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It is the not-too-distant future. Thousands of satellites scan observe and monitor our every move. Much of the planet is a war zone the rest a collection of wretched way stations teeming megalopolises and vast wastelands punctuated by areas left radioactive from nuclear meltdowns. Studio: Tcfhe Release Date: 01/06/2009 Starring: Vin Disesel Gerard Depardieu Run time: 90 minutes Rating: Pg13 Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Beyond Babylon A.D.
Stills from Babylon A.D. (Click for larger image)
- "Save the planet. What for? And from what? From ourselves?"
"If you get caught between the Moon and New York City
The best that you can do ......
The best that you can do is fall in love"
(Christopher Cross "Arthur's Theme")
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
Time: Near future
1. Mobster (Gerard Depardieu) hires mercenary (Vin Diesel) to transport girl named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from Eastern Europe to New York
2. Girl comes with chaperone (Michelle Yeoh), a kung fu fightin' nun of the Noelite order.
3. Traveling proves to be even more stressful and painful in the near future
4. There's something about Aurora
5. Scientist (Lambert Wilson) and High Priestess (Charlotte Rampling) aren't nominated for any parenting awards (and aren't likely to win any kind of awards for this movie)
6. Plot somehow manages to be simplistic and convoluted at the same time
7. Multiple fight scenes, car chases and explosions occur, but are presented with such frenetic activity that you can't really tell what's going on.
8. Movie ends, not with a cliff-hanger, but with a jaw-dropper
This is a futuristic, apocalyptic and violent movie, with a mercenary named Thoorop (Diesel) hired to smuggle a young woman named Aurora into the United States, to New York. We learn that Aurora has a lot of secrets hidden under her skin, and that there are opposing factions who are trying to get their hands on her. Thoorop spends the trip trying to protect Aurora from people who've never heard of not shooting the messenger, and eventually decides to change the rules a little.
Diesel plays his usual role as the strong mostly silent type, growling out his lines as if through a mouthful of broken glass. The other actors seem mostly shell-shocked, wondering how they got themselves into this, and making mental notes to ignore casting calls in the unlikely event of a sequel.
There's enough action to keep your interest, and the twist will at least make you say "Huh??" - but overall I'd have to say that this movie puts the "babble" in "Babylon"
Babble: v. intr.
To utter a meaningless confusion of words or sounds
Rated: 2.5 stars
Amanda Richards, October 11, 2008
- Uncut still not good
I thought the theatrical version was a mess, but I decided to give the director's uncut version a chance. It is a little better, but the movie just suffers from being so mediocre. Vin is an action hero who can act fairly well. For the most part he seemed rather stiff in the part, and the story and ending just seemed lame. This is certainly no modern day Blade Runner. I gave this one two chances and that is it. ...more info
- What happened to the quality Sci-Fi movies?
Maybe it was the fact that the movie did not meet my expectations, or maybe it was the fact that I wanted to see more in a Vin Diesel Sci-fi movie (like Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black), or in a action/adventure thriller (like XXX). Whatever the reason, I was very disappointed in Babylon A.D. You had everything that should have made this a fantastic movie...decent actors, a plot with potential and great special effects, but you didn't have a plot that was well executed and nothing really original. There were several bites off of other sci-fi movies, with no real twists or variations. And at the end of the movie, I just felt a little cheated.
Toorop (Vin Diesel) has been asked to deliver Arora and her guardian/protector, Neolite (Yeoh) from a convent to the US. Apparently the younger woman has something that everyone wants and what it is you have to sit thru several brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, sizzling special effects to find out. However, although you will find yourself mildly amused and entertained, you will also find yourself looking at the person next to you and saying, "did I miss something?" or "did I fall asleep"? Perhaps better plot execution would have made this movie more appealing to the average Sci-Fi lover.
- Liked it
I liked it, was different. A little chezzy but I might watch it again some time not likely lol....more info
- Not good
Vin Diesel turns out yet another of his stone-faced performances in this sci-fi futuristic flick about a miracle child, who'll supposedly save the world. I know, it reminded me too of "Children of Men", though the plot there was a little better explained and easier to follow, and made more sense.
Babylon A.D. is a half-hearted attempt at making a sci-fi movie, but sadly the creators forgot the cardinal rules of sci-fi:
- make the plot EITHER a natural extension of the present, OR totally deviated from the present
- explain the concept of what makes up the sci-fi component in the movie to the audience so that you (can) create a following
Neither of these happens. It's not explained how the plot begins, it is not explained who is Aurora or how did she become who she is (until very late into the movie), and worst of all, what is expected to happen after the movie storyline ends, is simply absent!
Another defining aspect of a good sci-fi flick is the action sequences. This is something one would have expected from Vin Diesel too. However, all the action stunts in the movie suffer from an overdose of editing, and too fast camera movements. There is no actual fight sequence. You have to stare unblinkingly to follow what is happening, and after 5 minutes, realize that nothing much happened anyway!
Michelle Yeoh is wasted in her role...
Overall Rating: 1.5 / 5 (if only for the attempt!)...more info
- A MUST for Vin Diesel fans
Very cool, with all the typical action sequences of impossible near misses and inhuman agility and ... oh, heck. If you've seen XXX or Pitch Black, you know what to expect, and this movie delivers....more info
- Movie with no plot, direction, nor conclusion
I should have known not to waste 4 bucks on a rental for a movie that it's own director smashes. I was still willing to give it a shot because I've always enjoyed Vin Diesel's movies, since strays, all the way to Chronicles of Riddick. But this film is so underpar that at the end you feel like you've been cheated on. I wont give away any spoilers, but if you are in the mood to watch a movie without a clearly driven purpose, then this is up your alley. Not only is the movie poorly directed, but I also think this is the worst presence I've ever seen from Diesel.
Not even the lack luster action scenes can make up for a movie with no plot, poor dialogue, and over-the-top circumstances. The flim never picks up from dragging, many of the other actors are vague and have no substance, and worst of all the younger lady playing co-star is painfully annoying.
If you are into Diesel as I am, take my advise and don't watch this movie and save your cash for his up coming fast and furious. I know he has always been into fantasy sci-fi movies, but I think Diesel shines the most in films that can relate closer to reality. ...more info
- Joseph and the cyborg messiahs?
An action sci fi about a cyborg/ AI that is being transported
to New York by an outlaw Merc.
The future world is one where the world has closed borders.
The travel between Russia and New York is a dangerous one
with two sides trying to get her.
The transporter who wants no part of this, becomes in the end
dead and the preserver of life... ?
Some of the acting is pretty good, but the filming is very dark
in many places. The plot with the neo-religious overtones
of a computer based messiah is really not very clear......more info
I love Michel Yeoh. I love Vin Diesel. This was badly written. I have no empathy for the characters. There was nothing for me to look forward to but the end....more info
- The real clones or all religious bigots
Brilliant French film that is able to look at the world in the eyes and be proud of it. It creates a fable about a final apocalypse, a total mental manipulation, something like a mental genetically manipulated human organism, religion and particularly blind faith in front of a miracle, the belief that science and technology are absolutely invincible, the fear of a plague, the world divided in two, the good USA because they are protecting themselves against terrorism, though they are in fact the very heart of terrorism, the commanding heart please, maybe the real brain of it, and on the other side the rest of the world lost in corruption, pointless violence, war, death, alienation, suffering, misery, dying as a lesser evil than living, essentially centered on Paris, France, and the vast Russia and Kazakhstan. I just wonder why they spared China? It is all there and yet Kassovitz, a French man who should be like all French people at least agnostic if not atheistic, produces the most marvelous Christian fable you can imagine. The world is doomed but it can be regenerated and will be by a new Virgin Mary, called Aurora, a perfect name for a second beginning. She has been genetically manipulated in her brain enough to be a genius and to produce, by artificial insemination, the child that will save the world, bring peace and a new phase of development. But can this French Kassovitz do the same thing as the Australian Mel Gibson in his Apocalypto who restarted the world with a married couple and two sons, Adam, Eve, Abel and Cain? Of course not so the mother will die just after delivering. The child will be a pair for sure, but two twins born in the same batch, and the final dedication of the film makes them girls. So the female is the future of the male. That's the French touch. And that poor Toorop will be the genetically estranged father, though I should say caretaker of these two twins. That's a twist in the tale. I am sure the poor Jesus is twisting in his tomb, if he has one. But it is brilliant. I guess the absence of some Chinese mafia is the sign that their market is targeted. It should work, especially the good nun who is a Kung Fu fighter.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
- I Saw This So You Didn't Have To
Tag Line: Seeing movies so you don't have to.
"Babylon A.D." is a failure, but it's not the actors' fault. The problem is certainly not Vin Diesel's failure. He gives an outstanding performance as Toorop, an Eastern European mercenary, banned as a terrorist from reentering his homeland of America. And it's not the fault of Melanie Thierry, who gives a touching turn as Aurora, a young woman raised in a convent in Mongolia. Michelle Yeoh plays Sister Rebeka, Aurora's guardian, and she kicks butt in her attempts to prevent the harsh outside world from influencing the young ward.
No, the problem lies in the missing minutes of film (anywhere from 15 to 70) that were allegedly cut by the producers to fit the movie into an hour and a half, leaving the director to disown "Babylon A.D." The cuts aren't readily apparent until near the end of the ninety minutes, when the characters enter America. Then it's obvious that there are vast gaps in continuity, making for a shortened and confusing ending. At least, the editing is the kindest explanation I can come up with.
The basic plot is a pilgrimage. Toorop is hired by a criminal leader to deliver Aurora, along with her bodyguard, from a convent run by the Neolites, a relatively new religious feminist movement. It turns out the Neolites want her for something she carries, but it's not exactly clear how that's going to make them an authentic religious movement. Supposedly, the miracle will legitimate them. Along the way, the trio, and occasional other character, must struggle with the perils of a near-future, somewhat dystopic world.
It's a fairly logical projection of what's happening now. Former Soviet Union troops work with criminals, and a nuclear sub is used to ferry refugees across the Bering Street to America. The national boundaries are patrolled by unmanned robot planes, similar to ones we're already using in war zones. Passports are injected into people, presumably with some sort of biological marker, though it's unclear how that works.
The world implies an interesting backstory that I'd like to hear more about. For instance, the only surviving tigers are cloned, which is a clue to the mystery of Aurora, I think. Generally the viewer here just has to run with the story and pick up the background details as he or she goes along, which is fine. Not everything needs to be explicit. However, some eventual explanation better than what we're given would have been nice.
All the elements of a strong science-fiction movie are here. But once we get to America, things fall apart and the center cannot hold, apologies to Yeats. The criminal who hired Toorop gets into a confrontation with the Neolites. Why, I'm not exactly sure. I'm also not sure how Aurora can plausibly have what she's carrying, but a suspicious doctor might have a role in that.
Then Toorup is saved by an amazing process that gets handwaved off. Finally, there is a quick confrontation that boils down to a disappointing car chase. The tempo of the last part of the movie moves much faster than the rest, making it clear that cuts were made. We are also given practically no closure with Aurora and her fate is left uncertain. I can't really recommend this movie in the theater. I would wait until it came out on DVD. Hopefully, it will have the missing elements filled in....more info
- Why does everyone hate Vindesil
This was actually a pretty entertaining movie. You can't automatically hate it just because of who stars in it. If you like action and scifi, I would recommend this movie....more info
- Good beginning - lousy end
The movie had a lot of action and suspense thoughout until you got to the very end. A real waste of time and money. The writer and director should be ashamed. If you really want to watch this DVD - let the end remain a mystery - turn it off....more info
- Not the movie shown at theaters.
I was very disappointed in this DVD. I liked the movie and had no problem with plot lines as others seem to have had. This DVD is not the version shown in the theaters. The HumV chase was cut out and put on the "special features" part of the disc. This was a pivital point about the end of the Ramplings "church". Also I remember at the end of the movie Vin Diesel was playing with the M¨¦lanie Thierry's small girls at his rebuilt home in the woods, a more hopeful note to the ending than is on the DVD. I wish that they had included both versions and let viewers decide for themselves. Vin Diesel gave a better performance in this movie that he did in Man Apart and I thought he was very good in that. ...more info
- Intriguing stunner...... bad editing
I rarely go into Vin Deisel movies with high expectations given his limited range. Lets face it, when you build a certain physique and persona you have to accept the pigeonholing as an actor. I read other reviews and removed this from my pre-order list and made it a rental instead. What a surprize to the upside. Some of the critique for this movie is warrented and the ending as you find it now will leave questions. The most important attitude to see this movie with is to enjoy the process and not look for simple gratification in the ending. As a near futuristic movie, this film tackles the challenge of envisioning a near future with new technology that is, if not realistic, still far from the utterly rediculous that many movies try to present. THIS IS NOT JUST A DUMBED DOWN ACTION SPECTACLE. One might be surprized to see Vin in what is actually a very ambitious, intelligent movie for this genre in my opinion. Though any one part of the plot by itself may not be original, I found the sum total to be refreshingly different. There are also spectacular visuals, very well orchestrated action scenes, thought provoking issues and conflicts and very wonderful performances by many actors. Pay attention to the technologies and gadgets here and there, a little satyre on religion and the questions of real faith and spirituality. This is a really good movie that just couldn't do everything it wanted in the time allowed. Don't get me wrong, if I were rating the construction or editing of this movie it would be two stars. I have no doubt that it was butchered by idiots who had no faith in an original vision. If what I have read in other reviews is correct, this movie could really be a marvel if there is an extended version that doesn't screw it up. I wouldn't normally find myself looking forward to a three hour Vin Deisel movie but I would really like to see what they can do with this one. ...more info
- Another million dollar fiasco
The movie is a waste of your time. There is one nice moment in the bathroom between Vin Diesel and the young girl. It was also well reacted to when interrupted. The drone chase seemed ok but beating it and shooting it down was ridiculous. A much older looking Michelle Yeoh makes a poor comeback. The night scene of New York pales when compared to what we saw decades ago in BladeRunner. If not for the heavily modulated voice Vin Diesel would have only been much less macho-er. The action is only mediocre. Ditch this movie by all means. ...more info
- Can i return it?
Really i would like to know if i could get my money back for it. Or atleast half....more info
- Grim, Grey, Meh
This film keeps wanting to be Riddick, or Pitch Black, or Thunderdome, and even has themes out of Resident Evil and the Fifth Element --it borrows bits from a lot of cool sci-fi movies of the last twenty years, but it doesn't quite click. There are some interesting action scenes, like flying missile drones chasing snowmobiles, but it seems to swing from expensive FX scenes, to grim, urban, post apocalypse scenes, which would be fine, except there are no zombies. If you're going to have monochrome gray post-apocalypse scenes you need zombies, unless you're doing a Eastern European love story, in which case, you need zombies shagging. The whole thing could have been shot in black and white and you'd have never noticed the difference.
The upside is that you do get to see Vin Diesel growl at people and blow stuff up, which I think we've all missed.
Vin Diesel plays a tough guy who is hired to smuggle a special girl out of mongolia, through Russia and Canada, to the United States in a near future almost postapocalyptic world.
The movie is pretty much one extremely long action sequence punctuated by Vin Diesel making gutteral grunting noises as he intimidates bad guys.
-The special effects were good
-The story really doesn't hold together well
-The near future is rendered just ok (tries to be bladerunnersish but falls well short)
-The story has no conclusion
-There is little rationale for why the characters do what they do
Overall, this movie presents a paper thin plot for Vin Diesel to Kick Butt.
The movie is replete with cool special effects, Vin fighting in a cage, Vin playing with CNNs interractive screen in his trunk, cool special effects, blowing things up, blowing things up, gutteral grunting from Vin, more gutteral grunting from Vin. No Plot.
If this sounds like your idea of a great enteratining movie, go out and rent it or buy it. If this reads like the movie is a complete mess, steer well clear.
I will say this, if this movie didn't have Vin Diesel and the neat special effects - it could very well wind up being one of those horrible plotless Sci Fi Channel movies that tries to be a B movie but is really an F. It gets the stars it gets because of Vin and the special effects.
If you want to see how a movie like this is done correctly, try watching The Fifth Element (Ultimate Edition) where you get Bruce Willis trying to recover some precious rocks with Mila Jovovovich (SP?) across borders, on starships -- but in contrast to Babylon AD, in the Fifth Element, you get great character development, a bit of comedy, lots of action, and very memorable characters. In short, there is a right way and a not so right way to do a movie like this. Babylon AD is an example of how not to do it while The Fifth Element is an example of how to get it done right.
- It's O.K.
This is not the best movie Vin Diesel has been in and Vin's the only reason I got it. The action takes a long time to warm up and the storyline is basically the same as "Cyborg". It's good for one or two viewings, but that's about all....more info
- Babylon A.D.
Although my wife and I usually love most of Vin Diesel's work, especially the SciFi, this was a disappointment to both of us. The story is to familiar, the acting decent, and the effects good, but this just didn't stick out in a crowd of Apocalyptic movies. This seemed very much like "Children of Men" in story. A top mercenary is hired to excort a young pregnant female to safety. Take away the cloning and there is very little difference. I suggest this one as a rental. Decent quality DVD with very little replayability. If you enjoyed this catch "Resident Evil: Extinction".
CA Luster...more info
- Could have been much better.
Babylon A.D. / B001KMB6YG
I'm not really sure what happened here. Vin Diesel does mindless action, and does it well, and here is no exception - whatever flaws "Babylon A.D." has, they are not his fault. Nor are they the fault of Michelle Yeoh who carries herself (as always) superbly, leaving the viewer to wonder why, exactly, Yeoh keeps showing up in particularly flat action movies (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Widescreen) leaps to mind) when she really is so much better than that and has proven it time and time again. Either there's still some kind of "White Actresses Only" rule barring Yeoh from the better movies, or she has a really terrible agent. Anyway.
Sometimes you can just tell when a movie is based off of a science fiction story you haven't been exposed to. "Babylon A.D." is definitely one of those movies - sure enough, the opening credits note a sci-fi story that may or may not be obscure, but which I definitely haven't read yet. A lot of the standard sci-fi fare is here: much of the world's animals have died out, and have been replaced by clones; America is a closed-borders super-power where a high standard of living is possible for the wealthy, but the rest of the world flounders in deep poverty and warfare; genetic modification of humans is the way to the future. Etc.
Into all this steps Vin Diesel, a conscientious mercenary given a second chance to re-enter America, if only he will deliver a sheltered teenager (and her adoptive mother, Yeoh) along the way. Vin Diesel is only too happy to comply, although he is understandably spooked by the sleepy-eyed girl he's been given charge of. When the girl starts displaying uncanny abilities, such as a near-psychic understanding of the immediate future, an ability to speak multiple languages fluently, and intimate knowledge of the controls of a derelict submarine, he recognizes that there's something a bit off about the young lady and - suspects - that she might be carrying a terrorist-created virus. If so, he vows to murder the girl before she can be 'activated', although this doesn't make much sense because (mind you, I'm not a biologist) it seems like that wouldn't necessarily neutralize the danger.
Anyway, that doesn't matter, because it turns out the girl is *really* a genetically modified human with 'the brain of a computer' and she's been impregnated with twins (apparently during a brief doctor's visit prior to the start of the movie) who are 'powerful' even in the womb, yet in a completely undefined sense. The girl's "mother" - the leader of a cult who commissioned her birth in the hope that this new messiah/madonna would bring in a few more converts - plans to kidnap the girl and...well, it's not exactly clear what she plans to do with her. Use her as a P.R. device, apparently, but it's not clear why Vin Diesel feels compelled to save her from this fate. For that matter, it's exceedingly creepy to see the young lady come on to Vin Diesel, given that he's getting at that age where he could probably be her father and, besides, his entire role in the movie up to her attempted seduction is a paternal one, not a romantic one. It would seem that Hollywood no longer knows how to portray a Man and a Woman without insisting that they "Find Twue Luv".
Despite serious differences in age and genetics, Vin Diesel realizes that he does love the girl and saves her from a non-specific fate that might be bad, but might not be. And then, because the movie was getting a bit longish, we immediately jump to the epilogue where we find that our Computer-Brain Girl was only designed to bear children and nothing more (why? how?) and she has spent the entire pregnancy in a coma (which we all know is just wonderful for fetal development, good grief), and once she delivers (in the quietest delivery ever), she will die and leave the infants in Vin Diesel's capable hands, where he will protect them from...what? Being used for evil, perhaps, although it's unclear how the children could be useful for anything more than the average human baby. This is left out, however, either because they were hoping for a sequel or - more likely - because they ran out of budget.
"Babylon A.D" suffers simultaneously from too much exposition and not enough of it. Huge swaths of dialogue are devoted to heart-to-heart conversations between Vin Diesel and Yeoh while they hash out that the girl is really super special and important - really! - without the viewer ever understanding *why* the girl is useful nor *why* her children are important or powerful or even where they came from. The result is that there is far too little mindless action (because we have to talk about Special! Computer! Girl!) for this to be a proper action flick, and yet far too little pertinent exposition for this to be a proper science fiction film. Since much of the movie feels sloppy and poorly edited, I expect that the whole thing was filmed with a proper amount of action and exposition and then someone with poor editing kung fu took out the relevant dialogue and left in the moody, introspective stuff.
It is possible that familiarity with the source material is just a necessity for proper viewing of this movie, however, I tend to feel that a movie should be able to stand on its own without needing "pre-reading" on the part of the viewer. In that sense, "Babylon A.D." fails, and I don't particularly recommend it as anything more than a mindless adult-protects-precocious-child-through-scifi-explosions movie, and if you want to watch something like that, at least Ultraviolet (Unrated, Extended Cut) has vampires. I'm just saying....more info
- Too much action and not enough plot
In a distant future where corporations rule the world, Toorop (Diesel) a merc banned from the US for terrorist acts is hired by Gorsky (Deperdieu) to take a young woman Aurura (Thierry) to the US. When he arrives at the pick up spot, Sister Rebecca (Yeoh) joins them.
It seems everyone is after young Aurora, who knows how to operate an antequated Russian sub without ever having been on one and could speak 19 languages from the time she was two. Just what does this girl have? Toorop suspects it's a virus and if that's so, in a rare fit of compassion, he's going to kill her and burn her body.
Turns out, what she's carrying is something a good deal more nefarious and could actually change the world.
We've got some nice action in what's a rather obtuse plot. Honestly, PD James' "Children of Men" is a very similar story (Minus a few key twists) and is much better executed than this screen enactment of Dantec's "Babylon Babies."
Was it worth seeing? On a Sunday afternoon with not much else to do, yes. If you like Vin Diesel, Yeoh, or Thierry, yes. If you like really well-plotted sci-fi, it's not such a good choice. You have to work at figuring out what actually is going on.
Rebecca Kyle, August 2008...more info
- She Will Give Us a Messiah!
There are few things more annoying than an intentionally vague science fiction plot. "Babylon A.D."--based on Maurice G. Dantec's novel "Babylon Babies"--takes great pains to keep audiences in the dark, only to bombard them with a series of revelations that not only make little sense, but are also difficult to accept at face value. I tried my hardest to understand what was going on and why, and while I think I now have the gist of it, I'm still left with a lot of unanswered questions. I have a feeling diehard science fiction buffs will get this movie and love it. As I left the theater, it was suggested that liking "Babylon A.D." would depend on whether or not one reads science fiction; if that's true, this movie is nothing but an elitist showcase. Vin Diesel fans may not get the story, but hey, at least they'll get to see him in another action film. It's doubtful, however, that this movie will connect with general audiences, especially if they prefer stories that can actually be followed.
The plot, as far as I can tell, is as follows. Sometime in the future, when technology and big-name corporations have consumed Western society, an American mercenary living in Russia is called on to smuggle a young woman into New York. This man, named Toorop (Diesel), was once a veteran before being exiled from the United States; he now lives by the survivor's code, never trusting anyone and always playing by his own rules. The young woman, named Aurora (M¨¦lanie Thierry), was raised in an isolated Mongolian convent, away from technology and all manner of temptation. Her protector, Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh), makes one thing perfectly clear: the less exposure Aurora has to the outside world, the better.
No one seems to know why until the three start moving through Russia and across the Bering Strait as refugees; not only does Aurora frequently shift from complacent to emotionally distraught, she also seems to possess special abilities, such as being able to sense explosives and knowing how to operate a thirty-year-old submarine and feeling death. According to Rebeka, Aurora could speak nineteen languages by age two. Maybe this has something to do with why opposing forces are after her. One is a religious sect led by the conniving High Priestess (Charlotte Rampling); with the help of a self-serving Russian named Gorsky (G¨¦rard Depardieu), she arranges for Toorop to smuggle Aurora into America, away from a group led by a scientist named Darquandier (Lambert Wilson). When the package is delivered, Aurora will apparently be the key to creating a superior, genetically modified messiah.
I'm making it sound more straightforward than it actually is. So much of this movie relies on secrecy, which would have been okay had the explanations made any sense. The implications are clear: in a now corporate-run society, a cult wants to gain power as the world's dominant religion, and they can reach their goals with the help of a super intelligent, scientifically engineered young woman. But implications can only take you so far. It's not enough to merely suspect what's going on. This is the kind of story that demands a great deal more than vague ideas and passing references. Maybe the film's ninety-minute length is to blame; it's quite possible the answers I sought were left on the cutting room floor. Consider Diesel's broadly drawn character, a man who emotionally kept his distance until Aurora came into his life. How this change came about is anyone's guess, but since Diesel's acting range is just shy of nonexistent, I guess it doesn't really matter.
But Aurora is the most frustrating character, mostly because the way she acts throughout the film isn't consistent with how and why she was created in the first place. There are times when she's cool and collected, while at other times she's militantly opposed to death and destruction, all of which she can sense beforehand. She seemed less like a miracle girl and more like a poster child for Bipolar Disorder. The way she interacts with Torrop is difficult to believe, especially as their feelings for one another deepen. It doesn't feel like a developing love so much as it feels like a plot device for creating more drama. It certainly didn't do much for the ending, which is so badly written that it might generate incredulous laughter.
What can I say in defense of this movie? Well, it was good-looking. I was particularly impressed with the futuristic New York City, the best-designed city skyline since "Blade Runner." Every block is an explosion of technology, from choreographed neon lights to electronic images projected onto skyscrapers. Unfortunately, we never get to fully appreciate it--the shots come and go far too quickly. Most of the New York scenes take place on an isolated street, specifically the intersection where the climactic battle is fought. As fleeting as it was, this was still the only decent action this movie had to offer; every other action scene was lightening-fast and shaky, distracting us from seeing all the good fight moves. But the great failure of "Babylon A.D." was telling a needlessly vague story about inappropriately mysterious characters. I'm sure select audiences will embrace this movie as a pinnacle work of science fiction, and they will no doubt see things in it that I failed to see. Let it be known that, for someone who doesn't read science fiction on a regular basis, I did the best I could....more info
- Great Concept, poor delivery
I can't say this film is an Oscar winner, but it is not as bad as many reviewers indicate. The problem with the movie is that it has a poor delivery; i personally think it lacked a bit more action. The concept and the idea of future world are great, but you need more detail, more story line, and that is where it fails. Perhaps if maybe another director would have taken a shot at it, it could have been broader, better. We have to understand that are tons of great concept movies with a bad delivery, this is one of them. The movie is not total garbage, it's worth the rent, go check it out....more info
- Diesel Powered, boggled script with an ending that doesn't satisfy
As I've heard it from the wire, the French director of this film Mathieu Kassovitz, who is better known for his Gothica Film, wouldn't rate it very high himself. I agree on many aspects with what he said, such as my title infers to. But the masculin, torpid hero which Vin Diesel gets type casted into so often is above what you would expect from something as this. Its monologue is Very familiar, almost to the teeth of many more entertaining Diesel films. And if you're wondering about the plot, I can liken it to Blade Runner only in that it involves a leaky dystopian theme, but the passion and conscious nerve of that film cannot be even jokingly joined to this immature frenzied mess. One would like to lay blame entirely to the director for his own morose attitude about it, but the frenetic edit of this film leaves me to believe at the hint that there was once some pace to this film, perhaps even an undertone of taboo romance. Who knows, maybe even some beauty lost. Time can only tell. Fans of Vin Diesel will not be happy I think. ...more info
- Even the director hates this movie
When I first started watching I was happy. Then about 30 mins later I started lauaghing at the corneyist snowmoblie chase and then a touching" I love you man, can I have your bud light?" moment ever. Then I cried because my brain tried to kill me for sitting thru the etire move. WTF! Even the DIRECTOR said this movie was direct quote " Stupid and violent". I've seen better straight to video THAI movies where I couldn't even understand the language and had the budget of an american teens weekly allowance. I gave this a one star because amazon doesn't have a picture of a middle finger poking the eye out of a puppy....more info
- "Babbling And Drear" would be a better title
Combine a wooden, uninspiring performance by Vin Diesel, which happens to be the best performance in the film, with a confusing surrealistic plot that takes apostate bits and parts of Christianity and twists them together for its "religious" theme and you end up with ... nothing. It relies on special effects and glitz to try to put some life into the film, but fails at that miserably. My copy is going in the circular file....more info
- Quite a bit surprised at all the negative reviews of this film. I guess it was just too cerebral for some...
I'm willing to wager that the reason why so many people gave this film such a negative slant is due to the fact that they were expecting to see the same old shoot em' up, blood n' guts Vin Diesel film that so many of us have become accustomed to. I have to admit, I REALLY had my doubts about it myself before I went to see it, and I thought I was going to completely agree with the negative reviews. Boy, was I wrong. This was a surprisingly, do I dare say of a Vin Diesel film, thought provoking (gasp!) and even (gasp!) touching film. And to top it all off, Vin Diesel (a real big gasp) showed us that he could, yes, ACT! The one in this film, however, that REALLY demonstrated some real star power was Melanie Thierry, the one who so brillantly played the character,
Aurora. Her facial expressions alone were undeniably convincing and her whole demeanor truly demonstrated superior command of her role. I said to myself, and others, that this girl nailed the part! I think we could very well be seeing a rising superstar if she keeps exuding this excellent chemistry and talent. The part that even got me choked up was when she softly whispered to Vin Diesel, "That's the first time you have said my name." Wow! I was completely in awe of her presence and she really carried most of the film. However, this is not to say that others didn't do a good acting job in this film, either. Both Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh, I felt, were perfectly cast, and also really demonstrated highly competent performances. Aside from the surprisingly great acting, the story was extremely fascinating and also it was a very wry, yet extremely thought-provoking commentary on the way that this planet is heading--straight to Babylon--a world where love and compassion are seemingly feelings of the past and people have practically become gods to themselves through misuse of technology and other means.
I really recommend that one go see this film and not to listen to all the negative reviews surrounding it. The only thing that kept me from giving this film a five star rating was the fact that there were a few plot holes in the film that were left unexplained and this is the one area that I had to agree with the critics on. However, the brilliant performance of Melanie Thierry, as well as the intriguing story, make this aspect seem rather trivial and with the way it ended, it seems quite likely that there will be a sequel, which I am already looking forward to....more info
- Mildly Entertaining Choas
Vin Diesel's new sci-fi action "Babylon A. D." follows the story of Toorop, anti-heroic mercenary hired to transport a mysterious girl named Aurora into the near-future America. In the film helmed by French director Mathieu Kassovitz ("The Hate" "The Crimson Rivers" "Gothika"), the futuristic world is in total chaos - like the film itself which is about as chaotic as it gets.
For all the top-notch players including Michelle Yeoh, G¨¦rard Depardieu, Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson and my favorite Mark Strong, with the cinematography of Thierry Arbogast ("The Fifth Element"), "Babylon A. D." is a mess. Visually the film is often interesting and I really like Vin Diesel, but each action set-piece only leaves us puzzled and confused instead of exciting us. Why should they use a train, not a plane? Why a submarine? Everything looks terribly contrived.
I know the director's complaints about the studio's interference. With all respect to Mathieu Kassovitz and everyone involved in this project, however, the film had no chance of becoming whatever he had envisioned. If we could ignore the confusing narrative gaps in the latter half of the story, the badly-edited snowmobile action sequence or the very irritating and poorly-acted character of Aurora who keeps nagging suggests something is wrong with the incoherent film from the very beginning.
"Babylon A. D." is a mildly entertaining action. Surely the visual designs sometimes look borrowed from other better films, but they are not boring. Still I am afraid that the film's production history would be more interesting than the film itself....more info