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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Vin Diesel
Michelle Yeoh
Gerard Depardieu
Melanie Thierry.
Directors
Mathieu Kassovitz.
Screenwriters
Mathieu Kassovitz
Joseph Simas.
Running Time
90 minutes

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Babylon A.D.
Vin Diesel tries to figure out what’s going on in this sci-fi mess


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Plot
In the not-too-distant future, mercenary Toorop (Diesel) is hired to transport a cloistered girl (Thierry) from Russia to sanctuary in the US. The package is more than she seems, however, and several interested parties want to get their hands on her.


Review
Babylon A.D.
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There was a time when Vin Diesel was a shoo-in as Hollywood’s premier tough guy. But thanks to a string of camp-as-you-like roles, the perception was short-lived. Diesel hadn’t so much put a dampener on his hard man image as drowned it in a bucket of rose water. But the asphalt-gargling opening voiceover here (a direct throwback to Pitch Black) heralds the return of Macho Vin, a gruff force of nature who cracks heads, breaks bones and racks up a fair bodycount during the film’s happily short runtime. Unfortunately, the star’s return to fighting form is the sole consolation from an otherwise garbled sci-fi yarn.

 

Based on French novel Babylon Babies by Maurice G. Dantec, Babylon A. D. is a vision of the future awash with dystopian clichés. Life is cheap, resources are scarce, bloodsports entertain the masses. Through this sea of human refuse, Diesel’s mercenary drags comely naïf Aurora - played by a pouty Mélanie Thierry - across the frozen North to safety/destruction in New York. Thierry veers from horrified shellshock to moral outrage depending on what’s blowing up/who’s being gunned down at the time. Michelle Yeoh provides emotional variance as Aurora’s guardian nun, but her verbal sparring with the uncouth Toorop fails to survive beyond a couple of exchanges, leaving the relationship between all three protagonists distant and disinterested.


Arguably, action’s more important than emotional nuance here, and that is at least plentiful. Diesel barrels through the film waving fists and firearms, gamely hurling himself into a cage fight, an Arctic chase sequence and a shootout in Manhattan traffic. But the fights are competent rather than exhilarating, which is a problem given the incoherence of the narrative. The film seems unable to decide upon a plot or a MacGuffin, and veers unsteadily between a less tongue-in-cheek Transporter and a futuristic Golden Child. Kassovitz seems to give up on narrative altogether in the final act and caps the story with a flat climax (if anyone knows what happens to Charlotte Rampling, let us know) and a bewildering coda.
Still, if you’re in the market for some unsophisticated Diesel power you may find this a guilty pleasure - if only to see a weirdly overdubbed Gérard Depardieu sipping cocktails in the back of a pimped-out armoured personnel carrier/sex pad.



Verdict
Brawny but brainless techno-twaddle.


Reviewed by James Dyer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Babylon A.D.
Empire Star Rating

RE: My thoughts on BABYLON A.D.

^^ agree with the above review I heard terrible reviews about this film, did not see it for some time, and finally got around to watching it, and found much entertainment in this film, in addition to a much darker 'future' world than we see in many future films 3.5/5 from me ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hampstead bandit at 19:59, 04 March 2012 | Report This Post


My thoughts on BABYLON A.D.

Just wanted to post up some thoughts on this underrated gem. Yes, the movie has problems, but thematically I think it's brilliant. From the opening shot, I found it gripping. We see the derelict Hubble floating in space, and even though North America's electric power grid is lit up like a Christmas tree, there are no high orbit satellites (the kind used for space exploration and interstellar photography). The camera zooms in and as we near the planet it passes through a cloud of low orbit telec... More

Posted by King of Kafiristan at 16:51, 03 March 2012 | Report This Post


Good premise, but not executed well

The title really does say it all. Science-fiction fans will enjoy the brilliant premise of the movie (even thought it somewhat borrows from Twelve Monkeys), but the keyword hereis 'movie'. Babylon A.D. does not manage to be considered a film as it just isn't done right: mediocre acting, messy directing and I-need-the-money writing. Shame. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 12:31, 07 April 2010 | Report This Post


Babywrong A.D.

This was basically largely bollocks, looked low budget with pretty average action and a rubbish plot about some girl with weird powers, however it still kept me interested and I didn't find myself getting bored with it particularly. For that reason I'll give it three stars Good to see Vin Diesel back in an action role as well - I'm also looking forward to The Fast and the Furious 4 ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 15:04, 18 February 2009 | Report This Post


Babywrong A.D.

Repeat post ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 15:04, 18 February 2009 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

L: genejoke L: paulyboy **Massive Spoilers** Bit of a mess this one. In all honesty it's not that bad up until the last 15 minutes, it zips along well enough and there's a nice little dynamic developing between Diesel, Yeoh and Thierry by that point. Then Lambert Wilson shows up to lay an explanation on us and the whole thing derails. I /i]I know what the film was about, something to do with A.I enhanced babies (don't ask), genetically engineered messiahs and religous nutj... More

Posted by HIM at 21:59, 17 September 2008 | Report This Post


WTF?!

I actually enjoyed the first half of this - the bleak Russian society, the obvious aftermath of war and the unknown element of the mission. Then they got to New York and it lost me -I have no idea what the Hell was going on ... shame ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 23:02, 04 September 2008 | Report This Post


quite the worst film ive seen this year even jumpers was better than this its very similar to children of men witha little golden child and fifth element even. the film and theb ending are so hpelessly in coherent and muddled what does happen at the endthe studio has edited the guts out of the movie to get low cert would directors cut make any difference only if it explained characters fates 1 star sorry ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by quizkid at 15:57, 04 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

According to german site Schnittberichte.com Germany will get a longer cut of the film. That is because over here the film is not distributed by FOX but by a smaller label called Concorde which bought the rights from the French distributor instead of FOX.   www.schnittberichte.com/news.php?ID=963   So a longer cut of the film already exists. ... More

Posted by grucl at 09:45, 02 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

L: paulyboy **Massive Spoilers** Bit of a mess this one. In all honesty it's not that bad up until the last 15 minutes, it zips along well enough and there's a nice little dynamic developing between Diesel, Yeoh and Thierry by that point. Then Lambert Wilson shows up to lay an explanation on us and the whole thing derails. I /i]I know what the film was about, something to do with A.I enhanced babies (don't ask), genetically engineered messiahs and religous nutjobs yeah? Tha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by genejoke at 22:17, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

**Massive Spoilers**   Bit of a mess this one. In all honesty it's not that bad up until the last 15 minutes, it zips along well enough and there's a nice little dynamic developing between Diesel, Yeoh and Thierry by that point. Then Lambert Wilson shows up to lay an explanation on us and the whole thing derails.   I /i]I know what the film was about, something to do with A.I enhanced babies (don't ask), genetically engineered messiahs and religous nutjobs yeah? That said... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulyboy at 15:17, 31 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

The Film had potential but its the same old shit from Diesel. It feels like it has been chopped up by the studio to kept the runtime nice and short at 90 mins. A couple of good scenes but that is it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Starscream at 18:48, 30 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

L: Mojo L: Rgirvan44 Anyone seen this yet? I was thinking of doing a double bill with this and The Strangers. While I don't have high hopes for it I am a sucker for this kind of distopia film, and sue me I like Vin. 'm the same, reviews have put me off a bit but I really want Vin to become a huge action star and as you said I like dystopias. I'll probs check it out anyway, and hold out for Fast and Furious for Vin to return to form. sp; I have only ever seen 2 Fast 2 F... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 22:03, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

L: Rgirvan44 Anyone seen this yet? I was thinking of doing a double bill with this and The Strangers. While I don't have high hopes for it I am a sucker for this kind of distopia film, and sue me I like Vin. 'm the same, reviews have put me off a bit but I really want Vin to become a huge action star and as you said I like dystopias. I'll probs check it out anyway, and hold out for Fast and Furious for Vin to return to form. ... More

Posted by Mojo at 21:53, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

Anyone seen this yet?   I was thinking of doing a double bill with this and The Strangers. While I don't have high hopes for it I am a sucker for this kind of distopia film, and sue me I like Vin.   I am planning on seeing one in the morning and therefore getting a half price ticket. So depending on how people enjoyed/hated this I can decide which one deserves my spending of a full ticket (I suspect the Strangers) ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 21:49, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: ... Fox screwed this and apparently its True

After reading about Fox taking editing control of the film away from the director and negative reviews - I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the film. Sure, the ending is a bit dull and it is clear that Fox cut out some "talking scenes" out but Vin Disel & Michelle Yeoh were on great form. Mathieu is a very dull director but the soundtrack makes the film more epic & exciting. Hope to see "Director's Cut" on Blu Ray next year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Makman at 20:33, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


"But thanks to a string of camp-as-you-like roles, the perception was short-lived."

if you wear as much eye shadow as he has on in th epicture above you will get accused! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by miketang99 at 06:20, 29 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: About 5 years ago, Kevin Smith heard a rumour that...

L: Cameron1975Williams ... a certain up-and-coming action star, "who looked like he was all-about the pussy", was in fact gay. Kevin didn't say who it was, but I think we can guess. I've heard an interview with Vin and he's a very intelligent and likeable guy, but a gay action star is gonna be a tough sell. He shold come out, I think his career would get a boost like George Michael's did. Of course, if I'm wrong about all this then excuse me all over the place. His long term girlfreind h... More

Posted by Gazz at 15:35, 27 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: About 5 years ago, Kevin Smith heard a rumour that...

Ignoring the above, this film has the potential to be so bad it might be good! Unlike Death Proof which was piss poor. ... More

Posted by raithrover at 13:49, 27 August 2008 | Report This Post


About 5 years ago, Kevin Smith heard a rumour that...

... a certain up-and-coming action star, "who looked like he was all-about the pussy", was in fact gay. Kevin didn't say who it was, but I think we can guess. I've heard an interview with Vin and he's a very intelligent and likeable guy, but a gay action star is gonna be a tough sell. He shold come out, I think his career would get a boost like George Michael's did. Of course, if I'm wrong about all this then excuse me all over the place. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cameron1975Williams at 11:56, 27 August 2008 | Report This Post


About 5 years ago, Kevin Smith heard a rumour that...

... a certain up-and-coming action star,  "who looked like he was all-about the pussy", was in fact gay. Kevin didn't say who it was, but I think we can guess. I've heard an interview with Vin and he's a very intelligent and likeable guy, but a gay action star is gonna be a tough sell. He shold come out, I think his career would get a boost like George Michael's did. Of course, if I'm wrong about all this then excuse me all over the place. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cameron1975Williams at 11:56, 27 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Well, I heard rumours that Fox screwed this and apparently it's true

Is it just me or does the story sound awfully similar to n of Menbsp; u] I just read that it’s based on a novel from some years back. So I guess it is either coincidence or CoM was also “inspired” by that novel. ... More

Posted by grucl at 06:49, 27 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Well, I heard rumours that Fox screwed this and apparently it's true

L: damn i'm good! blogs.amctv.com/scifi-scanner/2008/08/babylon-ad-mathie u-kassovitz.phpote] I cant belive Kassovitz has said this the week the film comes out lol. I mean fair play to him but if he were that pissed off could he not have taken his name off? The dude is going to have a hard time getting work after this I would imagine. I look forward to hopefully 1 day seeing this longer cut ... More

Posted by badassmofo at 17:44, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Well, I heard rumours that Fox screwed this and apparently it's true

It seems like not to long ago film makers were at least allowed time to work on there films to get the best out of what they have filmed. but like the games industry there now appears to be people looking over there shoulders tapping on their watches not concerned about the quality of the film but the but more the budget and time frame. Mathieu Kassovitz has stated that he is very unhappy about the film coming out in its current format, lets at least hope that they give him time to sort out ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dannyxtra at 16:41, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post


Well, I heard rumours that Fox screwed this and apparently it's true

http://blogs.amctv.com/scifi-scanner/2008/08/babylon-ad -mathieu-kassovitz.php ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by damn im good! at 13:17, 26 August 2008 | Report This Post



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