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  • Babylon A.D.
    • Babylon A.D.
    • Runtime:90 min
    • Release Date:2014-04-25 02:42:10
    • Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
    • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Babylon A.D.
Auhtor:

   

I have just seen a great movie: Babylon A.D. (extended) with full
blu-ray detail.

If you're into photography and grading, rough edges and detail, this
one is for you.

The story is interesting and well thought out, with a nice level of
"complicatedness". I could say it leaves a few – just a few -
questions. But seeing it again would probably fill in the blanks.

I loved the sets, moods, landscapes and journey these 101 minutes set
you back for.

The acting is very good. Vin Diesel owns the part, he's just great in
what he does. Melanie Thierry is perfectly cast as well and looks
absolutely stunning.

I'm almost forgetting the editing, which is very, very well done. (How
could anyone cut into this well edited extended version??? Those studio
execs … fools … haha)

To conclude, the direction is superb, leaving space for talent, beauty,
feeling and details one easily would overlook in this kind of
production. We're not just talking about action here, its drama as
well, and it's obviously brought by someone with a good sense of
refinement and detail.

I came to this movie expecting nothing, having read 2 bad reviews here.
But the opposite is true. This might have been different if I had seen
the shortened version, which I never plan to see because the feature I
just saw was awesome and close enough to perfection in its genre.

|||

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Babylon A.D. is set in the near future & starts in Russia where
mercenary Toorop (Vin Diesel) lives, wanted as a terrorist in the US he
is stuck in the third world conditions of Russia to fend for himself. A
big mob boss named Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) hires Toorop to escort a
young girl across the border & into America to a rendezvous point in
New York, offer includes an electronic passport to regain entry to the
US & enough money to complete the job. Toorop agrees to the job, Toorop
is flow into Mongolia here he finds the girl Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) &
her guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) at a Neolite convent. From
there the three must travel across the Ocean & into Canada where they
will then cross the American border to New York, as they make their way
it becomes clear that Aurora is a much wanted girl, attempts to capture
& kill them are made & once they reach New York Toorop begins to
realise the importance of Aurora…

This American, French & British co-production was produced & directed
by Mathieu Kassovitz, based on the novel Babylon Babies by French
author Maurice G. Dantec this futuristic action thriller wasn't as bad
as I had expected & while not particularly special in any way I did
quite like it overall. At the time of Babylon A.D.'s release director
Kassovitz apparently expressed much anger at the way twentieth century
Fox interfered with the script & shooting, he also claimed that they
took his original cut & edited down for a lower rating & as such is
available in both & theatrical & extended director's cut form, I will
be basing my comments on the shorter theatrical cut & have not seen the
longer version so I cannot compare the two. One suspects that some of
the gaping holes left unanswered here are addressed in the director's
cut, like if the Neolite religion had Aurora in that convent why hire
Toorop to escort her to the US & then spend the rest of the film trying
to either get her back or kill her? In fact why try to kill Aurora at
all? Surely they needed her alive to present her as a true virgin birth
& thus as a miracle as they intend? The last twenty of so minutes once
the film reaches New York is a mess, it just doesn't make much sense &
the plot falls apart. The idea is brought up that Aurora might be
carrying a virus but is only mentioned once or twice, her supernatural
powers aren't explained to any great satisfaction or how she got
pregnant. At a little under an hour & a half at least it moves along
with a decent pace, the action scenes are quite good without totally
dominating the story & the character's are alright too whenever they
are given a little time to develop but the confused mess of a plot just
left me a little unsatisfied despite still getting reasonable
entertainment value out of the film as a whole.

There's a few good action scenes here, there's a big shoot-out in New
York, a couple of car chases, some explosions, a snowmobile chase &
some fighting. While not as over the top or spectacular as some big
budget films the action scenes still satisfy in their own way. The CGI
computer effects are good, the slightly rundown vision of the future
the production design paints is low key but plausible enough I suppose
& there are a few nice touches like the plane with a huge advert for a
soft drink painted on the side & the Russian sub breaking through the
ice or even Toorops touchscreen paper maps. Not shown to critics before
it was released in the US with little to no promotion Babylon A.D. also
apparently had to be bailed out by the studio's insurance company after
it went way over budget & significantly behind schedule.

With a supposed budget of about $70,000,000 a lot of money was spent on
it, it looks nice enough for sure with glossy production values & good
special effects but the story is still a mess. Filmed in the Czech
Republic, Norway, Sweden & France. The acting is alright, Vin Diesle
just growls his way through the role as usual with no real acting
ability being evident while Michelle Yeoh is a little wasted in a bit
part role.

Babylon A.D. is an OK time waster, it has good production values,
special effects & a few decent action set-pieces but the story just
ends up a complete unresolved, unexplained mess that you can try & make
all the excuses in the world for but ultimately left me unsatisfied.
When it's good it's good but when it's bad it's bad.

|||

Infamous as the film that was so bad even its director went public to
warn audiences off (albeit his complaints were mainly aimed at the
incomprehensible studio cut), Babylon A.D. may be a huge step down from
the days when Mathieu Kassovitz was making the likes of La Haine or
even The Crimson Rivers, but in the director's preferred version
released in French theatres and on DVD as the 'extended version,' it's
an okay silly scifi action film. There's not much in the way of the
ideas from Maurice G. Dantec's novel that attracted him to the project
in the first place and it's little more than another derivative
Children of Men-style chase through a future dystopia with a few added
cyberpunk fittings as Vin Diesel's mercenary is hired by an
unrecognisable Gerard Depardieu's Russian mobster to deliver Mélanie
Thierry's genetically engineered mystery girl from Eastern Europe to
New York with a little help from Michelle Yeoh's two-fisted nun and
hindrance from Charlotte Rampling's corporate religion and mad
scientist Lambert Wilson's followers. Take it seriously and it's a
non-starter, but take it as an overpriced bit of Euro comicstrip
nonsense with the odd striking scene – a terrorist bombing in a crowded
railway station, refugees trying to scrabble aboard a submarine before
it submerges beneath the ice – and it's an okay if rather familiar
timefiller. The longer cut certainly isn't a profound rediscovered
masterpiece, but unlike the shorter cinema version that seemed to have
been hacked to pieces by a combine harvester, the plot and characters
do make a lot more sense and you do get to see Mark Strong with hair.

|||

Babylon AD is another film starring Vin Diesel. The idea seemed great
but the direction and overall production of the film wasn't. I was
interested in seeing this when it came out but I never got the chance
to see it, so a few years later i finally managed to watch it. And I
gotta say, it was quite bad and when I finished watching it, I felt
disappointed bigtime. The acting was bad in this, the storyline was
rushed and the plot was weak, and it seemed very unfinished.

The storyline is basically about Vin Diesel who plays a mercenary who's
hired by a criminal Mr Enorme (Gerard Depardieu) to transport a young
woman with mysterious powers (Melanie Thierry) and her guardian
(Michelle Yeoh) from Russia to New York. Why? We don't really know.
They are chased by people who seem to be religious (led by Charlotte
Rampling) and who want the girl, for reasons which remain obscure. We
can't even be sure that they're the bad guys until near the end Plot
and characterization are negligible, and it's set in a world whose
politics, economic state and culture are frustratingly unclear. The
action sequences was limited and their wasn't many. There were more
boring talking scenes, and one weird romance scenes towards the middle
involving Toorop and Aurora, but they get interrupted by sister
Rebbecca. It was a complete fail of a scene.

The ending was real bad. It shows Toorop finding Aurora then talking at
last. The very last scene is a picture of Toorop with two twins (its
uncertain whether this is a flashback or actually something present).
Either way it was a bad ending and bad movie

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