By: Ryan Stewart
The Strause Brothers -- or BrothersStrause, as the directing duo insists on being called -- have created a weirdly meta film in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. I can't recommend it as a good movie on its own merits, stocked as it is with cardboard cutout characters and a barely coherent plot, but it's miles more interesting than the last Alien vs. Predator film and fans of the Alien and Predator film series may find it so strangely reference-heavy as to be entertaining on at least one level. This is a movie that starts out with the premise of 'Several Aliens and a Predator invade a small town' but ends up as a partial rehash of Aliens, complete with undisguised Ripley and Newt clones trying to escape an impending nuclear explosion via air transport and military guys getting picked off one at a time. It references entire shot sequences from Predator and a major plot device of Predator 2. It even references Yutani (!) in such a way that if you don't know what that is, you won't have a clue what's happening in the scene.
The first five minutes of the film that were released online before opening weekend turn out to be a poorly edited version of the film's first ten minutes -- that 'plot stuff' is trimmed down considerably -- and we get to see an Alien-infested Predator ship crash into the woodsy hills of Colorado while a father and son on a hunting trip look on in wonder (wouldn't you?) Pretty soon Dad's arm is being melted off by Alien acid blood and Junior has a face-hugger attached to his face, in a nice bit of non-family friendly killing. The main idea of the film will be to have one Predator arrive in Colorado to face off against several Aliens. It's a good choice, since the Predator is easily humanized, but once that decision has been made, why do the Strauses devote so much of the film to setting up bland human interactions? The title isn't Aliens vs. Predator vs. Humans, after all. If the film was truly brave, it would eschew a human perspective all-together, and simply deliver what the title promises.