AVP - Alien vs. Predator (2004) vs AVPR - Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
AVP RT Critics Rating: 2.2/10
AVPR RT Critics Rating: 1.2/10

AVP Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 4/10
AVPR Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 1/10

AVP - ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (2004) - Paul W.S. Anderson
AVPR - ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (2007) - Colin Strause, Greg Strause

In the deep space of 1979, no one can hear you scream. In the deep jungle of 1987, no one can save you from the invisible killer. The two greatest creatures in the world of science fiction: The Alien and the Predator. Now pit them against each other and see what happens….

Believe it or not, this crossover originated in comic books published by Dark Horse all the way back to the year 1989, only two years after the release of the first Predator film. Fifteen years after the original idea, director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) applied a movie screenplay, influenced by the comic book series as well as Aztec mythology. The story surprisingly came out making logical sense.

Set in the present time, the film follows a team of archaeologists assembled by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) for an expedition near the Antarctic to investigate a mysterious heat signal. Weyland hopes to claim the find for himself, and his group discovers a pyramid below the surface of a whaling station. Hieroglyphs and sculptures reveal that the pyramid is a hunting ground for Predators who kill Aliens as a rite of passage. The humans are caught in the middle of a battle between the two species and attempt to prevent the Aliens from reaching the surface. So just like the promotional tagline: "Whoever wins…. we lose."

As mentioned before, the story actually makes some logical sense. For a movie that needs to have continuity and plausibility, it made a pretty satisfying achievement in combining the xenomorph with the invisible hunter. Just like Scott's direction and McTiernan's direction at building suspense by not fully showing the creature until late in their films, Anderson does the same thing here by barely revealing the monsters until a good forty minutes in. The only problem is that the screenplay is a lot weaker, capable of losing our interest already before any action kicks in. Still, if one is patient enough, once the action kicks in, it keeps on going, vicious and persistent. If looked at in its overall sense, Anderson has come up with the perfect premise for this memorable clash of the sci-fi titans. However, this also marks Anderson's weakness as a director.

Unlike the original Alien and original Predator, which both relied on a heavily convincing cast, Alien vs. Predator is fully composed of cardboard characters, the only interesting figure being Weyland simply because it is nice to see the familiar face of Henriksen in the Alien universe. Other than that, barely any emotions can be felt when an unlucky fellow falls to the hands of a creature. It seems that Anderson was so into the idea of the two species fighting that he no longer bothered to develop the characters to make them memorable and engaging to follow. The only possible parts of Alien vs. Predator that can keep you intrigued are the actual fight scenes. But then again, even those have problems.

A good user of visual effects knows how to combine computer generated imagery with animatronics and set pieces. One of these masters is Spielberg managing Jurassic Park. In fact, both Alien and Predator use a fair fraction of both elements to create sensational action scenes. Though Anderson tries to tackle visual effects the same way, there is a difference between building animatronics with realism and building "shiny and metallic kitchen appliances fighting it out" (New York Daily News). According to the crew of the film, 70% of the film uses suits, puppets, and miniatures. With a hydraulic Alien built to represent the hostile species, we are given a creature who's movements are stiff and robotic, with a tail that moves at an un-realistic and un-fluent motion. At the end of the day, you much rather have the entire Alien be composed out of computer generated imagery.

In conclusion, Alien vs. Predator sits as a disappointing but not dreadful attempt at making a plausible combination. For the Alien fans, there is enough stickiness and gore to satisfy their thirst. For the Predator fans, there is a tolerable amount of fancy weaponry and pure slice and dice. As a movie alone with cinematic appeal, do not even go near there, because this is not even close. If a mindless and silly kill fest is what you are looking for, then Alien vs. Predator might be able to please. The nightmarish factor of this film is that it leaves us with a cliffhanger of an ending, opening the possibility for a sequel, which unfortunately came out three years later.

Aliens vs. Predator Requiem begins right after its predecessor, revealing a chestburster erupting from a dead Predator's body in the Predator spaceship; this is a new creature called the Predalien, a hybrid of Alien and Predator characteristics. It quickly matures into an adult and begins killing Predators. A Predator's weapon punctures the hull and the ship crashes in the forest of Colorado. With the Predators dead, the hybrid and several facehuggers escape, implanting embryos into several inhabitants of a local town. A distress signal from the wrecked ship reaches the Predator home world and a lone Predator responds, traveling to Earth to clean up the mess.

Now that you know what Requiem is about, you may be asking "So there is only one Predator in this movie?" To my greatest dismay, the answer is yes. Then again, it is not a total loss, since this one single Predator is probably the fiercest and most agile of them all. As for the Aliens, there is nothing new to offer.

The fight scenes this time are shorter but more vicious. It is definitely bloodier and gorier than its predecessor, being that it is rated R when the previous is actually PG-13. The visual effects look far improved, probably because of the murky lighting. Speaking of murky lighting, this is where Requiem quickly becomes an aggravatingly torturous piece of trash.

Words cannot describe how god-awful the lighting is in this movie. Dismal, dreary, bleak, dull, horrid, and appalling. Unlike its predecessor which has 70% of its scenes having animatronics, Requiem has 70% of its scenes being so dark that one can see his/her own reflection on the television screen. Even more disheartening, the climatic battle is a combination of dark lighting and heavy rain, making it the greatest challenge to see what is going on. The entire film is shrouded in a black cloud, making Requiem a film with not much to see, both literally and figuratively.

Remember what I said about cardboard characters in the first Alien vs. Predator film? Well, the characters here make those archeologists look like the original Nostromo crew and Schwarzenegger commando team. Every figure has a familiar personality, with a lack of creativity. Again, we end up not caring if any of them survive. In fact, just kill them all, to put us, the audience, out of our misery.

In conclusion, Requiem is the biggest excuse for a movie, let alone a sequel to Alien vs. Predator. With inexcusable lighting, fast editing, shaky camerawork, shallow characters, and excessive violence, Requiem is an agonizing pain. The worst thing about it is you cannot comprehend what the pain is. It is arduous to follow, and plagues our heads with atrocious content.

In overall, without even thinking, the first Alien vs. Predator is superior. Compared to RequiemAlien vs. Predator is a masterpiece that gives Ridley Scott and John McTiernan a run for their money. At least its storyline makes rational sense and sounds consistently organized. But based on the standards of a plain movie, that's not saying much. Saying that Alien vs. Predator is better than its sequel is like saying getting killed by a Predator is not as bad as getting killed by an Alien. In the end, we all suffer, and no one can hear us scream.

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