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Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem

Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES (2-DISC VERSION): Commentary with Director Colin and Greg Strause and Producer John Davis; Commentary by special effects designers Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis; Prepare for the War: The Making of AVP 2; Fight to the finish: The making of AVP 2; AVP2: The nightmare returns: Creating the Aliens; Crossbreed: The Predalien; Building the Predator Homeworld; AVP2: Science of the hunter; Stills Galleries.

MOVIE certification is a curious thing. While the sight of Johnny Depp slitting innumerable throats in the forthcoming Sweeney Todd warrants an 18, the ghastly notion of a PredAlien raping a heavily pregnant mother whose water has just broken is only deemed worthy of a 15.

That sequence is immediately followed by the no-less horrific sight of the same mother giving birth to a new batch of PredAliens and comes off the back of dozens and dozens of men, women and children being killed (and sometimes skinned) by rampaging aliens and a vengeful predator. It seems somebody wasn’t concentrating when it came round to passing out certificates.

That said, intelligent thinking seems to be completely missing from the whole of Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem, so maybe the British Board of Film Classification issued the 15 certificate as ‘punishment’ for anyone silly enough to go see it!

Putting it bluntly, the film is a complete abomination that shamefully tramples over the memory of two franchises: one classic, the other very good. Directed by the brothers Strause [Colin and Greg], it’s certainly a more full-on experience than Paul WS Anderson’s lacklustre original but it’s by no means better.

The film picks up in the immediate aftermath of events in Alien Vs Predator, as a PredAlien hybrid is born on board a Predator space ship and immediately causes it to crash on Earth, in the woods near a sleepy American town.

Within hours, the place is overrun by aliens and it’s left to a small band of survivors – including the town sheriff (John Ortiz), an ex-con (Steven Pasquale) and a mother and ex-soldier (Reiko Aylesworth) – to lead the resistance with the assistance of a vengeful predator.

The Strause brothers seem to think that just by offering a higher body count and more footage of the aliens, face huggers and predators that they can get the franchise back on track. Sadly, they were wrong.

Gone is the nerve-shredding tension and inherent claustrophobia of Ridley Scott’s original Alien, or the adrenaline-rush and intelligence of James Cameron’s sequel. There are no worthy human adversaries for either extra terrestrial (as in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s elite group of commandos) and the emotional investment is null and void.

Instead, what passes as meaningful characterisation is a pizza boy’s attempts to get into a blonde girl’s pants, and an ex-con looking to go straight amid all the carnage. Reiko Aylesworth’s soldier mum is clearly there as a nod to Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley but merely runs around shouting the obvious, and John Ortiz’s sheriff lacks any real backbone to convince he might be up to the fight.

Frequent nods to past films in the series merely serve to highlight just how far both have fallen, while attempts to set things up for yet another sequel are sickeningly short-sighted and worrying in the extreme.

What’s left is a torturous experience that leaves the nastiest of tastes in light of its blatant disregard for human life and good taste. To coin an earlier franchise phrase, it’s got to be game over, man!

Certificate: 15
Running time: 94mins
UK DVD Release Date: May 12, 2008