Justin Moss

Movie Review “Babylon A.D.” (2008)

Posted on: January 9, 2009

Never under the influence of white spirits

(.. shall I rent a movie again)


Source: IMDB.com

With a score of 5.3/10 from IMDB and an inclination towards action and sci-fi, I thought this might fill my needs.  Oh, how wrong I was.

Vin Diesel never has never had a great screen presence, especially when he’s the star … and so, that reputation is further cemented by this role.  From Russia to New York by limo, train, submarine, skidoo and plane, this journey incorporates every possible inconceivability you can imagine – ridiculous stunts, implausible love scenes, inaudible dialogue, unsurvivable blasts (and wounds), immaculate conception, whiny anti-heroes and we-can-rebuild-him style resurrections.

Possibly the only reason worth enduring this poorly timed, attrociously acted and carelessly directed mess is Thierry Arbogast‘s cinematography (Fifth Element and The Professional/Leon) – though please don’t take that as a recomendation.  In fact, I am sure that the pitch for this movie to the studios relied heavily on Vin and Thierry’s inclusion – dizzy with stars on their eyes, and comfortable with the addition of some “really cool effects”, a budgeting decision to scrimp on the  screenplay cut the whole thing off at the knees (spoiler alert!).

Possibly the most disappointing utilisation of a part was that by Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) – in any fight scene with Michelle, she was wearing a heavy black duffle, making it very hard to discern any of the martial arts style movements.  To make matters worse, added to every fight scene was a unhealthy dose of wobble cam – though my suspicion is that these frenetics were necessary to cover up poor fight choreography and that Michelle was simply ‘caught in the crossfire’.

Small parts by Gérard Depardieu and Charlotte Rampling add very little to the experience – certainly nothing like the $$ they would have paid to enhance the cred of the film.

Avoid Babylon A.D. … 2 hours of your life is worth so much more than a movie in which Vin’s closing line is:

“Save the planet, one child at a time – aint that a bitch


End note: Rotten Tomatoes would have made a better barometer in this case (how ever did it score 5.3 on IMDB!?)


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