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Alien vs. Predator 2

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*WARNING: Spoilers and a little bitterness aplenty*

There was a reason this film was named "Requiem"

To begin with, I am something of a fan of monster movies. Essentially, I love monsters. The more horrible the better. Nothing works better to concrete that which is evil than the type of personification a monster can bring. When I write stories, most of my villains are not only inhuman, but monstrous in form. As far as movie monsters go, I have to say one of my favorites of all time has to be the xenomorphs from the ALIENS franchise. Inhuman, horrible, unstoppable and sinister, the xenomorphs are evil in a way that is both subtle and explicit, and disturbing in the extreme.

I will say that I was not disappointed with the first AVP movie. I've seen it harshly criticized by fans, but I didn't think it was bad for what was essentially a popcorn battle fantasy. In fact, using those standards, it was rather good.

Aliens vs Predator 2: Requiem, did not, in any way, come close to such tepid praise.

To begin with, this movie could have just as easily been called Aliens vs. Predator: Laughing at Genocide! or Aliens vs Predator: Its only mildly disgusting!. Probably the only things that saved this movie from getting such titles is that Requiem (For two franchises) was a far shorter expression of the essential reality of this film.

To begin, for those who do not know, this is the only ALIENS film to not take place in an explicit sci-fi setting. its no longer a rag tag team of mercenary, prisoners, or space Marines fighting the monsters, stranded alone in some derelict ship or ancient temple. This is your uncle Ned's arm that just got ripped off. Your nephew Jim who just had an alien rip its way through his chest. That's your family doctor who had his skull blasted open.

Since a radically different cast was in order, so was a radically different set of interpersonal aesthetics. Unfortunately, the screen-writers simply borrowed its characters from another branch of horror, the teen slasher. The characters are so insipid and generic, I can't even remember their names. In fact, I don't think they had any. There is the dorky kid, the hot blonde who really likes the dorky kid, the bully of an ex-boyfriend, the cop... The only character with any shred of, well, character, is the dorky kid's brother, fresh back from prison.

The characters are so poor and flat, you feel no empathy towards them. Which is rather good, because most of them die rather pointlessly at random intervals, almost for laughs. The "scares" this film throws up alternate between unrepentant gore, and "shocks" that are so horribly trite, you laugh. There is one scene, in which a girl spots an alien looking at her through the window via the use of a pair of night-vision goggles. She screams that there is, predictably, a monster out there. Her parents come in, with the father smiling kindly. "There's no monsters out there." He says, kindly, as he turns his flashlight out into the darkness of the window.

He had about half a second to react before a xenomorph launched itself through the window, pins him, and then proceeds to use its proboscis to pound his face it a horrible screaming crushed-cherry red mush.

I laughed. Hard.

The execution was so poor, I saw the gag, for that is what it was, a mile away. In fact, the instant I saw the girl go to the window, I could have written the script word for word. There is little suspense to be seen. A much better treatment of this scene might have been to have the alien either sneak inside while the parents tried to comfort the child, or force entry after they left. These scenes, if treated with proper suspenseful effect a'la the early ALIEN movies, could have been truly frightening. As it was, they are, quite literally, laughable.

This though, underlines another point. The xnomorphs just don't act like they should. In the earlier movies, the aliens had three primary motivations for ALL of their actions; 1) Establish a Hive 2) Gather resources for the Hive 3) Defend/Assist the Hive/Queen. They sneak and attack en masse using chaos and fear. A queen never makes an appearance in the movie (we shall get to this later), and the drones only begin to construct a hive in the last ten minutes. Instead of acting like a race of viciously intelligent hive insects, the xenomorphs of AVP2 run around Your-town America gleefully and nihilistically murdering all of the people meant to stand as cyphers for your relatives. In fact, there is only one scene in which you witness a xenomorph actually eating its kill. Most victims get a brutal proboscis to the skull, and are left to bleed out of the gaping hole in their skulls and twitch to death.

At least, the lucky ones do.

Apparently an alien born from a predator has the ability to impregnate other beings with chest-burster larva without the need of the iconic face huggers. This development felt like an ad-hoc adjustment made when the screen-writers realized they had only one Predalien and four face huggers and lacked the time (or skill) to write an actual queen into the plot. While this ability is hinted at throughout the movie, it is only revealed when the Predalien murders a hospital doctor and proceeds to rape a maternity ward full of pregnant women.

...

Yes, you read that right.

The Predalien personally rapes a maternity ward full of pregnant women, the first of which goes into labor just before the act!

My jaw dropped at the scene. Not because it was particularly shocking or scary, but because it was done without a hint of taste or art. While such a scene certainly had potentially to be a gruesome and horrifying scene, this is a series famous for the first movie (ALIEN) driving its spectators to vomit in the stands, the utterly senseless nature of the portrayal leaves the viewer with only a very empty feeling of mild disbelief. The same manner of feeling you get when your idiot friend calls you at three a.m. for bail. Again.

I feel like I should be outraged by what can only be a blatant attempt to shock me, but I don't. I can only shrug my shoulders.

Now, while one may note that at length I have spent much time attacking the Alien half of the movie, fear not, I have some things to say about the Predator. The most important thing about AVP2's sole predator is simply this; he was a non-entity. Yes, certainly he was there for a huge amount of screen-time, hacking his way through the black shelled xenomorph ranks. The problem is though, that when put against the quasi-honorable jungle hunter Predators from Predator and AVP, or the omnicidal maniac predator from Predator 2, this predator feels like... a man in an incredibly well-made predator costume that was not paid nearly enough to try and act. Like the other anthropomorphic members of the cast, the Predator fell short as a flat, irrational, and unmentionable waste of time. The predator goes to great trouble to hide its footprints, including destroying xenomorph corpses with some sort of universal bio-solvent, but then kills a cop for looking at it the wrong way and then skins him, leaving him hanging from a tree for all to see.

Why?

The final battle of the movie, between the Predalien and Predator, was a huge let down. The two, who are nearly impossible to tell apart in the rain and gloom, stare each other down for a few seconds, violently disembowel each other in the next five, and they die still trying to rip each others faces off as the government drops a nuclear weapon on the town in an attempt to keep the aliens infestation from spreading.

Most logical scene in the entire movie.

The main characters (who somehow escaped a nuclear blast in a helicopter) find themselves alone and stranded in the mountains. They sit there for a short time, before the bushes begin to shake ominously. Somehow three shaking bushes materialize into about fifty U.S. marines (What were fifty U.S. marines doing on a mountainside a few miles away from a nuclear blast zone?). The lead marine orders the older brother to drop his gun (which he took, interestingly, from the Predator). What follows is the most idiot bit of dialogue I have seen in a while.

*tense* "You destroyed my town..."

*aims rifle* "I was only following orders..."

*perfectly calm* "Oh, okay then, never mind. Perfectly acceptable. My little brother needs some medical help, o.k.? *drops gun*

(Note; some these lines were somewhat paraphrased for the sake of satire, but the scene actually went down like. I kid you not.)

The pacing in the movie was terrible. There was no sense of time or suspense. What you know actually took three days feels as if it took the exact two hours and some-odd minutes it took you to sit through the movie. While a good movie draws you in, drags you along in time with it. AVP2 does not. Watching AVP2 is no different than watching someone play a Grand Theft Auto game, badly. Rather incoherent and senseless violence topped with the kind of laughter only an idiot can bring. I would recommend just buying the Grand Theft Auto game instead. That, at least, could be fun if you did it right.

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