This Weekend’s Movies: “Alien vs. Predator 2: Requiem”

January 26, 2008

aliens_vs_predator_requiem_ver4Alien vs. Predator 2 marks the first truly sociopathic movie I’ve ever seen. Sure, there are your Saws, which take an aggressively hypocritical stance toward violence and morality; your Hostels which traffic sadism as social commentary; and your Wrong Turns, which seem to exist solely to keep the makers of fake blood in business. The difference between those films and AVP2 is that they have—or pretend to have—some kind of moral compass. Granted, that moral compass’s true north leads through a pile of bodies so volumous that the Khmer Rouge would be envious, but it’s there. The filmmakers generally go through the motions of creating good guys, sympathetic characters and the like.

AVP2, on the other hand doesn’t really expend much effort on these frivolities. Sure, it sets up some characters and backstories, and conflicts, but mostly it’s just biding its time until the arterial spray. It’s as if the filmmakers (Colin and Greg Strause, who are credited as “The Brothers Strause” if you can believe that) are telling the audience, “Okay, now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let’s make with the chomp-chomp slash-slash.” The Brothers Nimrod also want to make damn sure that no slasher taboo goes unbroken. A father/son hunting trip turns into a face-hugger/chest-burster duet. The women of a local maternity ward become bloody nests of writhing alien larvae. The dweeby, put-upon kid fights off the bullies and wins the girl only to have her Predator-zapped in front of his horrified eyes just moments before he’s tail-impaled by an Alien.

But the mother of all bloodless moments must come at the film’s close when the military lures the besieged townspeople to a central location, then nuke them as a means of containing the alien epidemic. It’s not the nuking that’s so objectionable, it’s the response from the film’s token survivors when they meet up with the military dudes at the film’s end. “You nuked the entire town!” accuses ostensible heroine Reiko Aylesworth. “Sorry. Just following orders.” the military dude replies. And that’s good enough for the survivors, who go with the military and into the dawn of a new day. See, the government’s deception and, er, vaporization of its people isn’t evil, but just good sense.

But the movie itself: Okay, well taking up where the last film left off, a dead Predator has been impregnated with an alien embryo, which promptly hatches and grows into a PredAlien onboard the ship. It kills the other Predators and causes the ship to crash in the woods near a small Colorado town. The PredAlien and a couple face-huggers escape the wreckage and start doing what they do. Meanwhile, on some Predator outpost, a hunter picks up the crashing ship’s distress signal and sets off to Earth. Seems he’s got a can o’ whoop-ass and now he knows where to open it. Wackiness ensues.

In the meantime, Reiko arrives home from a tour in Iraq, where they apparently let her keep her gear (is this is the same military from the movie Closure?). Her husband is thrilled to see her, but her daughter is cool and treats her like a stranger. Don’t worry about any of this, it means nothing to the rest of the story.

Local bad-boy Dallas (Steven Pasquale) returns home to find his former partner-in-juvenile delinquency (John Ortiz) has become Sheriff. Dallas tries to reconnect with his little brother who’s struggling with local bullies. Pretty much all these people get decimated by either the Predator or the PredAlien, so don’t get too engrossed in their stories.

There’s a bunch of other people, too, but they all get taken off the board at varying points in the film. As you may have figured out by now, the Brothers Bodycount regard their characters as plastic soldiers to set up, then knock down. Yet, for a film with so many killings, it’s surprisingly unsatisfying. It’s budget cut to the bone, most of the action takes place in darkness or with quick-cut/jerking camera styles that disguise the cheapness and lack of decent effects. The PredAlien is nicely rendered, but mostly filmed in pieces or shadows. I’m sure it makes a better action figure than movie character.


At the end of the day, the best way to enjoy AVP2 is set your expectations appropriately low, and to unplug any sense of regard you may have for your fellow human beings. Oh, and try not to think about the original Alien, either. It’ll just depress you.

One comment

  1. Thinking about the original Alien usually cheers me up, though.

    Is that weird?

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