Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

James Dittiger/20th Century Fox

Review in a Hurry:  Aliens vs. predators: Mildly interesting. Aliens and predators vs. small-town humans: Not so interesting. Actors vs. script: Nobody wins. Storyline vs. common sense: Slaughter! You vs. this movie: You're doomed!

The Bigger Picture:  So, an alien and a predator walk into a bar...Well, frankly, that would be enough of a blueprint for a passable sci-fi action thriller. You've got your swarm of spiny, acid-blooded aliens over here, your rugged, dreadlocked predators with their shiny toys over there and, if you absolutely must, some hapless humans trapped between them. It's the sort of thing that should practically write, cast, shoot and edit itself. But somehow every time these ugly critters get together—this outing, it's a crash-landing on the outskirts of a doomed Colorado town—the result is a complete hash.

Requiem is better than its direct predecessor, the phoned-in Paul W. S. Anderson project that was devoid of everything that made the Alien films good and the Predator films mostly tolerable. But it's still not really worth watching.

The modern-day setting and the necessary obeisance to canon turns the story into an act of self-negation. The characters are as generic as they can be and still don't hit their marks, and the action has none of the flair of even the frequently maligned latter-day Alien pics.

It's hard to blame the extraterrestrials. After a combined 50 years of experience, the rubber-suit technology is pretty well in hand. Unfortunately, in all that time, nobody has figured out how to simulate a convincing human who's not Sigourney Weaver. Maybe the budget for future sequels would be better spent on something that might actually help the franchise: cloning!

The 180—a Second Opinion:  Cut away 45 minutes of clumsy exposition and characterization (both are hopelessly botched anyway), and you've got a chunk of good monster movie.

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