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Apology Accepted...Thank You, Brothers Strause!
on December 26, 2007
I absolutely hated the first AvP. That's quite a shock, considering that anyone who knows me personally knows that I have simply adored the Alien and Predator franchises for the majority of my 25 years. But what happens when you take two of the most violent, most terrifying and most successful film franchises and slam them together? Well, the first time around we got one hour and twenty minutes of sewage on a film reel. Where Paul W.S. Andersen clearly did not care to do any research on either franchise, the Brothers Strause manage to pull a few punches and deliver us a winner!
Don't be fooled...this is not a great movie by any means. The whole point of the film is that, if you are a fan of either of these monstrous creatures, you will not be disappointed in the action. Taking up precisely where the previous movie left off, we find our young hybrid achieving adulthood rather quickly (a faux pas that Andersen also pulled on us), and causing an incident which results in the ship crashing down to earth, in a rural colorado town. Within one day, all Hell breaks loose as the small, unassuming town is quickly beset on all side by an infestation that no exterminator would ever want to tackle...except for one. Receiving the ship's distress call, a lone Predator is dispatched to earth to take care of the infestation, and clean up the mess that was caused by their mistake.
If you're expecting a groundbreaking plot and Oscar-worthy performances, be warned...you will not find them in this film. What you WILL find is the movie that should have been made in the first place, albeit in a slightly different setting. Almost seeming like an apology for the previous train wreck delivered by Paul Andersen, the Brothers Strause take the franchise in a new direction with a few shocking (and horrifying) surprises. Most if not all fans will be very happy with the movie's hard "R" rating, a component severely lacking from the first film.
With an R rating, expect buckets of gore and tons of violence. Both franchises are brought right back to their roots with all the gore you would expect, with some horrifying twists thrown in for good measure. AvP:R borrows much from the previous movies in both franchises, as well borrowing some elements from movies such as Species. Based on that, I would highly recommend that you do not take your pregnant wife or friend to see this movie.
There are some key differences between Requiem and the first film that are apparent right from the start. The lone Predator in this film is quite possibly the most fearsome Predator yet seen in any film. Though the pure favoritism for the Aliens displayed in the first movie is gone, we do not get favoritism for the Predators in this movie either...both sides deal significant damage to one another, with plenty of death to go around. With humans caught in the middle, it isn't pretty for anyone involved. The design of both species is much better as well...instead of the rubber muppet-faced Predators from the first film, we get an impressive, monstrous visage that has seen its share of battles. The Aliens are also quite impressive, looking very similar to their Aliens roots. The Hybrid is a unique, ferocious monstrosity with a shocking new twist in the Alien lifecycle mutation.
None of the actors in this film are of any particular renown, and seem to be the type you'd find in a Sci-Fi original film or a(*shudder*) Lifetime movie. Many people hace complained of the "Dawson's Creek" style drama that manages to leak into the film at several points. Personally I didn't find it all that bad, but the sappy drama is laid on a bit thick. Being that these actors aren't quite mainstream, you definitely won't be getting memorable performances. Just take solace in the fact that you won't have to deal with it anymore when the Aliens get their hands on them.
With that said, the movie itself is a fast-paced, action-packed hour and a half. The carnage begins in less than 20 minutes, and it just never seems to stop. Contrary to what some have said, the action is easy to follow. The battles are far less gimmicky than the first film, where we had Predators built like clumsy linebackers trying to pull off Kung Fu and Tae Kwan Do manuevers. The Predator is once again a lean, muscular killing machine much akin to his previous Predator film counterparts. His skill with weaponry and hand-to-hand combat is intense, and the battles with the Aliens never cease to be entertaining.
Overall, the movie was a drastic improvement over the original. It is by no means a great movie, and it is definitely not what I envisioned what Aliens vs Predator would be when it finally hit the big screen when the comic was first released nearly 20 years ago. However, it is definitely a tremendous leap forward for the franchise, and it more than makes up for the sour taste left in the mouths of Alien and Predator fans everywhere. While Paul Andersen and Fox politics managed to dump both franchises into the deepest, darkest sewer, the Brothers Strause have managed to pull it back into the light of day. It can't quite wash the stench of the first film out of it, but it was by no means a let down.
I absolutely hated the first film and will never forgive Andersen and Fox for almost ruining both franchises, but with this highly entertaining sequel, we have an absolute adrenalin blast with some element of horror and suspense thrown in to action romp akin to Aliens. The film ends with yet another ambiguous opening for a sequel that ties both franchises together.
Lets take some time to sum it all up:
- It's rated "R"...and it's definitely hard "R"
- Non-stop action from start to finish
- The entire movie is essentially an appreciative nod to previous films in both franchises
- No Predator and human hand-holding romps through fields of flowers
- Enough blood to quell the thirsts of even the most parched of the bloodthirsty
- Excellent creature design
- No Paul Andersen
- Excellent special effects
- Like Andersen, the Brothers Strause clearly haven't researched the Alien life-cycle (chestburster to adult in less than 10 minutes?)
- The entire cast seems to have been dredged from the bottom of Hollywood's B-list
- Pacing can be a bit too fast at times
If you hated the first film but you're still holding out hope, then don't waste any time...see it now!