Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (AvP:R) is an 80’s action movie thrust into 2008. Unfortunately for AvP:R, most people in 2008 have grown out of mindless action films. When I watched AvP:R, I could clearly see the welcome reception it would have had and the revenue it would have generated in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Fortunately for AvP:R, it is better than its predecessor though it couldn’t possibly be worse. The only direction it could have gone was up.
The action in AvP:R is very good and intense but the human element and the setup are weak. The biggest mistake AvP:R made was introducing “waiting to dies” with zero development no one cares about or is made to care about. Screenwriter Shane Salerno should have taken a lesson from Greg McLean and Wolf Creek on that point.
The second mistake AvP:R made was throwing the aliens and predator into the classic horror scenario of: a small town community (Gunnison, Colorado) under siege from a monster (the aliens). Why just have a two minute snippet on the Predator’s home world? After three films evolving Predators, you finally go to their world and you show no aspects of it. Brilliant. Yes, please show us a small town community, its coffee shop, et cetera. We’ve never seen those before. Their much more interesting than an alien planet and its warrior civilization. Why not show the Predators talking to each other on their planet, holding a meeting about the situation, selecting their best hunter from a roster? I would have loved to hear what their language sounds like. The brothers Strause could have showed that selected Predator at home wearing something other than his battle armor when the word comes down and he (or it) received his selection notice.
Then there is the Marine. Why use Reiko Alyesworth, former co-star of television’s 24, give her the pedigree of a military soldier and then not use any of it? Salerno should have just made her a pastry chef. And one point that I found strange: Your wife comes home from a tour of duty, you both haven’t had sex with anyone since she left, you’re alone with her in your room after you put your daughter to bed and you don’t make-out or have sex? When Alyesworth’s daughter in AvP:R, Molly O’Brien (Ariel Gade), screams she saw something outside of her window and both parents, Kelly O’Brien (Reiko Alyesworth) and Mr. O’Brien (whose name I couldn’t locate on IMDb), come rushing into her room moments later, they are both fully clothed, not a hair out of place. I thought that it was very strange that the hormones of the “teen” characters were made omnipresent in an unusually relationship triangle and yet here is a normal couple that has been totally de-sexualized. Why? Their not 65 years old. It didn’t really make sense to me though there are many non-sensical scenes littered throughout AvP:R (the Predator ship is flying away from Earth in the first scene then earth is suddenly in front of it towards the right after a hole is blown in it. How is that possible when the earth was behind it? I have an explanation. Sloppy editing. Good job Mr. Zimmerman. Everything horrible that happens to people in the film is rushed. The horror is never given time to marinate in the audiences’ mind e.g. the hospital scene with the pregnant women. Don’t get me wrong, the tension is kept high because of it. You move from one action sequence to the next but the story and the horror aspects of the film suffer because of the pace. Another issue, Kelly never identifies herself as a soldier to Col. Stevens (Robert Joy) or the other soldiers at the end of the film. The Colonel and the other soldiers might want to know that they are dealing with a brother-in-arms and not a civilian. This type of military logic deficiency also occurred in 28 Weeks Later. Further, why don’t the survivors drive out of Gunnison in the Stryker? Its former occupants drove into town in it.). Anyway, back to the Marine. When Kelly runs out of the house with her daughter, I thought: And your husband whom you love? Hello? Kelly should have been given a soldier’s or better yet, a warrior’s mentality. Kelly could have brought her daughter to her neighbor’s house then ran back to her house to try and save her husband’s life. She could have grabbed a shotgun from the top of the closet near the door. Kelly could have then gone upstairs with the shotgun, checking the angles overhead to make sure she didn’t get ambushed by the alien. A shotgun battle would ensue with the alien once she was upstairs, she would see her dead husband on the floor of her daughter’s room and check his neck to make sure. She would then go back downstairs with the shotgun, out the door and retrieve her daughter from the neighbor. I realize that was long a tangent but that hypothetical scene and its subsequents would have made Alyesworth’s character a part of AvP:R and not just a “waiting to die” that is along for the ride.
There are many alterations and changes, like above, that could have made AvP:R better. You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t talk about any of the characters or their noteworthy personalities (besides my proposed one for Kelly). There are no characters, in the figurative sense, in AvP:R and they were given no personalities besides the generic. It was like watching ten or twelve Eddie Brock Juniors running around. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem is a film that is what it is. Easily digestible, brainless, action popcorn. Yum.