Posted: 01/02/2008


Alien Vs. Predator – Requiem


by Jef Burnham

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With Alien vs. Predator (2004), writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson inexplicably managed to bastardize two successful franchises, living up to its tagline, “Whoever wins—We lose.” And still, they made a sequel to it—the uninspired Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, whose closing scene, incomprehensible though it may be, would lead us to believe there will be a third installment.

Alien Vs. Predator – Requiem is intolerable in every way. Overflowing with clichés, this freshman effort from visual effects artists and Nickelback video directors, The Brothers Strause, is wholly uninspired. Their directing is absent of even the most novice cinematic know-how, and they never manage to achieve so much as a split-second of suspense, unless you count the two or three times you think it might end and it continues despite itself. Their reliance on the recycled score is embarrassing and they even go so far as trying to replicate the sequences in which the Aliens hiss and drool in someone’s face, the results of which are laughable at best.

Shane Salerno, who was also the screenwriter for the cinematic failures Armageddon and the remake of Shaft, offers up what may turn out to be the most hackneyed script of his career, which was written with the motto, “No stereotype too low, no cliché too big.” Enter the pretty girl dating a jock and the average pizza boy in love with her, who gets beat up for having a better vocabulary than her boyfriend. How about the Army Mom on leave, whose daughter is distant and clings to her father? And let’s not forget the street smart ex-con, struggling to make it in the real world, as well as the dishonest military man who drops a nuke on the city to prevent complete Alien takeover.

The Aliens and the Predator (yes, only one Predator) are an unrivaled disappointment. The Aliens haven’t looked this much like guys in suits since Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, when the guy in a suit was still scary. The Aliens also vomit in pregnant women’s mouths and eat babies, showing how much the filmmakers had to strive to make their Aliens abhorrent. The lone Predator can be summed up in one word, incompetent; and though I wish it weren’t so, Salerno followed through with Paul W.S.’s genetically preposterous Alien/Predator hybrid idea. All I can say is Aliens should not have dreadlocks.

Even though Alien Vs. Predator – Requiem is not meant for human consumption, Paul W.S. managed to keep his talentless fingers out of it, making it at least that much better than its predecessor.

Jef Burnham is a film critic and freelance writer living in Chicago.

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