While the rest of you were, I hope, getting happily drunk with friends and/or family yesterday, I was "enjoying" the two-hot-dog special at the Block (no other food places were open on Christmas at 11 p.m.), watching ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (which I will henceforth refer to as AVP2, as the AMC's marquee did). A more conventional capsule review of the movie will appear next week in the paper (UPDATE: It's online NOW), and probably tomorrow on various Village Voice Media websites, but with the short word limits imposed by such things, it's hard to tell the fans what they really want to know. So without further ado, I give you the sci-fi nerd Q&A version, anticipating the queries of the mildly curious.
Is it as bad as the first AVP? I liked both okay, but this one is definitely not superior in toto.
"In toto"? Explain, please. Okay -- the Predator in this one is way more kickass than any in AVP1, even though he's played by the same guy, Ian Whyte. Unfortunately, there's no-one in the human cast as cool as Lance Henriksen or Colin Salmon, which brings the average score right back down.
What's a "requiem"? A mass for the dead. Which this franchise probably will be soon, for a few years anyway.
Why is this movie called "requiem"? I have no idea.
Does the movie advance the overall storyline of the ALIEN and PREDATOR movies in any significant way? Only in the very last scene.
Does it at least refer to existing continuity before that? Sorta. One of the main characters is named Dallas, like Tom Skerritt in the first ALIEN. And at one point, he yells out "Get to the chopper!" which doesn't sound as cool when it isn't being uttered by Schwarzenegger.
What about that new hybrid creature? How'd that happen? ALIEN 3 and the early '90s Alien toy line for kids advanced the idea that Aliens take on some characteristics of the host creature, but for some reason the Predator DNA is way more dominant than that of any other host, so the Predalien has dreadlocks and the obsecene-looking mandibles. Also, it has the characteristics of its own facehuggers -- it can lay multiple chestbusters in a victim's stomach by means of a very nasty French kiss. The chestbusters, however, don't have the dreads or vagina-mouths.
Whaaa? How do they explain that? They don't. And it adds nothing to the story, either. So there.
Who's in this movie? Nobody you know. Except that one chick who plays Dale Arden on the terrible new Flash Gordon TV show, the one that doesn't have rocket-ships, Hawkmen, or a bald-and-goateed Ming.
Is there female nudity? Only by corpses.
Is there any kind of metaphor or social commentary? Not exactly -- this movie's idea of subtlety is to have the Predalien attack a maternity ward, to show that all kinds of animals breed, I guess.
Any weird inconsistencies? The Aliens only seem to bleed acid when it's convenient for the plot. The Predalien manages to turn the aforementioned maternity ward into a Giger-esque hive pretty damn quick. And the Predator tries to dispose of all Alien "evidence" using a blue acid, but even though it melts stuff, there's still a blood-and-guts stain left over that would probably have DNA traces in it.
So what's good? This Predator is the badass of all Predators, with the best arsenal and fighting style, and there are long sequences with no dialogue that follow just him.
What's bad? Everything else.
Where does this movie rank in the grand pantheon of Alien and Predator movies? Next to last. It's still better than ALIEN RESURRECTION. In toto, of course.