Considering Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem takes no more than fifteen minutes to murder a child by way of an alien chest buster, I was pretty stoked. And shockingly, it mostly held up to my grand expectations for it.
Directed by the absurdly named duo The Brothers Strause (who directed the also pretty solid Skyline), AVP:R as the cool kids call it, has some aliens crash land in Colorado, a Predator in hot pursuit, and a bunch of dumb humans to be fodder for both for the next ninety-six minutes. I have no idea why this movie is only at a 4.7 on IMDb. In fact, considering the output of both the Alien and Predator series over the past decade or so, this one is clearly the most entertaining since it is a slasher movie with aliens and not some grand allegory for the creation of life or some horseshit like in Prometheus.
This film is supposed to take place immediately after the last one but I never saw it so I was forced to fill in some of the gaps. Apparently, an alien face hugger impregnated a wounded Predator, only for a hybrid being (referred to online as ... The Predalien, sigh) to emerge and start causing trouble, starting with a father and son hunting team who get John Hurt-ed in the first few minutes. Like I said, awesome.
Then we meet some of our "hero" characters including Sheriff John Ortiz, some kind of scumbag Steven Pasquele, and Army-mom on sabbatical Reiko Aylesworth. There are some other characters too but they don't matter because they either die quickly or are part of this stupid teenage love triangle that has no business in this movie. Given me more AlienVPredator-ing rather than two guys fighting over a girl!
But anyways, for much of the film, the aliens are going around impregnating hobos and randos to increase their numbers, the Predator is running around trying to eliminate and contain them, and our human characters have no idea what's going on for the most part. But then, somewhere around the halfway point, the battle between the creatures breaks out into the town and all hell breaks loose. For about ten minutes or so, this turns into the finale of Hot Fuzz with the Predator completely destroying this town trying to stop these ne'er-do-well aliens.
Before the film is done, aliens have breached the local hospital and done some very disturbing things to the seemingly large number of pregnant women for such a small town, John Ortiz has called in the National Guard only for them to be slaughtered within 90 seconds, and our group of characters split up because the National Guard is sending "an air rescue" into town which smart Army-mom Reiko Aylesworth correctly figures is a tactical missile to destroy all the creatures, humans included.
These events are interspersed with lots and lots of "hand-to-hand" combat scenes between the Predator and aliens which aren't great. It's admirable that while the Strause kinfolk have their background in a lot of visual effects, most of the creatures here appear to be practical effects that ooze drool and bleed neon green blood. Unfortunately, during the fight scenes, everything is shot so dark and sloppily, there's no chance of figuring out what the hell is going on other than if you can see Slime blood from the Predator or hear acid blood from the aliens.
Either way, not everyone can do action decent up close so I can't ding this dumb movie too much on that. If anything, I was more disappointed that the filmmakers or editors seemed to be holding back on the violence and gore. Considering (according to the IMDb), this movie was designed to be a hard-R to quell backlash from fans about the tame first film, there are really only a handful of shots that stand out as especially gruesome. Most seem to pull the editing trick of cutting away just before you start seeing anything which was especially frustrating.
Alas, I'm not complaining too much and maybe some of this is rectified on the unrated director's cut which I probably will never get to watching. Considering the generally predictable scenarios and complete lack of any character development, perhaps I'm giving this B-grade, trash movie more credit than it's worth. Judging from responses online, if you are an uber-fan of either series, stay away from this as it does not seem to fit in with established cannon. But if you aren't a nerd, go ahead. Again, some little kid eats shit in the first reel so count me in.