Fans of the ‘Alien vs Predator’ sub-franchise will be relieved to learn that Colin and Greg Strause’s ‘AVPR’ is only nominally a sequel to Paul WS Anderson’s (un)original ‘AVP – Alien vs Predator’. Although it picks up where ‘AVP’ left off, this is not a toned-down futuristic action movie, but a gory sci-fi/horror film featuring new incarnations of the extra-terrestrial monsters. Sadly, this semi-sequel is even more spasmodic, boring and incoherent.
After a hybrid Predator-cum-Alien runs amok on a Predator spaceship, it crash-lands near a small American town. As the cross-fertilised ‘Predalien’ slimes its way through the sewers, a battle-scarred Predator is sent to clean up the mess. Caught in the cross-fire between the alien antagonists are the disposable, wooden townsfolk – played by second-string actors from TV shows such as ‘24’, ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘ER’ – whose sole function is to run around like headless chickens until they are gruesomely dispatched. The sheriff is ineffectual, so hopes rest with ex-con Dallas (Steve Pasquale), his semi-delinquent brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis), and an aggressively maternal Iraq War veteran, Kelly (Reiko Aylesworth) – a poor substitute for Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley.
Scriptwriter Shane Salerno’s dialogue is unspeakable, the visceral horror all too familiar, and the ideas distinctly second-hand. Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, who shot the original ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ and the recent re-make, occasionally generates scares by hiding the creatures in dark shadows. But the visual effects-trained Strause brothers know that it’s all about the last waltz. So the mayhem inevitably culminates in a dance of death featuring the mutant, dreadlocked Predalien and a leaner, smarter Predator.