Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Despite being one of the worst-reviewed movies in recent history, I still wanted to see Requiem, which picks up immediately after the previous Aliens vs. Predator flick left off. So I caught it last night after the kids were in bed. (Thanks Kimi!)

Kimi thought I was nuts to want to see this instead of something, well, decent… But I’ve actually wanted to see this movie since 1991, ever since the teaser trailers for Alien 3. Those brief audio-only trailers made it sound like the Aliens had landed on Earth and were attacking us at home. Turns out, those trailers were a lie and Alien 3 ended up being my least favorite movie of the series by far. (They should have gone with the “Saturday Night Live” sketch’s idea and called it Alienses.)

Sure, the first Aliens vs. Predator (2004) was set on Earth, but it was confined inside some magic temple, so it wasn’t what I was expecting or wanted.

And while Requiem isn’t the most tightly-plotted or superbly-acted movie you’ll ever see, I think it’s far more entertaining than any of the others in the series since Aliens, and it really does deliver on the scenario that scared me 16 years ago. This movie does not pull any punches: animals, children, and lead characters are all in jeopardy.

Don’t misunderstand me, though: Aliens is about 500 times better than Requiem. Steven Pasquale (Garrity from “Rescue Me”) and Reiko Aylesworth (Michelle from “24”) are the closest thing to stars they got, and they ain’t really movie stars. Making Reiko’s character Kelly so obviously based on Ripley (protecting her daughter, driving the tank) seems like a misfire to me, but both leads do a decent job. (Whoever they have as the sheriff was terrible and badly miscast, though.)

There are certainly plot holes in this that defy any ability to suspend disbelief. But if you want to see Aliens attacking a town on Earth with Predators mixed in, and a nice twist (telegraphed by the ending of the previous movie), the action scenes work, the movie is decently crafted with good special effects and a tight pace, and it’s not nearly as bad as the critics say.

For the record, here are my ratings of the films in the series, using the -4 (truly horrible) to 0 (meh) to +4 (wow!) scale:

Alien (1979): +3 (but doesn’t age well; was terrifying when I first saw it, but now seems too slowly paced)
Aliens (1986): +4 (still nearly perfect from beginning to end)
Predator (1987): +1 (decent despite or maybe because of Arnold)
Predator 2 (1990): -2 (really bad)
Alien 3 (1992): -3 (horribly bad, and undermines the previous movie to boot)
Alien Resurrection (1997): -1 (I like the style of it, although there are some really big problems)
Aliens vs. Predator (2004): 0 (mindless, cheesy, some good action sequences, badly acted, many plot problems)
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007): +1

By the way, Defective Yeti nailed the whole “versus” genre a while back.

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