads to what seems to be inconsistencies in the plot too, especially in how it builds its forces. Instead of laying eggs and creating new facehuggers, the juvenile Queen implants embryos directly into its victims, leading to a particularly gruesome scene involving a maternity ward.

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem fails to capture any of what made the first film bearable, or the original franchises good. Yes, it’s darker and gorier than AVP, but that on its own doesn’t make for a good film. Thankfully, being so poor put an end to the AVP franchise, allowing filmmakers to concentrate on their own independent series’ instead.

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