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Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

Genre: Last drop squeezed of horror franchise

The pitch: The residents of a sleepy Colorado town become trapped in a grudge match between the slimy, insectlike creatures from the Alien movies and a dreadlocked, mandibled hunter from the Predator movies.

Money shots: An Alien/Predator hybrid nicknamed the "PredAlien" makes for a spiffy new monster. The Predator explodes up through the town's main street in pursuit of its prey. The otherworldly combatants stalk each other on a high catwalk. At the end, the Predator puts down its weapons (including a big damn whip) for some claw-to-claw combat.

Body count: Nearly 20 human beings (and more offscreen), four Predators and dozens of Aliens. The film makes up for the quality of its characters with the gory quantity of their demises, but loses goodwill by putting children, pregnant women and a maternity ward of infants in jeopardy. Boo!

Flesh factor: Despite the R rating (up a notch from the previous film's PG-13 label) a romantic late-night swim features no actual nudity, but Kristen Hager's skivvies are skimpy enough to be the next best thing.

Worst line: "That's crazy. The government doesn't lie to people." It gets a laugh.

Best bad line: "Do you know what it would take to do this? For a man to skin a human being?" It's presumably a rhetorical question from the local coroner.

Pop references: The last scene in 2004's Alien vs. Predator provides the first scene here. A cryptic scene near the end ties the film back to the evil corporation of the early Alien movies. The leading man is named Dallas Howard (Steve Pasquale), which might be a reference to actress Bryce Dallas Howard, but I'm not sure why.

Better than the previous one?: It's way better than Alien vs. Predator, which offered a ton of contrived exposition but still looked like a wannabe video game. Requiem doesn't even come close to being in the league of the original, classic Alien and Aliens, though.

The bottom line: Directed with a fast pace and moody atmosphere by Colin and Greg Strause, Requiem is nearly the same movie as Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror from Grindhouse, only without the juvenile humor (or any humor to speak of). Still, the most imaginative parts draw from creature mythos and designs that are more than 20 years old, suggesting that the Alien movies don't adapt nearly as efficiently as their namesake. 3 stars

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