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) →

Predators (2010)

Starring Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Mahershala Ali, Carey Jones, Brian Steele, Derek Mears

Directed by Nimród Antal

Expectations: Low. I pretty much hated this the first time I saw it.


[Editor’s note: I unapologetically spoil everything about this movie.]

The good news is that now I’m able to enjoy this movie for what it is. The bad news is that I still think it’s kind of boring and not a good Predator movie. I first saw Predators about a year and a half ago and was completely underwhelmed. I specifically chose not to review it, as my feelings were so dark that I decided it was for the best if I kept them to myself. I had heard it lived up to the original Predator, paying homage in subtle ways that took the series back to what made it work in the past. While it is true that this one is set in the jungle, and it features many, many echoes of the original film, it forgets one huge thing that makes Predator great: the hunting… specifically the Predator hunting the humans. It’s also missing the feeling of dread that should be there when a group of people are being hunted by an alien race known for hunting and killing every other race in the universe.

The big reason why there’s no tension in this is that it always feels like Adrien Brody is on the offensive. He never feels like he’s got his back to the wall, as Arnold did when he took a Predator blast and then careened off the waterfall. The final act was a terrifying series of events in which Arnold won through sheer dumb luck and a whole lot of ingenuity. In Adrien Brody’s final confrontation, it feels like he’s the one bringing the Predators to his planet to hunt. It’s no fault of Brody’s, who does a fine job selling himself as a larger-than-life action hero, but it definitely doesn’t make for a compelling Predator movie.

Continue reading Predators (2010) →

Predator 2 (1990)

Starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Rubén Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, Robert Davi, Adam Baldwin, Kent McCord, Morton Downey Jr., Calvin Lockhart, Kevin Peter Hall

Directed by Stephen Hopkins

Expectations: Low. I re-watched this a few years ago (right before starting SE and hated it).

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


What a difference a couple of years makes. Many times I’ve mentioned how my love of B-Movies has allowed me to sit back and enjoy many films that I would’ve never been able to before. Predator 2 is a great example as I loved it when it was new, but re-watching it just a few years ago proved trying on my patience. I bitched about how it wasn’t doing what I thought a Predator movie should do, and that they probably should have never made a sequel. But in the interest of reviewing the Predator series leading up to my eventual reviews of the two AVP films (Oh God, am I actually watching those movies?), I reluctantly put the disc in and threw all expectations out the window. C’mon, Predator 2! I’m here! Do it! Kill me now! Give me your best.

Predator 2 responded with such force and vigilance that I was shaken to my core. How could I have possibly disliked this film just a few, short years ago? It’s all thanks to starting Silver Emulsion and really exploring my love of film in its many forms that I’m now able to recapture that childhood glee of watching Danny Glover take on the baddest motherfucker this side of Jupiter. I take back every bad thing I ever said about Predator 2 in the last couple of years, because Predator 2 is pure fun.

Continue reading Predator 2 (1990) →

Predator (1987)

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, R.G. Armstrong, Shane Black, Kevin Peter Hall

Directed by John McTiernan

Expectations: High. One of my all-time favorites.


OK, I’ve dicked around with enough questionable Arnold films such as Jingle All the Way, Hercules in New York and Batman and Robin. It’s time for the big guns; it’s time for Predator, baby!

I have an interesting history with Predator. I grew up in a family that scraped by any way they could, and in a house of movie lovers, that meant recording as many movies as possible off of TV. I grew up watching Predator in its edited TV form thanks to a broadcast one night on FOX, so after seeing that version 50+ times, the legitimate theatrical version will forever seem like some sort of extended, unrated cut to me. For whatever reason, even though I’ve seen the real version a number of times now, the “new” scenes never make enough of an impact on me to override my memories and therefore they always feel fresh.

Predator kicks off in style with a cool space intro scene (half of which was missing from my original copy), followed by an equally cool scene of Schwarzenegger and his team arriving at a remote HQ by helicopter. There’s no dialogue, instead we hear the thunderous and incredible score from Alan Silvestri. This is absolutely one of my top film scores of all time, and it’s never far from my mind. Every time I hear it, I get pumped to arm wrestle my buddy standing up, to shoot indiscriminately with a mini-gun into the dense jungle, to call an alien an ugly motherfucker. The score’s main theme, which kicks off the film, manages to simultaneously evoke the military team aspect of Arnold and his men, the jungle setting, and the alien predator hunting them down for sport. While I’m tempted to say something about wishing that Silvestri was still delivering scores on this level, after something as amazing as this and Back to the Future, I think he’s given enough. Silvestri has many other strong scores from this period (I’m especially partial to the fun steel drums of the Summer Rental score), but for me Predator and Back to the Future are the pinnacles of his career, elevating their movies infinitely higher than would otherwise be possible.

Continue reading Predator (1987) →

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