Mini-Review: AVPR: Alien vs. Predator – Requiem (2007)

AVPR: Alien vs. Predator – Requiem (2007)
AKA Aliens vs. Predator 2, AVP2: Requiem

Starring Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager, Sam Trammell, Robert Joy, David Paetkau, Tom Woodruff Jr., Ian Whyte, Chelah Horsdal

Directed by Colin & Greg Strause (AKA The Brothers Strause)

Expectations: Moderate. I should know better, but that first one was fun.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


So y’know those ancient ruins and hieroglyphs and Predator mythology that made AVP so highly entertaining to me? Imagine a movie where they took all that stuff out, and replaced it with a bunch of small-town, human drama. Shit like “the pizza guy that’s too shy to ask the pretty girl out,” or “the distraught mother looking for her lost son and husband.” Oh, and imagine all of those sub-plots not really mattering to anything. And how about if we have the Predator play CSI by lurking around the forest for most of the movie, pouring blue goo on things to destroy evidence of the Alien (and Predalien) presence on Earth? This, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

No bullshit, this is an actual screenshot from a scene in the film.

While I found it interesting to have the Predator play the role of the cleaner (and I got some amusement out of imagining Pulp Fiction‘s Harvey Keitel character, The Wolf, inside the suit), if he’s really trying to cover his tracks then why does he indiscriminately kill any human that comes upon him, stringing them up without their skin for other humans to find. He’s not on a hunt; he’s a cleaner, so why is he leaving messes? The logical side of my brain was blaring alarms constantly throughout AVPR, and while I know that this isn’t the type of movie to stand up to logical criticism, they should at least have the decency to make the stupid shit fun. But not a single moment of AVPR gave me any fun. And I say that without hyperbole — not a single moment.

There were definitely opportunities for fun, but every one of these was swallowed into the belly of the whale known as “Horrible Editing and Abysmal Lighting.” I expect a mainstream trash movie like this to be edited to hell, but AVPR is beyond awful. Coupled with what is probably the darkest and most indecipherable cinematography I’ve ever seen, we’ve got a real “winner” on our hands. If I was able to make out what was going on around the editing, the lighting — or really, the lack of lighting — made it so that I was literally unable to see anything on-screen during large sections of the film.

And honestly, I don’t even know what else to say about this piece of shit. It’s a horrible movie, with literally no redeeming qualities. The setup of the Predalien hybrid at the end of AVP was a super fun tease, but the direction this film took it in was absolutely the worst option. Watch the first one over again and spare yourself the pain of AVPR.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Starring Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan, Joseph Rye, Agathe de La Boulaye, Carsten Norgaard, Sam Troughton

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Expectations: Super low. There’s no way this can be good.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Yes, you saw those stars right. No one messed with my graphics. Against all odds, AVP is a highly enjoyable film. It successfully brings together the elements necessary, all while still feeling somewhat connected to the Alien and Predator franchises. I wouldn’t call it canonical, and it definitely doesn’t feel like it matches up with previously established timelines, but when you’re dealing with a film that hinges on two killer aliens battling for supremacy, none of those things should matter. There’s some shit in this movie that is so audacious that I have no choice but to give it a hearty laugh and enjoy the shit out of it. I’d love to say what my favorite of these moments was, but the big reveal is kind of a big deal in the film, so I wouldn’t want to rob anyone of the pleasure it delivers.

In terms of story, AVP is mostly clichéd, mercenary filmmaking. This works to the advantage of AVP as our minds aren’t bogged down trying to understand some heady plot. We also don’t need to worry about remembering the characters, as they don’t really matter either. What does matter is that scientists at the Weyland corporation have picked up a strange heat signature in the ice in Antarctica, and they quickly determine it’s emanating from a pyramid 2,000 feet under the surface of the water. So Lance Henriksen, playing some ancestor of Bishop’s creator, brings together a kick-ass team to go investigate it. As expected, shit goes down something fierce and the audience is there to lap it up every step of the way.

Continue reading AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) →

Prometheus (2012)

Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie, Guy Pearce

Directed by Ridley Scott

Expectations: High. Despite not liking the trailer, I’m dying to see this.


I take everything negative I ever said about Prometheus back. This is the real deal. A true science fiction film full of grand questions of existence and humanity, Prometheus is incredible. It has its flaws if you come at it with the wrong expectations, but for me, a high-concept lovin’ sci-fi fiend, it doesn’t get much better than this. This is a space exploration movie of the highest order, complete with its own symphonic theme song that’s probably the best Star Trek theme song that’s not actually a Star Trek theme song. Ridley Scott can clearly still throw down a phenomenal film, and I think my faith in his proposed Blade Runner sequel just grew exponentially (even if it does seem needless).

Prometheus is yet another movie you should go into cold, but one thing you should definitely know beforehand is that it’s not an Alien movie. It’s related, but if you expect corridor horror and rampaging xenomorphs you’ll be sorely disappointed. It’s definitely in the franchise, so fans of the series will recognize many things that shed some light on Alien, but the events here are never directly connected to anything that happens in that film. Herein lies some of the problems with Prometheus, though, as Alien is a film that works perfectly as is, with its secrets firmly kept in the dark.

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Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Alien: Resurrection (1997)
AKA Alien 4

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Michael Wincott, Kim Flowers, Dan Hedaya, J.E. Freeman, Brad Dourif, Raymond Cruz, Leland Orser, Carolyn Campbell

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Expectations: Ugh.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


OK, hear me out. I know that Alien: Resurrection is a total piece of shit, and you know it too. What I didn’t know was that watching this 15 years and a shitload of B-Movies later, I would actually get a kick out of Alien: Resurrection. It’s still shitty, but there’s a lot to like about the film if you’re able to completely divorce yourself from the idea that this is a part of a franchise that you love. That’s simply the only way to enjoy this one, and really, they’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. Ripley died at the end of Alien³, and the somber, horrific tone of the series died along with her. Alien: Resurrection is a cash-in movie grasping at straws to create another moneymaker in a successful series, but damn if it isn’t a fun B-movie too.

Alien: Resurrection opens with some evil scientists cloning Ripley, and while they were at it, they whipped up a big batch of cheese balls… and the alien queen growing inside her. Due to some flawed logic cloning practices, Ripley is now something of a hybrid, gaining some of the alien’s curious traits such as acidic blood and superhuman strength. The real goal was to get the queen and start doing the bio-research the entire series has hinted at, but the scientist’s master plan hinges on some cargo being delivered by a bunch of space pirates led by Ron Perlman, and when they arrive shit starts to go down.

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Alien³ (1992)

Alien³ (1992)
AKA Alien 3

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Brian Glover, Ralph Brown, Danny Webb, Christopher John Fields, Holt McCallany, Lance Henriksen, Christopher Fairbank, Carl Chase, Leon Herbert, Vincenzo Nicoli, Pete Postlethwaite

Directed by David Fincher

Expectations: High, but guarded. There’s no way this can hold up to my love of it as a teenager.


Alien³. I remember seeing this in the theater very vividly; I was 11 and it rocked my world. I’ve since seen it a couple of times, but those were all before I cracked 20 and my tastes changed a bit. I’ve been eagerly awaiting Alien³ with nostalgia and a lot of trepidation, and now I can honestly say that I understand why everyone’s so hard on this film. It really doesn’t live up to its predecessors, and it’s much too drama-heavy, but I gotta say, I still greatly enjoyed it. David Fincher may have disowned the film because it was such a horrible experience for him, but I have always — and apparently will always — harbor a great love for this one.

Alien³ immediately pisses off every giant Aliens fan in the room by informing us during the credits that everyone in the pod except for Ripley has died. I imagine they were about as mad as I was at Cameron’s complete disregard for the atmosphere and feeling of Scott’s Alien. Anyway, I was never very attached to any of these characters so I’ve never cared that they decided to go this route, but it is a definite point of contention for many. To this I say: PRISON PLANET, and rest my case. I have such a love for the sci-fi idea of a prison planet that it easily overrides any discomfort or ill feelings the questionable reveal brings on. And like I said, I was never too fond of any of them anyway. OK, I did like Bishop quite a bit, but he actually does get to come back for a bit. Besides, the deaths of the characters allows Alien³‘s story to move in some interesting and intriguing ways, and it gives the film its somber tone.

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Aliens (1986)

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, William Hope, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston, Ricco Ross, Colette Hiller

Directed by James Cameron

Expectations: Y’know, it’s Aliens. It’s good.


As I often say in reviews where I know I’m treading on hallowed ground: I’m just calling it like I see it. I’ve always wanted to burn (or re-burn) through the Alien films in one fell swoop, as until now I’ve only seen them with multiple years in between. Watching Aliens only a few days after Alien, with its tight, restrictive corridors and masterful atmosphere firmly rooted in my mind, was a completely different experience. Instead of purely enjoying the more action-packed take on the xenomorph, I found myself disappointed at the almost entire lack of the look and feel of Alien. I understand that this series is unique in that it has multiple creative forces behind it, but I couldn’t help but think that Aliens was far inferior to Alien. Obviously, this debate has been going ever since this sequel dropped, and ultimately it comes down to what type of movie you prefer, but for my money I have always (and apparently will always) prefer the original Alien to James Cameron’s loud, crammed-full-of-shit sequel.

Harsh words, I know, and honestly I don’t mean them to come off like they probably sound. I love Aliens, I truly do, but my undying love for Alien, coupled with the fact that its memory was as fresh as a newly hatched facehugger, led me to notice the trashy, mainstream-leaning nature of this film like never before. But I recognize that I’m being overly harsh and bringing in a hard-lined bias toward the atmospheric horror of the original. Where Alien transported you into the future and into a derelict alien ship, Aliens feels like you’re watching a movie. It delivers some fucking awesome visuals, but it fails to cohesively feel like a real place to me. At the end of the day, Aliens is a dope sequel to a much doper movie, aimed directly at those in the audience that prefer military clichés and the axiom “Bigger is Better” than silent terror and careful plotting. It’s a throw everything at the canvas sort of deal; James Cameron is clearly the Michael Bay of his era.

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Alien (1979)

Starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Bolaji Badejo, Eddie Powell

Directed by Ridley Scott

Expectations: I love this shit.


I’ve never been much of a Ridley Scott fan, but goddamn if Alien isn’t a stunning, amazing piece of work. It’s undeniably one of the greatest genre films of all time, perfectly bridging the gap between science fiction, horror, and psychological thriller. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said about Alien, and even noting that everything’s already been said has been said ad infinitum. But still, I would like to share just a few of my observations during this most recent re-watch of one of my most favorite films.

When I was a kid, I watched this film several times, and its haunting, realistic, slow build-up to the reveal of the alien ship thoroughly grabbed me and refused to let go. To this day, this first hour or so of Alien is still my favorite, even though the Alien isn’t around yet. I enjoy this section for its ability to create a world, and give the characters a mystery to uncover that we can follow along with. These are just space truckers who got shafted; they are you and me thrust into the deep black of space and asked to investigate an alien ship. Ridley Scott’s camerawork is nothing short of perfect here, blending static, gorgeously composed shots with video footage from the ground team entering the ship. Just the use of video footage alone is ahead of its time and wonderfully effective, proving the point I was trying to make in my review of Chronicle about how the method of acquiring the footage is in certain cases directly proportionate to its ability to draw you in.

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