Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CRA/P

AVP/R (Aliens vs Predator: Requiem)

Notice the title of the film? It’s NOT Aliens vs Predator: Requiem , but AVP/R. In the main titles, the acronym appears larger than the actual spelled out title. Not a good sign.

What’s it about, Mike?
A bunch of snappy, snarling, growling creatures chew up the inhabitants of Gunnison, Colorado.

Was it any good, Mike?
No, it wasn’t too good.

The hell, Mike?
Aside from having no story – which I’ll get to in a second – this has to be the darkest movie I’d ever seen. Not cool noir dark, but dark as in, Let’s turn off most of the lights on our tiny, cramped sets so the audience never gets a clear idea of what’s going on. Locations include a dense forest, a cramped sewer tunnel, and lots of other tiny spaces. I mean the Predator is a huge guy and so is the Alien, so why shoot them in what amounts to phone booths for them? Combine the dark photography with today’s split second choppy editing style and you get a recipe for instant epileptic fits. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD About that non-story? The Pred-Alien – possibly the stupidest name ever – we saw chestbursting from the Predator at the end of AVP Numero Uno gets loose on the Predator spaceship just as it’s leaving our earth. Several hijinks ensue in the dark ship corridors, likely facehuggings but who knows, and the ship crashes back to earth in Gunnison (actually Canada – trees are trees, right?). We are introduced to several people: a Jensen Ackles wannabe playing a former convict named DALLAS (get it), his teenage brother Ricky the pizza guy, pizza boy’s crush, the hot cheerleader-type rich blond girl Jesse, the sheriff who shares a history with Jensen Ackles Wannabe, and Kelly, the Army mom who is returning after a long deployment to her husband and little girl. They go through the motions of various subplots, the sheriff keeps a weary eye on ex-con Dallas while people start turning up missing, Ricky is beaten up by Jesse’s Nordic boyfriend, and the little girl keeps her distance from Kelly, the gone too long mom. The reason they have all this soap opera baloney is because the main characters speak in growls, clicks and hisses without subtitles, so you need to fill your movie with something. But you don’t care one wit, and neither do the filmmakers, because they kill off everybody except Dallas, Ricky, Kelly and her kid. Yeah, the sheriff usually goes out in brave style, though not here. Yeah, they kill off the Nordic bully and his Aryan buds (no surprise there), but they killed off the cute blond who left her douchebag boyfriend for sensitive Ricky. WHY DID THEY DO THAT? There was no need to. But what really got me was early in the movie a hunter and his 8 or 9 year old son are in the woods when the Predator spaceship crashes. Naturally the father gets a facehugger sandwich, BUT SO DOES THE LITTLE BOY. Later, when the chestburster pops out of dad, they SHOW THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO THE LITTLE BOY. Brave, plucky resourceful Newt, in Aliens, looses her family and goes through hell, but thanks to new mother figure Ripley makes it to the suspended animation chamber at the end. Then Alien 3 kills her offscreen, which left a bad taste in your mouth through the whole movie. Because we really don’t know this kid – other than he’s 8 OR 9 YEARS OLD – his death doesn’t have as much impact as Newt’s yet it still leaves a stain on this movie.

Is it really that bad, Mike?
There is not an original idea in this movie’s little head, they just ape stuff we've seen before, like doing a version of Newt in the water and the alien rises up to get her. The directors' (the Brothers Strause) idea of original is to take the sexual connotations of the facehugger and go a step further by having the Pred-Alien ram its extending tongue down a pregnant woman’s mouth, all the while showing egg-sized lumps going down her throat; later we see her belly explode as she “births” a small litter of pre-aliens. That’s something you’d see in a scifi horror cheapie like Xtro, not in a film that bears the Alien label. After eight films featuring Aliens and/or Predators there is absolutely no shock value left in them whatsoever. One scene really had me laughing, it is where a waitress sees her boss attacked by an alien so she turns to leave and in the kitchen doorway is another alien which slowly forces her to walk back into the kitchen, hissing and drooling all the way. These movies have become so silly, the creatures remind me of those motorcycle toughs in the Billy Jack movies who ride into town and harass everybody. They beat up the men, drool over the chicks, and cause a lot of property damage. That’s what the AVP franchise (oh, dear god, it IS a franchise) needs is its own BILLY JACK, a space war veteran who just wants to be left alone with his hippie girlfriend, but the aliens and predators keep messing with him. Instead of that cool black hat, he could wear a cool black helmet, which he would only take off when he was about to whop some extraterrestrial ass. “I’m gonna take this right space boot and I’m gonna whop you on that side of your face…”









6 comments:

  1. BILLY JACK LIVES!

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  2. It's so bad it's not just a movie, it's unintentional parody. Shortly to be watched alongside "The Creeping Terror" who's monstar star was, with rug and extra's supporting the backside, "a man in a bulky suit, physically comparable to Gumby." (Wikipedia).

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  3. I want to see "Boba Jack Goes to Washington."

    I had absolutely zero interest in seeing this, until you mentioned it took place in Gunnison, Colorado. Now I have less than zero interest in seeing this.

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  4. "I had absolutely zero interest in seeing this...now I have less than zero interest in seeing this."

    Is that like "scientific absolute zero," where you wouldn't move a molecule to change the channel if this came on TV (and it WILL)?

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  5. SOMEONE needs to take ALL the Billy Jack movies and replace Billy with Boba Fett. You hear me, Interwebs?!

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  6. Absolute zero interest. I think you have found a new definition for complete disinterest. Now if they had set it in Montrose or Olathe, it might have been worth seeing...

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