Thursday, 22 September 2011

Alien Versus Predator Redemption (Film Review)

Whenever an AvP film is mentioned on the interwebs, you’re bound to see one of two reactions: apathy or seething hatred. The first film by the infamous Paul W. S. Anderson was a popcorn flick which didn’t stick to the established canon but was more mediocre than outright bad. Requiem was a steaming pile of feces which got every single last possible thing wrong with directors apparently mistaking the complaints of the first film for suggestions for their one.
In both there was too much bland dialogue, too much stupidity, too little atmosphere, too much incompetence from the Predators and too many annoying human characters.

After these betrayals people cried out for an installment which actually tried to stick to the canon. Thankfully one man answered the call. In 2010 a fan of both the Predator and Aliens franchises, Alex A. Popov, took time, effort and $500 dollars to try and make a good fan film with the cinematic horrors killing one another. The result was the aptly named Alien vs Predator Redemption.

The plot this time is vastly different from the two official films, being set into the far future of the Aliens franchise. The film opens up on the decommissioned USS Sulaco being used as a genetic research station, in a video message a scientist explains they have retrieved a still warm, almost intact, body of a predator from a wrecked spacecraft. Not long after arrival a chestburster erupts from the corpse and contact is lost with the ship.
The message is intercepted by the predators and one of their hunters is dispatched to the Sulaco.

Being a low budget one man project this is by no means a perfect film. It’s only twenty-two minutes long film and the CGI is definitely below today’s cinematic standards. Matching Knights of the Old Republic’s cutscenes in terms of graphical quality at the best of times.
Unlike Damnatus, Redemption uses CGI for everything but its actors and costumes so it’s hard not to notice you’re watching someone fighting in front of a green screen.
The film also takes quite a while to get going with the first half depicting the buildup and the predator being ordered to respond to the incident on the Sulaco. These are the only complaints worth making.

Unlike the two official films Redemption has almost no dialogue or humans in it, with the focus squarely being placed on the titular antagonists. The predators are smart, professional, tough, and don’t make mistakes. The aliens are numerous but always go down fighting hard and, unlike Requiem, the predalien does far more than just mouth rape infants.
The backgrounds are well designed with some throwbacks to showing up as the protagonist goes through the seemingly deserted Sulaco such as power loaders and dropships. The guns use the classic pulse rifle sounds, the ship looks suitably industrial and the homemade non-CGI predator costume looks exactly like something out of the films.

There’s some good atmospheric buildup when the protagonist first boards the Sulaco, cutting his way in and cautiously advancing through the ship. There’s very little lighting and the minimalistic editing keeps you looking about at the screen expecting to see something stalking him in the background or leap out at any moment.

Despite my comments about the CGI and some disjointed editing, the brawls are very entertaining with aliens being taken out in enjoyable brutal ways. The conflicts also keep escalating with more formidable enemies turning up until the film’s explosive conclusion. It’s definitely the highlight of the film and considering the money spent on it the delivery is exceptionally good.

This is by no means another Damnatus, but it’s definitely the sort of thing fans have been wanting for years. For anyone disappointed with the two AvP films or a fan of the franchises, give this one a shot. It’s easy to find via google searches and it’s a fun way to kill some time.


Alien, Predator and Alien Versus Predator all related characters and media are owned by 20th Century Fox.

Alien vs Predator Redemption was created by Alex Popov.

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