"You're in over your head, Eugene." – The town coroner
You would think that an Aliens vs. Predator movie would be easy to make. Pick a scenic location, get a group of interesting characters, add alien beasties, stir and serve.
AvP showed us it's not as easy as it looks. There have to be characters that we can care about; otherwise it's no big deal when they become Monster Chow. There has to be enough plot to keep things moving without big holes. When the creatures tussle, it should be fun, exciting or scary. The first one failed on most of those points. Sadly, AvP: Requiem isn't much better.
In this one, a Predator / Alien combo and face huggers crash a ship and set up a colony in a small town.
This ship's distress signal reaches the Predator homeworld and a Predator is sent to clean up the mess. The very few minutes on the Predator planet, watching this guy gear up for the hunt, is pretty cool, and one of the few highlights.
Our human characters are about as bland as you can get. There's Dallas, a con just back home after serving time, Kelly, a soldier just home from Iraq and her daughter Molly (Ariel "Invasion" Gade). There's Dallas' buddy, Sheriff Eugene; the gal Dallas' brother has the hots for; her ex, and other small town folk that have the depth of "homeless guy" and "friendly waitress."
This means we're not given a reason to care about these people, so there's no tension or fear for them when the Aliens or Predator attacks.
The problem with the setup is the Predators know there's some new hybrid creature on the loose, along with other facehuggers, and they only send one Predator. Mind you, it's the Predator version of Schwarzenegger. But it still feels wrong they'd only send one guy.
The dialogue is weak, characters make the standard stupid decisions ("Let's go into the hospital, even with all the dead bodies and wrecked cars outside!").
It borrows heavily from the earlier Predator and Alien movies. In some places, it's a nice homage to the earlier flicks, like the Predator using its funky first aid kit. But it sometimes borrows so strongly that it feels like you're watching Aliens, then Predator, then back. It never becomes its own PredAlien.
It has dark colored monsters fighting other dark colored monsters monsters in the dark, and sometimes in the rain-soaked night.
It's impossible to enjoy some of the fights, because you can't see what the hell is going on. I paid my cash to watch Predators and Aliens kill each other, with people caught in the middle, not to figure out which shadow is which.
The movie has some good points. There's the glimpse of the Predator homeworld, and a huge human body count. The Predator has some nifty new toys. The PredAlien has an interesting ability. When you can tell what's going on, the action's fun.
AvP:R isn't fantastic. I can't recommend you see it in the theatre, but it'll be worth a rental when it hits DVD. As Joe Crowe said on the RevSF boards, it has 100% more Predators and Aliens than any other movie out right now, which makes it better than all those silly "family" Christmas movies your relatives will want to see.