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  Publicity Stills of "Alien Vs Predator 2"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Director: Greg Strause & Colin Strause
Cast: John Ortiz, Steven Pasquale, Johnny Lewis, Reiko Aylesworth, Shareeka Epps
RunTime: 1 hr 34 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)
Official Website: www.avp-r.com

Opening Day: 1 January 2008


In this follow-up to the worldwide hit ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, the iconic monsters from two of the scariest film franchises ever, wage war in the tranquil town of Gunnison, CO. A young sheriff, his ex-con best friend and a female soldier lead an ensemble of desperate townspeople when Aliens, a Predator "cleaner,” and a deadly new threat do battle.

Movie Review:

The bar is set so low on “Aliens vs. Predator 2” that it is staggering to imagine how it fell short of it. The first film was a guilty pleasure at best, a cathartic release for fans of the respective franchises, and a need for novelty fulfilled. With that need no longer present, the sequel treads the same ground, feebly ups the stakes, reduces the sense of claustrophobic doom from transposing the confrontations from pyramid to a darkened Colorado town, and increases the number of these ugly bags of mostly water for the butchering. It’s hard to think of a sadder fate for these terrifying extraterrestrials from “Aliens” and “Predator” than being reposed to the ignominy of gutter monsters strung up for ostensibly, yet another slasher film that’s not actually good even on its own merits as a genre entry.

The intergalactic Rastafarian hunter once again wears the mantle of the hybrid franchise’s antihero, a quickly humanised character as evinced in the closing scenes (that almost immediately segues into the sequel’s opening scenes) with Sanaa Lathan in the previous film. It is also perhaps the best feature of the entire series considering that it lets this particular monster actually retain some measure of dignity as opposed to its counterpart’s reduction into cartoonishly bloodthirsty critters with acid blood that squawk and hiss interminably. As the title of the film now clearly adds, there are Aliens versus a single sluggish Predator, making it the filmmaker’s choice for which of these creatures is the most worthy contestant in this battle royale. There’s a fair point to be made that given the franchise’s emphasis on its titular outlanders that the only purpose a sequel could have served would have been to take the series into darker, riskier and more imaginative territory by eliminating the presence of these annoyingly puny meatbags we call human beings altogether. Unfortunately, its idea of reinvention is to create a literal hybrid of the creatures into a Predalien/Alienator sort of colony queen.

If there’s something good to be extrapolated from this incarnation of this bartardisation of the franchises, it would be that it serves as a reminder that CGI just isn’t all that. The directors – the Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg) – are visual effects specialists (with a resume that is admittedly pretty impressive), making their feature film directorial debut, use the tried and tested man-in-monster-suit approach that is both gory and effectively organic to the Predator’s filmic origins. Their appointment does point to the priority undertaken in the film and this gamble shows them up in unflatteringly aspects as well. Basic filmmaking techniques are taken for granted here when the film consistently displays abnormally dim lighting, erratic cuts during crucial fight scenes and a lack of spatial awareness.

“Aliens vs. Predator 2” starts middling soon after a promising enough start. It’s the sort of film that holds a big bag of promise but never seems to reach in to deliver just a glimmer of it. There are few scenes of actual terror (including one set in a hospital that once again could have really pushed the film into a truly dark and memorable place), excitement and decent chuckles. Its only real horror is turning these icons of horror into trashy minstrels.

Movie Rating:

(Doesn’t live up to the first film’s intrinsic thrills, lacklustre creatures and even dumber humans)

Review by Justin Deimen

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