Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
A dull film that manages to look like a bad videogame at best
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
The Alien and the Predator, monsters from a great science-fiction film and an above-average one, respectively, have been reduced in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem to featured attractions in a dull actioner that looks like a bad video game.
The old A and P monsters just aren’t what they used to be. Familiarity has done them in.
Consider that great signature moment from Ridley Scott’s Alien way back in 1979, when an alien baby burst unexpectedly from a poor astronaut’s gut. It was truly shocking. Here the directors, who bill themselves as the Brothers Strause, get to that moment right away—and then again and again and again. A great screen moment turned into to a corny sideshow.
Aliens cause a Predator spacecraft to crash near the small Colorado mountain town of Gunnison, killing the Predator pilot. Another Predator follows his pal, discovers him dead, gets emotional, and then goes on an Alien-hunting trip.
The Aliens incubate and reproduce in humans at a rapid rate so Gunnison becomes a virtual shooting gallery for the sometimes invisible Predator. Trouble is he isn’t too careful about what else he hits—humans or a nuclear power plant.
The town’s sheriff (John Ortiz) is overwhelmed. In fact, he is so nuts he keeps bringing along an ex-con (Steven Pasquale), just out of prison, on all his investigations. So lacking in imagination is this movie that the Brothers Strause and writer Shane Salerno keep scrambling back to the original movie for inspiration.
Fights between the space fiends are tiresome affairs of zaps, gun bursts and acid blood plus a blue liquid Alien Cleanser the Predator keeps pouring everywhere to dissolve the creatures. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is filled with peculiar gurgles, crackling, hisses, clicks and electronic noise, all backed by Brian Tyler’s relentless, pulsating score.
Low on drama and thrills, this one fails to engage
Reservation Road paints itself into a corner by creating a static situation in which everyone is stymied by indecision, leaving the movie free for its two male leads to wallow in self-pity, remorse and bad behaviour.
A fatal hit-and-run accident provides a terrible intersection in the lives of two families, but to sustain the movie as a “dramatic thriller,” the callous driver—played by Mark Ruffalo in a sweaty-palms performance—cannot stop or turn himself in for weeks until the grieving father, Joaquin Phoenix, has driven himself into a homicidal frenzy.
Audience sympathy never finds a natural outlet in this troubling drama, scripted by director Terry George and John Burnham Schwartz, based on Schwartz’s novel. The moment attorney Dwight Arno (Ruffalo) fails to stop after slamming into 10-year-old Josh (Sean Curley) alongside a Connecticut gas station, he loses any sympathy, no matter how messed up his life is.
Josh’s parents, college professor Ethan Learner (Phoenix) and wife Grace (Jennifer Connelly), face a family’s worst nightmare. Gradually, though, sympathy slips away here too, at least as far as Ethan is concerned. He shuts down emotionally and spends hours in Internet chat rooms where parents of hit-and-run victims find solace and fuel one another’s emotions in unhealthy ways.
Then come the coincidences. Dwight’s ex-wife, Ruth (Mira Sorvino), is the school music teacher to both Josh and Emma. Ethan hires Dwight to represent his legal interests with the state police, whom he rages against for not finding the perpetrator. This is just too small a world.
All these human reactions don’t make for high drama, and the thriller aspect to the movie feels half-hearted at best.