Reviews

Babylon AD

1

Hard to believe, but there was a time when the phrase ‘starring Vin Diesel!’ was more of a promise than a threat. He was also tipped as a filmmaking force after Spielberg saw his short Multi-Facial and cast him in Saving Private Ryan. His directing ambitions stalled as he growled louder than the engines in The Fast And The Furious and glowered in bargain-basement Aliens knock-off Pitch Black…

Suddenly, he was tagged the new Bruce, the new Ahhnold, even the new Bond – with xXx supposedly a 007 for Generations X & Y (though the result was mostly Zzzzz). Now, Babylon AD... Not quite as mind-numbingly dreadful as Diesel’s last action outing A Man Apart, nor as turgid as director Mathieu Kassovitz’s prior gig Gothika, but so mired in mediocrity as to eventually be somewhat soul-crushing. Vin, it’s come to this?

He’s Toorop (yes, really), an ex-marine mercenary in your standard cookie-cutter post-global meltdown dystopian future (basically Children Of Men minus the imagination). Tasked with smuggling an odd virginal girl (Mélanie Thierry) into the US, he teams with her minder (Michelle Yeoh) and tries to avoid getting offed while sticking to his credo: “Life’s simple, kill or be killed and always finish the job. A survivor’s code; my code…” Dear God.

Yeoh does what she can and actually milks a little emotion out of one brief scene, while Diesel doesn’t look nearly as embarrassed as he should. But the inoffensively dire direct-to-DVD opening eventually descends into sub-Matrix Revolutions gibberish featuring, incidentally, that picture’s flamboyant Frenchman, Lambert Wilson (aka Merovingian) – who dribbles exposition while poncing about like Rupert Everett at Mardi Gras.

The nonsensical closing scene is supposed to offer the promise of hope. Well, Diesel will be back again in 2009, with Fast And Furious. Yes, they really are just dropping the ‘the’, but we hope – no, we know – that it has to be better than this.

Verdict:

Life in an ultra-violent, desperate, refugee-strewn world of vice, crime and rancour can’t be any worse than this. Diesel needs a hit, Kassovitz needs to be hit. La Haine? With a vengeance.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • mallardb

      Dec 18th 2008, 15:01

      2

      Boring...

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    • hartys1

      Dec 24th 2008, 18:45

      1

      total c**p dont waste your time or money.

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    • BarnabyTFV

      Jan 12th 2009, 10:36

      3

      I seem to be a lone voice here with this film. When Babylon A.D. was released it was very hard to find a review that gave it over two stars, but when I loaded the DVD fully expecting a car-crash of a movie I was pleasantly surprised, relieved and impressed. In this futuristic action thriller (that has an unmistakable resemblance of Children of Men) Vin Diesel plays Toorop, a mercenary with a growling voice (but what else can we get from the gravel-voiced Diesel) and a "get the job done" attitude. His job in this case is delivering a young women and her accompanying nun from Mongolia to America without getting killed. Toorop twigs this young woman is out of the ordinary when she anticipates a bomb attack when they are travelling. Her further abnormal talents range from operating submarine machinery she's never seen before to vaguely muttering things like "We will all die" in an eerie way. These makes Toorop uncomfortable. As a mercenary/delivery guy, he isn't used to his packages predicting the future. The whole film is very impressive, and towards the end features a brittle but good appearance from Charlotte Rampling. It isn't without flaws, but Diesel can carry a movie effortlessly, and with an exciting story such as this one his talents are never wasted.

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    • johnmoorefan

      Aug 30th 2009, 17:56

      2

      A good opening hour gives way to a soul crushingly awful last act. Diesel is only average and whilst it's better than most of the 1 star reviews - you can probably afford to skip it.

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    • glucomt

      Feb 13th 2011, 13:55

      Toorop twigs this young woman is out of the ordinary when she anticipates a bomb attack when they are travelling. Her further abnormal talents range from operating submarine machinery she's never seen before to vaguely muttering things like "We will all die" in an eerie way. These makes Toorop uncomfortable. As a mercenary/delivery guy, BHU PMT Papers he isn't used to his packages predicting the future. The whole film is very impressive, and towards the end features a brittle but good appearance from Charlotte Rampling. It isn't without flaws, but Diesel can carry a movie effortlessly, and with an exciting story such as this one his talents are never wasted.

      Alert a moderator

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