Friday, April 18, 2008

Even More Awesomer

I think we can all agree that the best movie of all time is "Alien Vs. Predator." So, you can imagine my delight and surprise when "Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem" came via Netflix this weekend. The only thing better would have been if the sequel to "To Kill A Mockingbird" had appeared in my mailbox -- and in it Scout fights aliens.

For those of you who haven't seen the first movie (heathens), it ends with an Alien/Predator hybrid popping out of the stomach of our fallen hero. The second movie picks up right where the first one left off, with this unholy hybrid bursting into the world, and then heading back to earth to kick some ass. It's target? A small Colorado town that was obviously built somewhere in Northwestern Canada to save on production costs. Luckily for the unwitting residents of the town, a Predator hunter is on his way to save them. Or kill them.
Either works, really.
He's so angry.

They never really tell you the name of the town, but I would have to guess it's called something like
"Sterotypeville." Really though, that's the best thing about this movie. From the first moment a person walks on screen you know if they are going to live or going to die, so you don't accidentally get attached to someone who is Alien food. Well meaning but slightly clueless Sheriff? Gone. Ex-con trying to make good? Totally okay. Good looking high school asshole? Deader than dead. Recently returned female U-S solider? She'll live until the end of time. Her husband? Worm food. Oh, and of course, all of the people who wander into dark places or try to play the hero when the Alien/Predator hybrid first starting wrecking havoc are not long for this world.

Of course, because they want to make you care a little for all of the characters they try to put together a bit of a plot before the real bloodshed starts. The soldier has a child who resents the fact she's been gone. The ex-con was once a cop and the Sheriff's best friend. The good looking bully is dating the true love of the poor and put upon pizza delivery boy. Yeah, it's all very touching. In fact, Ryan found it so moving he started talking back to the screen. "You're the parent, work on the relationship," he said during one scene with the soldier and her kid. I had to then remind him that this kid doesn't go to his school, and most likely would end up as a cape for the Predator by the end of the film for speaking unkindly to an Iraq war vet. Ryan has had a long week.

By the time the Alien/Predator hybrid (or Alitor) starts facing off with the avenging Predator half the town is dead and the other half isn't interesting in acting like they care. It's at this point the scriptwriter decided that all was lost, and that it would be best if the National Guard just nuked the whole town. Well, the idea did help "Cloverfield" make millions. The whole town goes up in a mushroom cloud as the survivors lift off in a helicopter, praying there will be an "AVP:III" and that they will be in it.

My only real problem with this movie is that they start changing the rules. No longer was a face sucker needed to breed Aliens, the larger Alitor could do it by himself. And there were multiple Alitor births. I guess one screaming worm thing popping out of someone's stomach wasn't considered scary enough for today's discerning audience. That's all well and good, but I found it to be a gross violation of the genre. What's next? Using guns instead of swords in "Romeo and Juliet" and setting it in Mexico City? Oh, wait...

What it all comes down to is yet another sequel that doesn't live up to the original. It's a story George Lucas, and now the Strauss brothers know all too well. You can't recapture the raw passion of a great movie over and over again. It's why "Ishtar" never had a sequel. Oh, but wouldn't that have been glorious...