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Babylon A.D. (2008)

 
 

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Vin Diesel in Babylon A.D. (2008)

In a future full of social unrest and poverty Toorop (Vin Diesel) is a man for hire which his how he comes to be working for Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) who pays him to head to Eastern Europe to collect a "package" from a convent and transport it back to America. To Toorop's surprise the "package" turns out to be a very special young woman called Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) who has unique abilities and her guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh). But what started out as purely another job turns into something much more personal as Toorop gets to know Aurora and Rebeka whilst there are others keen on getting their hands on her.

I'm guessing that either when they made "Babylon A.D." either Jean Claude Van Damme was busy or Vin Diesel read the script and was sold on this vision of an epic post-apocalyptic movie only to end up in something nothing like he was sold on. For what ever reason "Babylon A.D." is a bust and becomes a waste not only of the actors talents but also of the audiences time as there are much better post-apocalyptic movies out there which manage to not only grab you with the look but also with depth and interesting characters.

Mélanie Thierry and Michelle Yeoh in Babylon A.D. (2008)

Now it is very clear from the early scenes that "Babylon A.D." aims to entertain mainly on a visual level as we enter this muddy futuristic world where people trade guns on the streets and live in squalor, where large bolts are place on doors to protect what little people own. It also serves up the first snap of action as Vin Diesel bashes a man who sold him a faulty gun and then the first shock where he chops up a cat to cook for his dinner. Now I guess it is an effective opening but when the rest of the movie fails to build on this it makes "Babylon A.D." a movie for those who seek only to be entertained on a shallow, visual level with big action scenes.

The sad thing is that the storyline and this representation of a future full of unrest is a reasonable basis to build on the basic elements and explore things further, bringing out the depth in the situation and the characters. But for what ever reason that approach was ignored making "Babylon A.D." a movie of little if any depth and relegating the characters to just puppets which makes everyone come across as wooden including Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. It is very much the case that "Babylon A.D." has talent but the talent doesn't get a chance to shine with Diesel limited to delivering a simple action man performance and cliché dialogue.

What this all boils down to is that "Babylon A.D." probably does appeal to a select few, those who are just looking for face value action entertainment. But for me the potential of the movie for whatever reason has been sacrificed in favour of just face value action which makes it forgettable.

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