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Sep 30, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Babylon A.D.

Neither as bad as star Vin Diesel and director Mathieu Kassovitz would have you believe, nor as good as...well, no one's really saying that it's all that good. Let's just say that Babylon A.D. is a serviceable sci-fi actioner that you're likely to enjoy at least somewhat if you've enjoyed any of the better sci-fi films of the last ten years.

Why's that, you might ask? As it turns out, Babylon's greatest asset and liability are its unoriginality. It's so similar to, and features so many elements from films such as Children of Men, Minority Report, along with touches from others like A.I. and Blade Runner, that you can't help but like it somewhat by osmosis, all the while deriding it for it's lack of original thoughtS.

Though not quite a work of art, the rest of the highs come from a few choice visuals. First, there's a tank that Diesel's Thoorop take a ride in early on; its interior has walls lined with flat-screen monitors, each showing what it going on outside the tank, giving the occupants a 360 degree view of what's around them. It's owner is a greasy Russian mobster that's under so much makeup and pock marks that I didn't even realize it was Gerard Depardieu until checking the Wiki page earlier today (I saw the film a couple weeks ago). Later, Thoorop leads co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Mélanie Thierry through the kind of meat market/death fest that always seems to show up in dystopian sci-fi flicks, yet the interesting twist is the cages lined with plexiglass, each housing a pair of fighters, seemingly going at it till death with rabid bettors and onlookers directly outside. Finally, as the trio makes their way through Russia (on their way to Canada - nevermind the plot; let's just say it's almost the same as Children on Men, only dumber and more convoluted at the same time), a submarine bursts through the ice and snow as a large group of refugees fights and claws their way onboard, with the losers either getting shot or falling into the icy water, or both.

There are a few more visual highlights, and there a few head-scratchters, too, as the film plods along towards inevitability. Lambert Wilson (The Matrix sequels) shows up and manages to not overact this time, Diesel grunts and intimidates, Yeoh kicks a little butt but it appears that she's there to add class, and Thierry does her best Samantha Morton impression.

Don't rush out or anything - not as though you were planning on it - but you could do worse on a Saturday afternoon. How's that for a glowing review?

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."


12 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Babylon A.D."

Rick Olson said...

Killing it softly with faint praise, Fletch. A nicely modulated blade.

Clive Dangerously said...

We saw this when we missed the train that would have gotten us to Hamlet 2.

We spent the train ride home clubbing-to-death the guy who held us back.

HOWEVER:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/48274860@N00/2903089350/

Fletch said...

Haha - nice Photoshop work, though you get a minus for not removing Diesel from the image. Blur tool!

Nick said...

Yeah, I thought it was entertaining enough. And it really did have some amazing visuals, which is why it got such a high score from me.

EVIL CLOWN said...

So is this good/bad like Space Pirates. Or just not that good because it tries to be something bigger than it should.

Fletch said...

Haven't seen Space Pirates. It's more on the level of "not that good because of lofty goals that it fails to reach," but there are a scant few redeeming qualities, and nothing wildly terrible about it.

Reel Whore said...

It opens at the $1.50 theater this weekend...if there's nothing else playing there I might check it out. It'll give me more Diesel fodder for sure.

Jenny said...

i like the movie but the ending could be better!!

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Anonymous said...

Ok Babylon A.D. Movie is great action movie.Vin Diesel has given good performance.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I had no great expectations, but I thought at least enjoy Babylon AD. I like almost anything science fiction and most of the films like it.want to download this movie than go through this link download Babylon AD.