darkly futuristic world of Babylon A.D., the rules are simple:
kill or be killed. Hard-hitting action superstar Vin Diesel
(The Fast & The Furious, The Chronicles of Riddick), stars
as Toorop, a ruthless mercenary hired to smuggle a mysterious
young woman from the post-apocalyptic confines of Eastern
Europe to the glittering megalopolis of New York City. Hunted
at every turn, Toorop spirits his charge across a nightmarish
wasteland only to uncover a shocking secret that will bring
the entire world to its knees. Eye-popping action and mind-blowing
science fiction clash head-on in this hard-edged thriller,
where the only rule is survival.
Even before the theatrical release, rumours have been rife
on the net that director Mathieu Kassovitz can’t agree
on a final cut of "Babylon A.D." with Fox (the studio
behind it). Shortly after, the bomb was officially dropped, Kassovitz
publicly detached himself from the 93 minutes cut of the theatrical
release proclaiming it to be nothing but pure violence and
feuds between the creative suits and studios are relatively
common, "Babylon A.D." seems to take a step further
by diluting the entire premise and plotting inserting mediocre
action sequences as fillers. And yes even big names such as
Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh can’t salvage the entire
mess. This is definitely not anyone’s baby.
from a French novel "Babylon Babies", the movie
opens promisingly enough. Diesel plays Toorop, a mercenary hired
by a crime lord Gorsky (French actor Gerard Depardieu) to
escort a young girl named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) to New
York City so that he can have the dough to return home. Aurora
is accompanied by a nun that has raised her, Sister Rebecca
(Michelle Yeoh). In true science fiction style, Aurora is
no ordinary girl, a girl that perhaps will change the destiny
of mankind and hot on their heels is a religious group bent
on destroying her.
the characters make their way from an apocalyptic-looking
Europe to snow-bound Alaska, the plot starts to give way to
clumsily edited action and chase sequences even though Diesel
still has what it takes to take control of the chaos, remember
his XXX’s tough-man Riddick persona? But who is the
mysterious Aurora? Why does she have control over a submarine?
Is she genetically altered or otherwise? I guilty snicker
at a particular scene whereby Aurora and Toorop looks seductively
at one another in the eyes while washing up in a motel, given
the already muddled plotting, I was afraid of a sudden sexual
scene popping up to further intensify the connections between
no one is paying attention to all the above questions. Supposedly
it was Kassovitz’s pet project but with the interference
of Fox, "Babylon A.D." ends up trying to be too
smart without making any justification or statements to the
audience. This extended cut from the theatrical version (give
or take, an additional 11 minutes) does little to enhance
the plot structure other than cranking up the violence factor.
Diesel obviously chooses a wrong vehicle to make a comeback
to the action arena. But if you are looking for an A-list
production with a cheesy B-grade storyline, then this one
should take the cake.
To make up for the lack of story, we have more featurettes
that we ever wanted in the extras department, just remember
that there’s no one willing to appear on screen to take
full responsibility of the final cut:
Babylon Babies – An 11 minutes interview
with the writer of the novel, Maurice Georges Dantec. He didn’t
give a rating to the movie version though.
Escape – Another 11 minutes feature that have
stunt coordinator Bob Brown discussing the stunt work behind
the Arctic sequence.
for the Screen – More stunt work is discussed
right here including interview with leading man Vin Diesel.
Hummers in Flight – This is the third
one that talked about stunts. This time, the Hummer chase
to Babylon A.D.: Genesis of Aurora – A 5 minutes
animated graphic novel that tells Aurora’s backstory.
Scene: Hummer Sequence – I wonder why this
nicely staged action sequence was deleted though.
Gallery – Self-explanatory
The DVD is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1
widescreen. The colours are sharp and vivid although certain
scenes are intended to be gritty. I particularly adorned the
snowy arctic chase sequence which looked perfect even on the
small screen. Dialogue is detailed and sound mix is strong
with the Dolby Digital 5.1, the big explosion at the Russian
train station is a good example of it.