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Babylon A.D. (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Science Fiction / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Mathieu Kassovitz / Actors: Vin Diesel, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Strong, Michelle Khan, Gerard Depardieu ... / DVD released 2008-12-29 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      19.12.2012 14:26
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      Not something I'd recommend watching.

      One Saturday night when me and my partner were at a bit of a loss for something to do we decided a nice cosy up with either some TV or a film would be good. At the recommendation of a friend we went for a film, in particular Babylon A.D. We were told little more than "It's a sci-fi film with Vin Diesel and I like it" considering I trust my friends, this seemed a good enough reason to watch the film.

      *********The plot (contains spoilers!)*********

      In the not too distant future a hardened mercenary named Toorop is given the task of smuggling a young woman known as Aurora from Russia to New York. The task is given to Toorop by a mobster, Gorsky, who in return gives Toorop a passport back to America.
      Aurora's carer (a nun) who brought her up in the absence of Aurora's parents (Rebeka) travels with Aurora and Toorop by foot, train and submarine. Along the way Aurora displays some strange behaviour which is explained away by Rebeka until she admits to Toorop that Aurora has always held knowledge without needing to learn it first. Someone suggests to Toorop that Aurora may be carrying a viral bomb.

      Once reaching New York, it turns out that the convent Aurora and Rebeka previously lived at has been bombed, Aurora is somehow pregnant with twins although still a virgin and we learn how Aurora was genetically modified before birth to provide a manufactured miracle.
      Several deaths and action scenes take us though the story, which ends with the birth of Aurora's children and Aurora's own death.

      *********The cast*********

      Vin diesel (Toorop), Michelle Yeoh (Rebeka) and Melanie Thierry (Aurora) are cast as the main characters. The film also stars Gerard Depardieu, Lambert Wilson, Mark Strong, Charlotte Rampling, David Gasman and David Belle.
      My opinion
      I'm pretty sure that I've never had such a poor film recommended to me. I found the story line messy, the dialogue and characters not interesting enough to hold attention and the action scenes were adequate at best.

      I was left very frustrated at the end of the film, too much was left explained, too many random things had happened and I was struggling to make sense of the whole thing.
      I'm not a huge fan of Vin Diesel (I don't particularly dislike him either though, he's just not my kind of guy) but I would think that the film might be slightly more enjoyable if you are a fan of his. Although I can't see that the slight advantage of liking the actors would make this film much more watchable.

      My partner did not enjoy this film either, he described it as a waste of time. He had appeared only mildly interested after the first half hour had passed and "what the hell"-ing at the screen with me by the final scenes.
      As you probably already gathered from my opening and the fact that I only gave this film one star, I cannot recommend this film at all, I wish I had watched something else instead!

      *********The details*********

      Release date: 29th August 2008
      Directed by: Mathiew Kassovitz
      Produced by: Iian Goldman
      Running time: 101 minutes
      Based on: Babylon Babies by Maurice G. Dantec

      Babylon A.D. can be bought on DVD from Amazon.co.uk from £4.80 with free super saver delivery.

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        11.01.2011 12:43
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        You're terrible, Muriel!

        Babylon AD, released in 2008, is a sprawling mess of a wasted opportunity of a film. From the opening titles, I see it's based on a book called 'Babylon Babies' which I don't know anything about but I suspect was a reasonably well-considered portrait of a bleak, urban future for mankind, as the first third to half of the film, the settings of which presumably were largely taken from the source material, starts off quite well.

        The film opens in a city in Russia, where people live in bunker-style multi-storey tenements, armed to the teeth, wearing flak-jackets, and bartering what they can from one another in the street. They drive around, for safety, in armoured cars - if they can afford it - and all seem to want to emigrate to the United States for some inexplicable reason, because conditions in the USA as we see later in the film, seem almost as bad - with just as much gun-related crime, etc, only with a fair bit more neon-lit advertising.

        In the film Vin Diesel plays a mercenary type much like his character Riddick in 'The Chronicles of Riddick' who's also very much like the fellow he plays in the 'XXX' films, and also that guy played by Vin Diesel who races cars in the various 'Fast and Furiouses', and probably also the cop from that probable nadir of his films (so far) 'The Pacifier' (although I must admit I haven't seen that) - which is great shame because very early in his career, and despite his physique / appearance, there were various small signs that Vin Diesel was at times occasionally actually trying to act. Anyway, this Vin-Diesel-mercenary type is hired by some religious sect based in a (curiously-still-intact) Tibetan monastery to transport this beautiful girl to America for some reason that is vaguely, but not nearly adequately, addressed later in the film. The beautiful girl is accompanied on her journey by her adoptive mother, played here by Michelle Yeoh, who neatly reprises almost exactly the same role she played in 'Far North', the recent film she was in with Sean Bean about Inuit(?) hunters; in which both adoptive mother and daughter try to catch the eye of the same bloke, who despite being similar in age to the mother, goes off with the younger one instead. In that film, the Michelle Yeoh character - a in gruesomely memorable fashion - Got Her Revenge; you yearn for something like that to happen in 'Babylon AD' but unfortunately in this one she's only gunned down in the street later in the film by some Americans - with the final insult being that practically no-one, most notably, not even her adoptive daughter who she's brought up since she was a baby - even notices!

        The first part of the film in which the scene is set and our characters introduced is quite passable. There are a lot of nicely understated, quasi-feasibly futuristic touches - such as the battered old-fashioned looking paper map that the Vin Diesel character unfolds from the boot of his car, which turns out to be a 'smart paper' electronic version that works like an updated version of Googleearth; and a giant flatscreen telly / home cinema system that can't be switched off. It's when the main plot gets going that things begin to deteriorate and the film soon descends into a montage of barely-connected chase and running away scenes, culminating in a pointless and underwhelming final car-chase that seems just simply tacked on. The young girl at the centre of the drama, main player in a plotline that turns out by the end of the film to have MADE NO SENSE WHATSOVER THROUGHOUT simply drops dead - again, for no apparent reason, near the end of the film. Incidentally, I made the reference to carpentry skills in the title of this review as a reference to the final scene, which - somewhat incongruously - shows the Vin Diesel character, who is implied to now be 'living off the grid's 'Grand Designs' type refurbishment (into a multi-storey Alpine-style ski-lodge / chalet, complete with fancy fretwork dangling from the eaves, double balconies, and flower-filled window-boxes) of his family farm / shack - which earlier in the film was clearly shown as being no more than a semi-derelict, basic log cabin made of earth and wood.

        Respected actors also involved in this drivel who really should've all known better include Gerard Depardieu as a seedy criminal mastermind figure, and Jeremy Irons and Charlotte Rampling as opposing leaders of a religious cult. (Or something.)
         
        This film is currently available from amazon.co.uk for about a fiver, reduced from the massively ridiculous RRP of £24! Ye gods!

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        18.02.2010 13:48
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        A disgrace to the sci-fi genre that overcomplicates itself into mindless garbage

        It's never a good sign when even the director says he's "very unhappy with the film." According to Mathieu Kassovitz, "Babylon A.D." is "pure violence and stupidity" that's just like "a bad episode of 24," and making this film was "a terrible experience." Apparently, the studio wasn't very cooperative, the weather forced the film to go through endless setbacks, with budget concerns leading to even more problems and eventually the original running time of the director's cut was slashed down to a confusing, meager 93 minutes. So far, nothing looks too promising. And did I mention Vin Diesel is the leading actor? Enough said.

        Comparing this sci-fi mess to a "bad episode of 24" is a travesty in itself. The film can't even begin to compare itself to the most mediocre shows that manage to survive for at least two seasons. I don't see why anyone in their right mind would want to sit through "Babylon A.D." Although clocking in at 93 minutes, this feels like a chore, a painful exercise designed to test someone's patience. Diesel plays a mercenary who is given a mission to protect a very special girl, Aurora (Mélanie Thierry). Accompanying them is Sister Rebeka, (Michelle Yeoh) and the three of them set out on a perilous journey from Eastern Europe to New York.

        Clunky set-pieces try to show us that this in fact is set in 2019 and tries to pathetically mimic the atmosphere of "Blade Runner." Tacky neon lights, destroyed cars, collapsing buildings, with a touch of low-quality computer graphics all hint at the general destruction and end of the world, but it's hard for us to care when we're trying our best to make some sense of the plot. The girl is important - but why? The film tries to explain using both science and religion, but it's questionable as to whether even the writers themselves knew what they were talking about.

        And where's all the action? One thing that is guaranteed to be at least satisfactory in a Vin Diesel film is how much brute force the actor can display on screen. But in "Babylon A.D," there isn't even one action sequence long or well-choreographed enough to keep anyone entertained. Yeoh, an actress who displayed fantastic martial arts abilities with some of her previous films, hardly gets the chance to give a bad guy a good kick in the face. She shamefully waves her bag around and occasionally punches people in the face. The same goes for Diesel, and that's more disappointing. We all expected so much more.

        The sweet-looking girl quickly turns into one annoying, high-pitched, spoiled brat whose supposed innocence turns into something more obnoxious and repulsive. Because the film's entire plot is evolved around this horrifying creature, the film in general becomes less and less engaging.

        Despite the post-apocalyptic setting, the film lacks any sense of urgency. Are they running out of time? Not that we can tell. Does it really matter if she dies? Definitely not - since we're never given a proper reason as to why she's such a divine, holy figure. The actors themselves don't look too concerned that their world is falling apart, and they quite sensibly don't look too concerned about the girl either.

        It's not as if "Babylon A.D." had a lot of potential. But given how disastrous the final product turned out to be, it is safe to say that the film could have been better. Not MUCH better, but definitely could have been the rubbish-but-kick-ass-entertaining type of film. Sadly the film doesn't even reach that level at all. Note to the producers/director/studios/the people to blame for this trash, when you think the quality can't improve any further, more mindless action is actually better than nothing.

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          28.09.2009 23:10
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          A babylon Mess

          Babylon Ad is the futuristic action film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and starring Vin Diesal and Charlotte Rampling.

          The Film follows Vin's character a hired gunwho has to smuggle a modern messiah to new york to await her desitny.

          The film is awfull, with vin Diesel doing nothing to help his career he is the only redeemable thing about the film. he is a solid lead and charasmatic but has nothing to work with in the film.

          The plot could of been fantastic but this film has to many holes. Vin's character has development but is seems to of been cut on the editing room floor. He turns from badass to saint within the first hour of the film as he connects with his package as he describes in the film only to connect with her. only we seemed to of missed thebit when she made such an impact on him to change the narrative.

          The film is a mess, the concept is turned into a below standard film. Although the action scenes are good they seemed to have gone for the money shot rather than story or character development.

          The film gives you the impression a diffrent film was supposed to have been made but by either studio intervention or an inexperienced director the film falls flat and doesnt entertain in the slightest.

          One other redeeming feature of the film is the soundtrack which goes well with the movie. A mixture of rap and hip hop to angelic themes in emotional scenes its as well as Vin is the only thing that will keep you watching

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            26.09.2009 23:53
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            Vin Diesel takes on thugs from Asia, Russia and NY to deliver a girl to a sciene company

            As a film on Sky Premier I though that this would be a good film to sit and watch with the family. Within 10 minutes 2 of us had better things to do. With a storyline very slightly like fifth element, Vin Diesel is commissioned to transport a girl from Russia to New York. However the girl turns out to be the most intelligent/futurist girl on the planet. With the transportation of the girl (who has the 'dawson creek' effect of being 17 but looking 30) going from a secluded monostary in Asia to the dirty unground world of Russia to the gangs of New York. Its hard to see that mayeb Vin Diesel has taken this girl on a wild goose chase. However with a bloomsing subtle affection for each other. The 'messiah' of a girl finds herself able to battle anyone/anything and thus no one stands a chance. This film was NOT worth the time to watch. I felt the soryline was unimaginative, visually boring and the subtle romance was obvious and the only reason for the pair to be put together. This was a poor film. I expected more from Vin Diesel.

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              08.09.2009 07:57
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              Horrible movie

              Being a huge Vin Diesel fan I could not wait to get this movie home and watch it. I was sure to love it I mean Vin Diesel is in if after all. Boy what was I thinking. The plot had holes a mile wide in it. You never really understand what the movie is truly about and just when I was wrapping my head around it the story line would change just a bit leaving me even more confused.

              The movie is based on the Book called Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec. Published in 1999. After seeing the movie I have no desire to read the book I am sorry to say.

              There are 3 Main Characters in this Movie Toorop, Aurora, and Sister Rebeka. There are also several other interactions through out the movie but they always include the 3 main characters. The movie is set in a post apocalyptic world and it follows the 3 characters on there trek to North America.

              Toorop (Played by Vin Diesel) Is a for hire mercenary/terrorist. He has been hired to do a job, transport a young woman to New York city. Provided a passport and the chance to start all over again he takes the job not knowing what he has gotten him self into, and just how important his job is.

              Sister Rebeka(Played by Michelle Yeoh) The protector of the young woman she is the one that meets Toorop out side. Telling him the rules. From the beginning I like Sister Rebeka her no nonsense attitude towards Toorop is humors in a movie that needs every little thing it can get.

              Aurora(Played by Melanie Thierry) The young woman that Toorop is being paid to transport to New York City. She is an orphan left to the sisters to raise. A loving caring soul. She does not want to hurt any one or anything and will oppose any and all that choose to hurt others as she demonstrates during the movie.

              Now what did I think of this movie. I thought it was horrible. There were only a few parts that would be worth mentioning. The special effects and all the explosions are what make this movie tolerable the acting is mediocre at best. It was as if they crammed in every thing a child had once said cool to making the movie a mish mash of special effects mixed with not so good acting. I have to wonder did the plot and the story line got lost on the cutting room floor some where? There is no rhyme or reason to the movie. Seems that when the movie was dragging on with not much to keep you interested they would throw in a fight scene. Like I said the special effects are the only thing that made this movie even slightly enjoyable.

              Would I recommend this movie to any one. Not on your life. Not to my worst enemy. I would also have to say that for as bad as the movie was I would not recommend any one read the book either I mean how can the book be that much different. Sorry but not even Sexy Vin Diesel can save this movie. I will say that once again it was a pleasure to just see Vin and just how sexy of a man he really is. It was my favorite type of eye Candy. So for that its a alright movie. For the movie itself it sucked.

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                12.07.2009 09:26
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                Look lady, I'm just a delivery boy and to me you're just a package.

                I really wasn't looking forward to seeing this film at all, we rented it from Lovefilm on my sci-fi partners request, generally the idea of sitting through a Vin Diesel film would pretty much make me want to go and eat raw potatoes, I just associate him with dark, moody films and mumbling incoherently with big arms and sunglasses.

                Well was this film going to break the trend, the first thing I noticed was that it is directed by Matthieu Kassovitz, the director of one of my all time favourite films 'La Haine', immediately this put me in a better mood, although I'm aware his career has suffered with turkeys like Dobermann and other such films so still didn't hold out too much hope.

                So Babylon A.D. whats it all about.......

                A few decades in the future (This is unclear but we know that 2017 was in the past through dialogue), a mercenary named Toorop (Vin Diesel) living very roughly in a desolate Serbia accepts a contract from a Russian mobster, Gorsky (An almost unrecognisable Gerard Depardieu), to bring a young woman only known as Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) to New York. Gorsky gives Toorop £500,000 and a variety of weapons to achieve this, he also gives him a UN passport which must be injected into his neck, as all borders are now UN controlled.

                Toorop meets Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) the guardian of Aurora and the delicate young lady herself and they begin the arduous journey from their Russian convent to America.

                The Russia in this film is dark, overpopulated and dangerous, we see bombs going off through terrorists, refugee camps filled with debauchery, violence and greed and all the worst traits of human life, Toorop enters these to buy tickets to a submarine taking them to America and the violence begins as unknown troops attempt to kidnap Aurora, but we see that she has some sort of powers as people cower in her presence.

                As the submarine leaves Russia with Toorop and his cargo on board, Aurora becomes angry at the loss of life she sees with people drowning as they fail to reach the submarine, she instantly knows how to control a submarine and stops it. This freaks Toorop out and Rebeka explains that at the age of 2 Aurora knew everything and could speak 90 languages, she is special.

                Once in America to deliver his cargo, Toorop has to make a decision between his own safety and that of this young women who it is clear he really cares for. It is a tough decision that could affect the future of mankind.

                My View:

                I have to say the film itself was very interesting, I decided from the start that Diesel was not a great actor but is fine in the role of hard headed mercenary, so won't criticise his acting as I think it suits this role.

                The film looks good, the Vladyvostock Refugee camp reminded me of Mad Max or the café in Star Wars a sprawling labyrinth of menace and indecency, the snowsled travel across the Bering Strait was well done too, the planes looked menacing and some of the stunts are excellent.

                I have to say though for at least an hour the whole plot was very confusing and the action while good didn't make sense, Yeoh is amazing as always when fighting but her acting is somewhat limited in a second language, however she makes a good foil to Diesel. Melanie Thierry is a revelation as Aurora she is timid to begin with and looks like a frightened little boy, by the end she is a beautiful all knowing woman who has blossomed through the journey to understand our destiny.

                The film is flawed in many ways, in the acting, the storytelling and the visuals, it succeeds on some counts, the convent looks stunning, some of the fight scenes are gritty and realistic, others over the top gun fights and the dark dystopian vision of a soulless destroyed Russia and a soulless decadent America are good, however I liked the film. I liked the ideas that run through it, some of the gadgets were cool, however its unexplained how the trio kept being able to change clothes in a place with no food.

                The film covers themes of science v religion and some of the arguments are incredibly interesting, I won't spoil it at all but when we see what Aurora is and how she was created, it is interesting to then understand the battle that is commencing to claim her by religion and science.

                The film asks more questions than it answers and there are a number of gaps in continuity which are unexplained, however I have to say it is the first Vin Diesel film that has left me thinking about things afterwards and I found it very interesting and would recommend it to anyone.

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                  16.06.2009 01:37
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                  a film that could have been great,

                  I have to say i was hugely dissapointed with this film is has a great start ans plot seem to going along well as soon as it hits the middle and the end it seemed to signifigantly run out of steam, i really do think the budget was used up at the start so they were making do as best they can!
                  Basic plot is that its set some time in the future and van diesel is some sort of mercenary/special forces person who has commited some heinous crime and cannot get into his home country anymore, the job he gets is to smuggle this girl in his home country therefore he can stay.
                  The premise is that this lady is some sort of Messiah or is going to be a giving birth to the Messiah, who this religion is trying to smuggle in and present to the world so they can legitimise their faith, to be fair this isnt very well presented so it leaves you have to work out why this lady is so damn important!
                  so begin the adventure and at the start this is an amazing film with scenes that excite and makes you think you are in for something special this doesnt last long and you start to hate how in insults you when the special affects get lackluster, the bionics at the end looked awful! and the plot meanders and goes no wear the last few minutes of the film seems rushed and doesnt satisfactry tie all the loose ends.
                  so would i recomend it?, yes only so you can see what could have been, this could have been so good especially at the start of the film if they had better writers and the budget had not been used up at the start, (well thats my opinion).

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                  04.06.2009 23:52
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                  Babylon A.D. should be better. It has a very important message about religion, but a good watch!

                  Okay, there were a lot of mixed reviews about Babylon A.D. and i know people who were very disappointed with this film, as were most. It is basically the tale of a smuggler who has the dream to once again return to his home where he has been banished from after a series of events before the film was set. He is sent to smuggle a girl from a monastry into the now impossible-to-enter America without knowing why or what for. The problem was with this film is that they didn't make the point of it bold enough. That is why most people are disappointed. I think the film relied upon Vin Diesel's reputation a little too much and also the special effects of a future America. The point was that the religion that the girl's mother has created was a fake and a fraud: this may also have a point of saying that existing religions are also like this already. But this film is a decent watch and worth the rental cost at least. A lot of action and a good - if not overlooked - point to the story.

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                    03.05.2009 17:39
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                    A shoddy, horrendously disappointing film

                    Note: originally written for my film review website, ShaunMunro.co.uk. Thanks!

                    ~~~

                    Babylon A.D. is a film branded as "pure violence and stupidity" by even its own director, Mathieu Kassovitz, who further resolves that "parts of the movie are like a bad episode of '24'". Whilst Kassovitz's claims that Fox seized much of his creative and directorial control would surprise few, Babylon A.D. is still a sloppily directed and poorly acted film from every angle.

                    It is incredibly unfortunate for all involved that the film is so ill-conceived when noting the considerable promise at hand - fans of action heavyweight Vin Diesel have no doubt been chomping at the bit to witness his return to the realm of explosions and effects extravaganzas, since his last (albeit mediocre) effort to that effect, in The Chronicles of Riddick. As far as high-concept fare goes, the setup is at least passable, finding mercenary Toorop (Diesel) transporting a mysterious woman named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) from Eastern Europe to New York.

                    Unfortunately, the film delivers little outside of this one-sentence premise. The performances from start to finish are stale and entirely lacking in zest, perhaps no more than from Diesel, who despite usually delivering a brand of fairly likeable charisma, simply coasts through the material here, casually chewing the dialogue too frequently thrown his way. Kassovitz brings along fellow Frenchman Gerard Depardieu for the ride, yet despite his usually agreeable stylings, Depardieu is as sigh-inducing as his American counterparts, failing to escape the trappings of the film's melodramatic script. Barely leading the pack is Michelle Yeoh who, in spite of the litany of clichés leveled in front of her morally ambiguous nun character, barely manages to keep above surface, as is more than can be said for the rest of the cast.

                    Even as standard action fare, Babylon A.D. fails to deliver any sort of visceral thrills - curiously devoid of much kinetic activity for its first 40 minutes, things finally kick off in a Russian club, whereby Toorop finds himself battling a musclebound behemoth inside a cage. However, the scene ends on an unintentionally hilarious note that entirely undermines the preceding action, and makes it difficult to take Diesel's character as anything more than a hench buffoon. This scene is also the greatest indictment of helmer Kassovitz who, whilst welcome to attack scripting issues, has little to defend against his sloppy direction, made incomprehensible and disorientating by overly-frenetic camera movement.

                    Even if you are able to buy into the fact that Toorop turns down $1m to walk away from his mission, the film's threadbare plot is shamelessly protracted by cheesy instances of faux-drama and shoddily conceived action scenes. Kassovitz mentions that parts of the film are like a bad episode of 24, yet this film is twice as long, and much more excruciating to sit through.

                    The film's unintentional humour and ridiculous product placement (such as a large "Coke Zero" stamp on a plane) may tide viewers over to a degree, but they do little to rescind the film's inherently dismal quality. The final act of Babylon A.D. provides a certain change of pace, and whilst it offers an occasional dash of visual flair and a few surprises (welcome or not), the film remains bogged down by the aforementioned misgivings, and never amounts to the sum of its parts. In the film's final thirty minutes, Kassovitz opens several new narrative strands, yet never delivers a satisfying or coherent payoff, instead leaving viewers confused and alienated. It makes one curious as to whether the supposed 15-minutes excised by Fox would remedy several of these inconsistencies, yet Babylon A.D. is still an irredeemably broken film in any regard.

                    Babylon A.D. arrives at its ending with break-neck pace, its final scene taking the viewer on a perilously reminiscent trip back to Diesel's work on The Pacifier. Moreover, there is no sense of equilibrium or disequilibrium in the film's conclusion - it appears to say that good has succeeded, yet never resolves the quandary of the main antagonist, nor presents a sense of impending dread that would leave the story open-ended. Needless to say, it is sloppy, and does not work at all.

                    Regardless of who is in fact at fault, Babylon A.D. is an overblown misfire which provides little of value beyond its accidental chuckles and occasional moments of technical prowess. Any film in which Michelle Yeoh is "best of show" is evidently performance-impaired, and for all of the chances that Diesel has to really sink his teeth into this role, he instead resembles someone who has not slept for several weeks. Given the grand scale of Kassovitz's dream project and the intriguing storyline, Babylon A.D. is a hollow and banal disappointment.

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                      30.03.2009 11:31
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                      Vin Diesel on another bad ass mission

                      ~ Protecting The Miracle ~

                      Babylon AD has been out for a while now but I finally had chance to watch it last night. I heard it had a mixture of reviews mostly bad, but I always like to experience films myself as I may find it good. I didn't know anything about the film before I watched it, all I knew is that Vin Diesel was in it and that was good enough for me lol. Most of his films are pretty similar but ive always thought he was a really good actor. Another element that did draw me into hiring out the film was the director Mattieu Kassovitz, who I will talk about in a moment but I really like some of his previous work. It is an action / adventure film which is my favourite genre and it looked like it had some good special effects in which I always like to see in an action film.

                      ~ INFO ~

                      Director- Mattieu Kassovitz.

                      Mattieu Kassovitz is very interesting as he is a bigger actor than director but has still directed a few hits. I found him interesting and think he is very talented by being successful at both. A few other films he has directed include- 'Gothika' 2003 which was well known and 'Assassins' 1992.
                      Many of you may recognise his films more than his directing work as he has had star roles such as- Robert in 'Munich' 2002 and he 'Assassins' as well as directing it. Being a French director he has acted and directed many other French films as well. He is a very talented man who can produce, direct, act and write films, which is no surprise when I found out he has own 12 awards for his pieces and is in progress of directing and appearing in a new film this year.

                      Writers- Eric Besnard and Maurice G Dantec - both have written several French movies.
                      Produced- Mathieu Kassovitz and Alain Goldman.
                      Music- Hans Zimmer and Atli Oravarsson
                      Release Date- 29 August 2008 (UK)
                      Runtime- 101 Mins
                      Certificate- 12A

                      ~ PLOT ~

                      We are located in Russia sometime in the future and the cities have been turned into dangerous slums because of gang wars and terrorism. There are violent and disturbed people who do as they wish while roaming the streets. No where is safe. Bombs hit anywhere at anytime, people fire upon who they wish and many people are struggling to stay alive from mobsters and malicious men. Toorop who is our main protagonist accepts a job of protecting and delivering a young girl to American where he plans a new life away from this madness. They have to travel across these torturous Russian cities with constant life threatening events. Toorop is specialised in killing and has a lot of fire power but finds out soon after they set off that everyone is after this young girl. Gangs follow them and many try to steal her. Finding out she is special he finds a new objective in his mission.

                      ~ Main Characters ~

                      Vin Diesel - Toorop
                      Toorop is a hard-core mercenary who has been trained to kill and fight well. He likes to be by himself and has a lonely, violent life. The character is strong, cold heartened and lost until he finds this new objective where I could see him change. He looks like he has had a hard life with his tattoos, scars and slashes across his body but he still remains focused when his life is in danger.
                      - Other films include Fast and the Furious and Riddick.

                      Melanie Thierry- Aurora
                      Aurora is a unique girl who has been kept at a female refuge since she was born. She has not seen the real world until she has to cross Russia to seek medical help in America. She seems confused, upset and troubled by this violent world outside her Covent. She seems to have a special connection with Toorop who dismisses her.
                      The French actress has been involved in several French productions but made her debut in this in Hollywood.

                      Michelle Yeoh- Sister Rebeka
                      She has looked after Aurora has her own since birth and defends her as they travel with Toorop. She is strong, clever and a very good fighter. She protects Aurora with her life and has a hard time trusting anyone.
                      Michelle Yeoh is a very successful actress and has featured in some major hits including- 'Memoirs of a Geisha' 2005, 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' 2000 and 'Tomorrow never dies' 1997.

                      Other Characters

                      Lambert Wilson- Dr Arthur Darquandier (Aurora's father)
                      Mark Strong- Finn
                      Gerard Depardieu - Gorsky
                      Charlotte Rampling- Noelite High Priestess

                      ~ OPINIONS ~
                      Visual and Effects

                      The best thing I thought about the film was the special effects and visual Mise en scene of each location. The scenery for the ruined world is done very well. It looks terrifying and dangerous. I really felt that it looked like a sort of Hell, violence and death everywhere and no where being safe. The cities looked destroyed and the atmosphere of the place was dismal and bleak. I loved the way all of the buildings were ruined with bullets holes, rocket shells everywhere and it did look like slums. Toorop is seen in an 'apartment' if you can call it that, it is locked by a padlock, made of thin metal sheets and has gaps and holes everywhere.
                      I thought it was convincing and added immensely to the cold hearted and violent towns. There were just unpredictable situations everywhere. People firing when they wanted, people fighting, stealing and all this really gave me a horrid thought of how War can disrupt the world.
                      One scene that I thought was particularly hard hitting was a scene where they are catching a sub marine. People are trying to escape Russia and cues of people have to fight for places to get out. People are pushing and climbing up this huge sub to get inside. After it is filled, the soldier fire upon those who will not get off. It is a harsh way, as they can only take a number of people each time and the men onboard don't seem to care shooting children and anyone in sight. The world has a dark vision of a future ruled by death and terrorism. There were really good slow motion parts where aurora watches a rocket skim past her, I liked this a lot and it showed how close death is to her.
                      The violence was not seen too gory, since the film is rated a 12A they obviously were limited to what they could show. I didn't see why they didn't make it a fifteen and added abit more gore in. There is also a slight sexual tension between Aurora and Toorop shown but it doesn't go anywhere.

                      Narrative and Characters

                      Another element of the film I liked was the story line. It had a great main story and kept it going at a fast pace. There were a few confusing parts where you really have to listen to get what is going on. Understanding what Aurora is and why she is special is particularly annoying to follow but I did like the idea. I also really liked the ending which I will not explain for those who have not seen it.
                      A downfall of Babylon is the character developments. We only really get to know abit about Toorop and not a lot about the rest. Aurora's life is briefly explained by the sister about how she came into her care but I didn't get the feeling it showed what they were like so you could feel involved with them.
                      The character of Torrop is good. The change in his personality is nicely done but I felt there could have been abit more done with a successful actor such as Vin Diesel. Even though he mainly plays the same type of characters in all his films and still think he does them well and when he shows a more human side of him it is well filmed.
                      All of the other characters acted fine, the young Aurora was a good character and I thought she was thought of well. I liked the connection built between Aurora and Toorop even though it is pretty predictable.

                      Themes and Filming

                      The film did include a range of exciting elements which made up a good action / thriller. It included good car chases, great fighting hand to hand combat and a lot of fire power. There were many gadgets used obviously all the different guns, but also transport was varied and there was a wide range of fights in different locations.
                      The filming included a lot of fast cuts and close ups to keep up with the fighting and action. The views of the hand to hand combat fights were especially good, you feel really involved with what is going on. I didn't think it was over the top and there were some very unique establishing shots. The cold scenery of Russian slums and the beautiful woods of Canada.
                      The locations are greatly varied. Depressing cities, deserted ice lands, and manic streets of New York. These are seen in the filming locations below.
                      Filming Locations- Prague, Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway and France.

                      Overall

                      I quite liked the film even though it has some really bad reviews. The film has a rating from Rotten Tomatoes of only 7% which I think is pretty unfair. Most are saying it is badly put together. Even though there are flaws and some things could have been done better it does have a good story and plenty of action to keep you interested. I didn't think the acting was as bad as people are saying too. I would recommend it if you like these action packed thrillers like The Matrix and Blade Runner. It has similarities to all these and also The Fifth Element. It includes a harsh reality of the future if terrorism takes over and some great locations and fights. I would say to rent the film first rather than buy it.

                      Availability

                      The DVD can be brought from play.com at £6.99 which includes a special feature of all the artwork done for the film. You can also buy the DVD on the movies official website.

                      Soundtrack- The soundtrack can also be brought or downloaded for around £12.99.

                      Website- http://www.babylonadmovie.com/


                      ~ Thanks for reading- blackmagicstar4 March 09
                      On Dooyoo and Ciao ~

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                        23.03.2009 23:13
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                        A very disappointing and confusing film

                        When I watched Vin Diesel in Pitch Black, I thought it to be a fine film, requiring hardly any acting from the big man. The Chronicles of Riddick was similar, although he had a little more to do, and the FX were over the top. Throw in XXX and the strangely amusing Pacifier, and although there is nothing special, he doesn't have a bad run of films.

                        So, yeah, about that stat there, Mr Diesel. Has the author of Babylon Babies, the book upon which Babylon A.D. is based, seen what you've done to his work? I imagine he'll be disappointed, and I suppose that's putting it mildly. For Vin Diesel's latest hard-ass action offering is a badly acted, filmed and explained hour and a half of futuristic nonsense that resulted in a frown on my face for the majority of the credits as I racked my brain to try and remember when exactly I had fallen asleep and missed what the hell was supposed to have just happened.

                        Babylon A.D. is set in the future, as mercenary Toroop (Diesel) is hired by Russian gangster Grosky (Gerard Depardieu) to transport a young woman to New York. The road is fraught with danger, and the woman, Aurora (Melanie Thierry) is accompanied by nun Sister Rebeka, a sort of bodyguard nun from Aurora's nunnery where she has spent most of her life.

                        Set in a time where streets have become more slum-like and crime seems to have taken over, Toroop leads the two women from danger to danger as we start to realise that there is more to Aurora than meets the eye. Our trio of travellers are accosted by a group of goons, apparently sent from Aurora's supposedly dead father to take her to safety. Later on, we also meet goons from the other side, sent by Aurora's mother. And this is how I became confused. Toroop, the most untrustworthy mercenary, is tasked to take a woman safely across dangerous lands using only land and water transport, when both her parents want to use their considerable power and wealth to do so in a more practical manner. Surely, they must be evil, right?

                        Er, well, I don't really know. There is surely more to Aurora than meets the eye, and we do get snippets of this throughout the film from time to time, and she does seem to have an uncanny knack of knowing when somehing's going to happen or what someone's thinking, when she gets anxious and her heartbeat rises, and in essence, this does seem to be the very reason her mum is trying to keep her from her dad and vice versa. I lost track of who was who and who was supposed to be dead, and when they started going on about genetics, I was lost.

                        Upon reaching the end of the film, I confess I had to have a quick online search to get a recap of exactly what I had just watched, as I really didn't get it. The plot synopsis and detaile layout that I read cleared things up for me (light dawns on marble head!), and I actually realised that what I had seen had the potential to be a very good plot. With elements reminiscent of Jean Claude Van Damme's Cyborg, this could have been 10 time better than it was, but the stop start nature and poor acting and filming turned it into a mass of confusion with pointless being the order of the day.

                        The scenes didn't roll smoothly into each other, and while there seemed to be some pretty impressive work with some special effects, this is where the good points end, I'm afraid. It wasn't quite as bad as Alone In The Dark, which I watched recently, although that at least had an understandable plot, nor was it as pointless as Ultraviolet, but I can honestly say I wish I hadn't watched it. It wasn't Vin Diesel's finest hour, in fact it's definitely the worst film I've seen him in, and not even the addition of some usually fine cast members such as Charlotte Rampling and Michelle Yeoh could do anything about it. If anything, they only added to the disappointment.

                        Overall, I can't recommend this film, which will come as no surprise to you. I'm just glad it only ran for an hour and a half and there were at least some decent explosions!

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                          02.02.2009 17:42
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                          bad film :(

                          When watching the trailers for Babylon AD, I thought i was in for a thrilling film, with an exciting storyline, and fantastic actor Vin Diesel. However, the film really failed to deliver this, and left me feeling quite confused about what Ihad just watched.

                          The film centres around Vin Diesel's charater Toorop, who is asked to deliver a package, a girl named Aurora. Aurora is a special person who can see things before they happen, and later reveals to Toorop that she is pregnant (although she is a virgin - hard to understand?). After the usual fighting scenes, Toorop is killed and Aurora disappears. However, he is then brought back to life by Aurora's father, who was up to now presumed dead, to find Aurora. Toorop accesses his final memories before death, (with some future sci-fi equiptment) where he hears Aurora instruct him to "Go Home". Toorop finds Aurora, who has her children, but then dies during the birth. She leaves her two children, of different colours to Toorop to bring up as his own.

                          This film left me feeling rather disappointed, as it did with others I have asked about it. It was a waste of time watching and I would not recommend it to anyone!

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                            26.01.2009 11:13
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                            A very poor action sc-fi flick

                            Babylon A.D is the sort of style of film that I look forward to seeing, a science fiction film that is set in the future. Unfortunately Babylon really does fail to deliver which really is a shame as i was expecting good things from it.

                            The film sees Vin Diesel giving the task of delivering a young girl to new york played by Charlotte Rampling as well as being escorted with a type of kung fu nun played by Michelle Khan.

                            But there is some thing strange about the young girl and there are many people who are after here as he trys to get her to the destination.

                            There is just something not quite right at all with Babylon A.D, the whole film just doesnt click into place right, the plot is simple enough but sometimes you just feel like you really dont no what is going on at all. The action scenes are ok but overall arent great either although there are some decent scenes it just doesnt quite do enough though.

                            The acting is not to great as well with some very ordinary performances throughout the film and with Vin Diesel putting in his usual touch guy performance.

                            Overall I was hugely disappointed with Babylon A.D, I was certainly expecting a whole lot more from the film but the whole film just has a very hollow experience to it all.

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                              31.12.2008 11:42
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                              Mindless when it could have used a bit more thought

                              I was really looking forward to seeing this film as I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic style films. Dystopian futures and the exploration of a more savage world. So I was a bit disappointed when I finally got a chance to watch Babylon A.D.

                              Vin Diesel plays a mercenary with a conscience, a bad ass in a bad world with a soft spot for helping people out while dealing with the bad people with his own chauvinistic brand of violence - nothing new for a Vin Diesel film really but that's not necessarily a bad thing. What really fails on this film is all the things that did not really happen or events not fully explained. Years in the future and the world is overcrowded and racked by terrorism and poverty, countries are run by militaries and private armies and its up to each man to defend what he owns with a gun. That's really about as far as the whole explanation of the world goes. I wanted to see the bigger picture or at least have a bit more of an expose into the reasoning behind this mad future but its just never really delivered.

                              The majority of the film focuses on Vin Diesels attempts to smuggle a young girl (played by Melanie Thierry) from a religious sect (who may or may not be the saviour of the world) to America (where somehow she might save the world, or meet her dad (sort of)) while assisted by Michelle Yeoh, who is a kung fu nun who I can only assume is thrown in for a bit of martial arts as is obligatory for any action film these days. Throw in a bit of free-running (pakor) style bad guys, which again seem to have somehow become a mainstay of any Hollywood action film and you have a film that tries really hard to tick all the boxes but somehow missed the mark. Its almost like they producers were too busy trying to make sure they fulfilled the action film mandate without any real focus on how it was done. Even by action film standards the characters are absolutely cardboard cut outs. Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel in every film, Michelle Yeoh is well... Michelle Yeoh in every film and Melanie Thierry plays a seemingly very simple young girl with a few special powers... again nothing ground breaking.

                              Now I have no great issue with a stamped out action film for the most part, a bit of a mindless violence fest on a Sunday afternoon can be a lot of fun if its done right, sadly Babylon AD is really not. If you want to see a fantastic film about a dystopian future then go watch Children of Men, and if you want a straight up action film there's plenty more to choose from too.

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