Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Strause Brothers

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Strause Brothers
There’s an old saying: "it’s hard to improve upon perfection.” However, it’s easy to make crap worse. Despite having two of the most iconic creatures in sci-fi/horror history, the AVP franchise (now two movies in, with a third scheduled) has captured neither the primal-level terror of the Alien nor the unstoppable hunter mystique of the Predator (although, to be fair. AVP:R does redeem the Predator, somewhat). And, frankly, it’s a concept that works so easily it’s amazing they keep mucking it up. Numerous videogames, comics, books, etc. have managed to stay true to the creatures while offering entertaining experiences, so what’s the problem, Fox? Poorly thought-out scripts that fly in the face of logic, a misunderstanding of the creatures and how to properly use them, nonsensical additions, the AVP series has them all and they’re taken to new levels by AVP:R. It’s not like it should have been overly difficult to better Paul W.S. Anderson’s first hack job but the Brothers Strause (visual effects artists turned "auteurs”) take a mind-bogglingly terrible and ill-conceived script and run with it for their directorial debut (never a good sign). After the events of the first AVP, which at least had the illusion of not being set present day but still had the audacity to take place on Earth before, chronologically, any of the Alien films, the Strause Brothers drop the whole bloody mess in present day Colorado. An Alien-Predator hybrid emerges from the corpse of the "hero” Predator from the first film and runs amuck, causing a Predator ship to crash in Colorado, releasing facehuggers (and we all know what that leads to) and the aforementioned hybrid. A distress signal is sent and a Predator "cleaner” also descends on the picturesque small town, complete with good-looking teens who can’t admit their feelings for each other, a troubled older brother fresh out of jail, a sheriff just trying to do his best, etc. Together the human characters have about as much depth as, well, let’s not disparage cardboard cut-outs. Yeah, it’s basically Dawson’s Creek meets AVP, as the town is overrun, the characters we don’t care about realise how screwed they are, the military rolls in and the Predalien and Predator kill their way to their "climatic” final battle before the government nukes everything in sight. It wouldn’t be so bad if the writers or directors had any idea about how to use these creatures and actually stayed true to their mythology (or at least explained why the Predalien injects alien embryos orally into pregnant women) but they don’t. In the commentary, the directors come across as super-fans of the respective series but while they have the enthusiasm they are unquestionably lacking the cerebral side. Sure, stuff looks cool, such as a brief foray to the Predator home world, but it doesn’t make a lick of sense. And it’s disheartening to see two legendary creatures reduced to this. Numerous featurettes demonstrate how committed everyone was to the process but it’s frustrating to witness such blind devotion to such a lost cause when all the tools are there to make a far superior movie. Fans of either series can only pray that Alien 5 or Predator 3 gets green-lit post-haste. But considering the AVP franchise easily betters the 100 million mark with each bomb, it seems doubtful either creature will rise from this ruin anytime soon. (Fox)