Too dark to see any of the overwhelming action? Full of choppy cuts? An Alien with dreadlocks? And this is supposed to be a return to the roots of the Alien so deftly planted by Ridley Scott and James Cameron? Last time I checked, Sigourney Weaver never fought a Rastafarian Alien queen. I shot the sher-iff. . . .But I didn’t shoot the A-li-en. . . .

Now, I have to admit I have a penchant for watching rowdy alien species bashing each others’ faces in. I can even handle the gratuitous use of humans as sharpening tools. What’s more, I can deal with corny stories placing these two storied franchises together on Earth in locations that seem to have nothing in common with their histories’ well-established climatic/geographic preferences (i.e. warm climates or on another planet).

What are hard to deal with are shadows that interfere with the possibly interesting action sequences (aka the Eyes Wide Shut Effect or EWSE), poorly scripted and aimless dialogue, and the fact that these movies look nothing like the originals.

Oh, and did I mention that they put dreadlocks on an Alien? Yeah I can’t believe it either.

So check it. The movie picks up exactly where the first one left off. An Alien/Predator pimp pops out of a dead Predator’s belly. It deads the ship somewhere in Colorado (specifics not important, because it’s about to be populated by hundreds of Aliens, yo) but before the last Predator on the ship gets f*cked up, he throws a text message to his buddy hangin’ out on in the United States of Predation.

His homie gets all “You gotta be sh*ttin’ me, dogg,” and hops on his crotch-rocket headed to Earth to throw down with these bitches killin’ his crew. Oh it’s head bussin’ time, bro. This new Predator pimp lays his sh*t down on these Alien bitches for the next hour and a half. Then he peaces out because of a human nuke. Take that suckas!

I’m not a gangsta, you say? I can’t talk like that? Really? Sorry. I guess I was under the delusion that if you can put dreads on an Alien and call it a return to the classic roots of each series, that I could talk like a G and say that I’m an original gangsta. My bad…

That said, AVP:R isn’t an awful movie, especially not by today’s standard of awful. The biggest problems with it are the writing, directing, acting, and, to various degrees, the cinematography. Jeez. Now that I think about it, it was awful.

The direction, orchestrated by the duo presumptively calling themselves The Brothers Strause, is soggy and and riddled with holes (like a bad cheese in more ways than one). Where there should be some light so we can see what’s going on, there isn’t. When there should be an absence of light, there’s too much. All this leads to incredibly small amounts of tension. Without tension, there’s not payoff when things go bang, snarl and screech. You get the idea.

But more importantly, it seems as though the SFX gurus pretending to direct forgot that if you’re going to focus on human characters, some time should be spent developing them. These characters, even for being basic and cliche, seem to have no direction in which to head. They’re meat; and that might be fine if more attention had been paid to the aforementioned directorial problems.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the writing or acting that can’t be weened from the idea that the movie-goer is about to see a movie called Aliens Versus Predator: Requiem. They’re both stale and generic, yet with less flair than most of today’s standardized sh*t. The only character that seemed to have any promise was the Ellen Ripley wannabe but that idea is dropped within the first 20 minutes of the movie.

I have to give props to the “Brothers” about one thing. They went against a couple different conventions and also showed some creative ingenuity in a handful of scattered sequences. Let’s just say you’re not safe in this movie, even if you’re a child or a pregnant woman. And yes, Predators can build more than just weapons that you stab, shoot or throw with.

Too bad that line of thought didn’t extend throughout the entire movie.

* 1/2 Jessicas out of 4. Thank God for the one gratuitous c*ck-tease scene of a beautiful Kristen Hager stripping down to her skivvies for a late-night dip.

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