Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Babylon A.D.

Title: Babylon A.D. (2008)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller
Rating: PG-13 for violence, action, language, sexuality (there is an unrated version also)
Length of Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (unrated version is 101 minutes)

What is it about?: This is a futuristic story about Toorop (Vin Diesel), a mercenary, who accepts the high-risk job of safely escorting a girl and her nun-guardian from Mongolia to America. He is interested only in delivering the "package" and returning to his home in America, where he has been unable to visit since he was placed on the terrorist list. After receiving a passport injected directly into his neck, Toorop, Aurora (Melanie Thierry), and Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh from "Memoirs of a Geisha") set out on this journey.

As they escape near-death experiences, the girl's irrational behavior and encounters with a group of mercenaries, who claim to be sent by Aurora's supposedly dead father, begin to spark questions within Toorop about Aurora's significance. He begins to wonder if she's carrying a virus, in which case, he would have to kill her.

Toorop goes from being all about business (the girl is just a delivery package) and asking no questions to having a conscience that will drive him to save Aurora at all costs, especially when he discovers what kind of "virus" she is carrying. Toorop completes his mission, but finds that genetic experimentation makes Aurora the key to a religious cult's existence and survival.

This movie is based on Maurice Dantec's novel Babylon Babies.

My Review: 2/5 stars... and that saddens me. I REALLY wanted to like this movie. I loved Vin Diesel and the movie plots in "Pitch Black" and "Chronicles of Riddick". Since "Babylon A.D." looked like it would be similar in action, fantasy, and adventure, and the return of a seemingly reticent actor, I was looking forward to seeing it. Boy, was I wrong... and terribly disappointed to say, "I did not like this movie".

The two stars are given for the choppy, but necessary-to-further-the-story action scenes, Vin Diesel's hypnotically rough and sexy voice, and the futuristic gadgets and environmental imagery.

Unfortunately, the plot was undeveloped and nonsensical. Yes, I am aware that sci-fi/ fantasy movies are afforded some liberties that other genres are not, but it doesn't matter here-- it still just does not work. I'm not sure if the director did not relay the writer's main points of the movie or if the writer took a vacation during the script's development.

This whole movie is centralized around one girl and her safety, yet we, as the viewers, are never compelled to feel anything for her. In fact, for much of the movie, I found her annoying and would not have minded if she disappeared throughout the duration of the movie. This silly little victim needs more character development if we are to care about her at all. The explanations given for her behavior are not sufficient to justify an entire movie dedicated to her existence. At one point, she asked, "You're risking your life for me. Why?" I wanted to know the same thing! Diesel's answer was not convincing enough for me.

Don't be fooled by the uncut version's "raw and uncut" marketing strategy. The extended running scenes and additional swear words add nothing to the story. Speaking of adding nothing to the story-- the latitude and longitude coordinates throughout the story were pointless. Simply naming "Russia", "New York City", and "Mongolia" would have been sufficient enough to give the location. While I enjoyed seeing Diesel shirtless, this part presented another totally pointless and out-of-the-blue scene.

My recommendation: I do not recommend this movie. Not even the welcomed performances from Charlotte Rampling (from "Swimming Pool" and "Basic Instinct 2") and Lambert Wilson (Merovingian from "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions") could save it. If you're in the mood for an action movie and love Diesel, watch "Chronicles of Riddick" or "XXX" instead. If you're interested in a futuristic sci-fi movie showcasing Diesel, watch "Pitch Black". However, if you are drawn to the synopsis of "Babylon A.D.", watch this movie for yourself and decide.


  1. Sci Fi is hard to watch.
    but why not give us your impressions of that handsome Gentleman who played the lead. I can't remember his name, but he was the commander.

    I think he was Avery Brooks - the shakesperean accent just sticks in my head.

    Like My Bwoy Thalmus Rasullahla; Lawd Have Mercy, who cares that he was a vampire.
    that william marshall - whew !

    these are some hot potatoes here, and they were in those b-rated sci fi horror style flicks.

    so will you be moving your entrecard widget here instead ? you know you can do that.
    if you need help, just let me know.

    Cheers to the 3 D's and I like This Blog

  2. Re, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    I think you may be referring to a different movie. Vin Diesel's the lead in this one and Avery Brooks is nowhere to be found here.

    Yes, ma'am. I plan to add the Entrecard widget. I have to have a minimum of 5 posts first though. That's what I'm working on now.

    C'mon back after you see Babylon A.D. and tell me what you think.


  3. I am not one of those that think the rules are different for science fiction and fantasy. Yes, the rules of physics as we know it can change, but you must still have a good story and good characters.

    I think I'll take your advice. I'm far less forgiving to movies that fail to meet their potential.