Friday, June 20, 2008

Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem

When Alien Vs. Predator came out in 2006, after years of anticipation, it was a big let-down to the sci-fi/horror fans who had been begging to see it, and there were calls for a second chance. Be careful what you wish for. In comparison to the follow-up Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, the first movie looks like Citizen Kane.

AvP: R kicks off immediately after the end of the first movie. The ship carrying the dead and infected Predator away from Earth doesn’t get very far when an alien erupts from the corpse. The ensuing on-board battle damages the ship, and it crashes near Gunnison, Colorado, which, according to this movie, is full of stupid and dull people. The Predator, which is supposed to be a Predalien, a hybrid between Predator and Alien, although I couldn’t tell (more on that later), escapes with a large number of face-huggers. They attack the simple-minded locals, a few of whom we follow around as our point of view characters (they are entirely stiff and lifeless, so you never care about them one way or another).

Back on the Predator homeworld, they receive word of the crash, and for some reason decide to send a Predator ninja to clean up the Aliens. He lands, fights with the Aliens, and eventually stuff blows up and the movie ends.

This sort of movie isn’t a deep concept. People watching an Alien Vs. Predator movie just want to see the two bad guys fight, and a marginally competent script it hang it on. You don’t get that here, in large part because you can’t see a damn thing. The movie, directed by the Strauss Brothers (Visual effects guys who directed a Nickelback video, which explains a lot), is a series of fast cuts in almost total darkness, so dark you can’t tell what’s going on. There were times when I couldn’t tell if the Predator was fighting an Alien, many Aliens, or some of the humans who got in the way, much less who was winning. There’s no way to enjoy a movie fight if you can’t see it, and this movie is so poorly lit it is almost a radio play. Even scenes in daylight are so dim you can’t see them. This is the second movie I’ve seen recently (see Unearthed) that was too dark, and this is a trend that must stop.

The tagline for the first AvP was “No matter who wins, we lose.” This one should be: “You won’t be able to tell who wins, but you’ll still lose.”

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