Another DVD release this Tuesday is Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the latest in the merged franchises, picking up where Alien vs. Predator left off. This bloody slugfest will be out in two versions – the theatrical version and an unrated version (with some additional extras), plus the Blu-Ray version will have both. If you don’t have some of the other movies in either franchise, check our Sci-Fi Movies store for some different packages. Read More for a review of AVP-R.
This review is based on a pre-release screener copy of the unrated version. No packaging was available.
This movie starts off with the Predator ship leaving Earth, carrying the body of one of the Predators which was apparently impregnated by an Alien. A new Alien bursts from the body, showing hybrid characteristics of a Predator (unofficially called a “Predalien”). It grows quickly and manages to escape on a scout ship back to Earth, crash landing in Colorado. More Aliens are produced, and veteran Predator leaves their homeworld to confront the Aliens, with both species letting nothing get in their way.
Put very simply, this movie is a gore fest. It lacks the frightening build-ups of suspense of the original movies, instead opting for a pure adrenaline-fueled graphic bloody battle. Characters are mostly inconsequential – you aren’t thinking necessarily who is getting killed off next, but who is NOT getting killed. There are no big-name actors here, and you are not going to see any Oscar-worthy performances – in general, the acting is pretty weak. And the character of Kelly, a member of the military, turns into a cheap photocopy of Ripley towards the end, taking on the mannerisms, looks, and even the voice. At a certain level, the plot even mimics Aliens, with a group just trying to survive long enough to escape, while the Aliens give chase.
Despite this, it was a mildly interesting movie – certainly if you are looking for some mindless gore and violence without any nasty attempts at technobabble or anything like that. I’m actually surprised that no gratuitous nudity was thrown in, considering they had a perfect opportunity for it. But it lacks any fright factor. Maybe I’m just older and the Aliens aren’t scary any more, but I still have problems watching the egg scene in Alien, and that’s almost 30 years old!
Visually, the film is VERY dark. I don’t know if this is to increase the fear, cover up the flaws in costuming, or what. Still images I have seen (included in the special features) show much brighter scenes that still look reasonably well. In fact, I found it hard to distinguish between regular Aliens, the PredAlien, and the Predator at times. I want to see someone pull off this kind of scene in an all-white, brightly lit corridor.
The DVD comes with several Still Galleries with photos from the production, and two commentary tracks. One track features Directors Colin and Greg Strause and Producer John Davis, and the other has Tom Woodruff Jr. (the actor in the Alien suit) and Alec Gillis (the creature effects designer).
Since the Unrated version does not include the theatrical version of the film, you can turn on a special “Added Footage Marker” that will appear on the screen to let you know you are watching one of the additional/extended scenes.
In addition are 5 different making-of featurettes:
- AVP-R: Preparing For War: Development and Production
- AVP-R: Fight To The Finish: Post Production
- AVP-R: The Nightmare Returns: Creating The Aliens
- AVP-R: Crossbreed: Creating The PredAlien
- AVP-R: Building The Predator Homeworld
Overall, if you want a pure end-to-end alien gore fest, or if you just want more in this hybrid franchise, this movie is for you. In general, you’d be better off watching the earlier movies in either series.