Shower Power: The Predalien pours on the violence.

If nothing else, credit the makers of Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem for realizing that any reference to the central storyline of 2004’s laughable Alien vs. Predator was best forgotten. Instead, screenwriter Shane Salerno wisely picks up exactly where the first film’s cliffhanger finale left off. Having collected the remains of their fallen comrade—as well as a few alien “facehuggers” for good measure—a group of Predators blasts off into space. Before they can clear Earth’s orbit, however, a Predator-Alien hybrid (officially dubbed the “Predalien”) bursts forth from the chest of the Predator corpse and wreaks havoc on the ship, causing it to crash-land in a small Colorado town. The Predalien and surviving facehuggers quickly begin impregnating half the population, a new Predator warrior is dispatched from his home world to clean up the mess, and a small band of Earth folk—led by recent ex-con Dallas (Steven Pasquale), Iraq War vet Kelly (Reiko Aylesworth), and local sheriff Morales (John Ortiz)—gather what firepower they can to survive long enough for the military to either rescue them or, you know, blow the whole infested town to smithereens. That’s not much of a plot, but co-directors Colin and Greg Strause know that plot isn’t what the audience is paying for, so they get straight to the killing, starting with the brutal impregnation of a father-son hunting party (yes, the kid gets it, too) and leading up to a citywide free-for-all. In true sci-fi/comic-nerd style, the Strauses include plenty of Alien and Predator references that even the most casual fans of each franchise will recognize: Pasquale’s Dallas is named after Tom Skerritt’s character in the original Alien; late in the film, Dallas yells for his friends to “get to the chopper” (one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most-quoted lines in Predator). When it comes to the action, however, the Strauses often play too heavily to their audience’s expectations: Sure, anyone who’s seen these films knows there’ll be baby aliens bursting through ribcages, slime-dripping alien mandibles piercing human skulls, and at least one Predator inevitably removing his face mask for a final confrontation. But such a heavy repetition of recycled shots and themes makes Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem feel so predictable it’s distracting. And despite having such a wide-open playing field, most of the film’s action takes place in closed-off areas (sewers, a sporting-goods store, a hospital) in a series of dimly lit and zoomed-in sequences that will often leave you wondering who, exactly, is attacking whom. Not that it matters: By the time the military finally gets around to taking care of business, you’ll likely have grown weary of the hissing xenomorph’s one-dimensional attack, the Predator’s mano a mano machismo, and the humans’ mind-boggling propensity to make the worst decisions every step of the way.