Babylon A.D. (2008) Poster


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Could have been good until the studio destroyed it...
Michael DeZubiria3 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My first reaction to Babylon A.D. was that it's not nearly as bad as its own director, Matthieu Kassovitz, has been claiming it is, although that reaction came to me before I got to the end of the movie. The movie has a cool set-up and a few good action sequences, although they suffer from that all too modern symptom of having been put together by editors who must have been on some kind of amphetamines. Like so many other recent action films (Death Race, for example), the fight scenes and chase scenes and whatnot are cut together so fast that they fly by with dizzying speed, and you move on with the rest of the movie with only a vague impression of what just happened.

Vin Diesel stars as Toorop, a hardened loner of a mercenary whose latest mission is to escort a mysterious young woman from a convent in Russia to America (where he is listed as a terrorist), although like so much of the rest of the movie, we never learn why. Michelle Yeoh comes across as a bizarre casting decision for a bizarre character. She plays Sister Rebekah, Aurora's guardian. This woman I just don't get. She's Chinese and plays a kung-fu fighting nun in Russia.

She and Toorop have an immediate power struggle, and then during the mission Aurora exhibits more and more strange powers and abilities. She can feel other people's pain, she can operate old submarines, and can predict the future. The rest of the movie is basically Toorop's mission to get her to New York alive, avoiding the mysterious figures pursuing her for their own agenda, and figure out what's wrong with her along the way.

The movie moves along from one on-location set piece to the next, with action scenes and fights popping up out of nowhere and then wrapping up nicely as our heroes rush off screen to the next set. But I would argue that at least most of the action is fun along the way.

Unfortunately, I happened to have learned before watching the movie that a 160-minute version would be released in Europe, compared to the 90-minute version I just saw, and let me tell you, you can really feel the blank spots. There is, for example, a major, major plot development revealed in the third act of the movie that is so bizarre that it's almost like someone slipped in a page from a completely different movie. It comes from nowhere and goes nowhere, and adds nothing to the movie except provides a spot to slide in the ending, which leaves you with the feeling that the writer was hit by a truck or they ran out of money or just lost interest. The end is so sudden and so witless that the movie immediately transformed in my mind into an endless maze of loose ends and confusion.

There is a brief scene in the movie where Sister Rebekah explains hers and Aurora's history to Toorop, but it doesn't explain anything and doesn't really matter anyway, because the story is so clearly just a backdrop to the futuristic landscapes and the cookie cutter fight scenes, many of which are hilarious in their badness. There is one scene, for example, where the trio outrun not only a couple of what look like futuristic Stealth bombers, but also their missiles, and they do it on snowmobiles!

I don't think we ever learn the exact time period, but the futuristic element of the film is badly incoherent. New York City is jam-packed with neon advertisement, fold-out road maps are like Google Maps on paper and touch sensitive, and taxis have scrolling message boards on their sides, but Coke Zero is still around and advertising on passenger jets and the bad guys drive vintage, mint-condition 2008 Range Rovers. They must really like classic cars.

I have to say that Babylon A.D. left me with the feeling that it could have and should have been so much better than it was, and I'm guessing that was the money-hungry hand of the studio that swept away all of the good parts of the movie. I'm hoping that when Babylon DVD comes along it will include the uncut, 160-minute version that the Europeans saw, along with an explanation of why it was so badly butchered before released to American audiences. At any rate, any Director's Cut is sure to be a different movie entirely. I recommend waiting for it.
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A mess
seawalker3 September 2008
I like Vin Diesel. Even if he is not flavour of the month anymore, if he ever was, I make no apologies for that statement. I have a story I would like to share.

In 2002, after the release of "Pitch Black" and "xXx", and even though I was possibly too old to indulge in such childishness, I wrote Vin a fan letter. I expressed my admiration for his work and politely requested an autograph on a magazine, featuring Vin on the cover, that I had enclosed with a stamped addressed envelope. A month later the magazine arrived back and it had been autographed.

I have no idea if the autograph is genuine. It may well have been signed by Vin Diesel, or maybe it was just signed by somebody in Vin Diesel's office. I will never know. Do you know what? I don't care. Somebody went to the effort to send that autograph to me for that I think that Vin is sound, is cool and I give him much respect.

I just wish that Vin appeared in better movies. This brings us to "Babylon A.D.".

Good things. The presentation of the near future world in "Babylon A.D." is beautifully done. Compare and contrast the difference between the collapsing, grunge-like, shabby Eastern Bloc, with the hi-tech, neon lit New York. Very well put together. "Babylon A.D." also has a really intriguing cast (Charlotte Rampling, Mark Strong, Michelle Yeoh, Gérard Depardieu), some good action sequences and an interesting, if derivative, plot.

Bad things. "Babylon A.D." is a mess. There is evidence of extensive tampering with and shortening of the movie in the editing suite. (I read one rumour that 70 minutes had been cut from the movie, although the Director claims that this was more like 15 minutes.) The ending is absolutely awful and apparently not the one that the Director intended.

Director Mathieu Kassovitz has mostly disowned "Babylon A.D.", calling it a movie of 'pure violence and stupidity'. There is nothing wrong with cinematic 'pure violence and stupidity' as such, but I for one would like to have seen Mathieu Kassovitz's original vision. It could have been great.

Such a shame. I have always felt that Vin Diesel could have been the new Stallone, but bad choices have turned him into new Van Damme.

Still, "Babylon A.D." is currently the #2 film at the US Box Office, so what do I know?
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Interesting Futuristic Details Stitched into a Poor Story
zerogirl427 September 2008
Wow. I didn't have high expectation, but thought I'd at least enjoy Babylon AD. I like just about anything science fiction and most B movies. Babylon AD seriously got the Homer Simpson treatment which I explain later in my review.

The setting is the world in ruins after nuclear war. Vin Diesel comes in as the anti-hero, terrorist hired to deliver a "package" to the US. Enter Michelle Yeoh as the protector and chaperone to the package. She's excellent in her role as a nun in a seemingly peaceful cult spouting lines such as, "just because we are peaceful, doesn't mean we are weak." There are some nifty special effects and enough mystery at the beginning to make me believe the film is going to get 7 stars.

Except for some futuristic technology, that's about it for the good parts of the film.

As for the bad parts, have you ever seen The Simpsons episode with Mel Gibson? The last half hour of Babylon AD is treated like Homer Simpson's version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I'm not kidding. It was shockingly bad and truly follows Homer's vision.

I'm still not quite sure what point the movie was trying to make. The story becomes so muddled and the acting is so bad at times that I had no idea what was going on. About 3/4 through the movie, one of the most awkward sexual tension scenes is thrown in for the hell of it. There's no build to it and it makes absolutely no sense, which unfortunately becomes the recurring theme until the end.
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Not That Bad... Not That Great, But Not Bad
Brandon30 August 2008
It was decent. The action sequences were definitely a bit choppy, especially the first one. Also, there were a few times when I had to go "Is that even physically possible?" and the ending left a few loose ends still left, so I was sort of disappointed with that.

If you don't pay attention, you will hate this movie. It moves fairly quickly, so once you miss something, it's gone and you will be lost. So pay attention. The story is actually pretty good and actually feels down to earth, which is more than I can say about quite a few sci-fi movies.

For the record, I went into this movie not expecting much more than average, and I was slightly surprised. If you go in expecting the next academy award winner, you will completely despise it. It is no Dark Knight, so don't expect it to be. There's not much there artistically, so, if you don't like a movie simply trying to be entertaining for the sake of being entertaining, then you won't like this one. All in all, it was a good watch, not entirely worth the price for a new movie, so I suggest waiting until it comes to the cheaper theaters (if you have one near by).

As another note (and I'll probably get some heat for this) I actually enjoy Vin Diesel as an actor. This is not his best performance, but it's certainly not his worst (even though I still moderately enjoyed Chronicles of Riddick, I admit it was pretty bad and to this day I still don't know why I like it.) I think Diesel is good at what he does, although he really hasn't been in anything that really blows me away, even my favorite Diesel film (Pitch Black) wasn't completely stunning, but it was really good. With that in mind, this is a Vin Diesel movie, so, if you're not like me and you don't like Diesel, you will not like this movie and should just steer clear of it.
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Find the longer cut!
arctic_loonatic11 June 2009
I fortunately watched Babylon A.D. first from the net and it seems it was (unfortunately) the wiser thing to do because it was the longer cut! Babylon A.D. is not a bad movie even with the 90 minute version but it lacks heavily what the longer cut offers.

I was mostly disappointed (therefore rating 6 which would've been 8++ something otherwise) about the ending of the shorter version which really sucks if you have seen the other one (i did think that here in Europe they would automatically release the 160 min version but no..). Money wasted on that 'cos I was not expecting this kind of cut.

Nevertheless I still enjoyed the plot, the visuals and the very stylized world what this movie brought to the table. The action scenes were also enjoyable. Hopefully Hopefully the better version will be released on DVD! Shame on you studios for not giving this movie the respect it deserves!
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The perfect example of suit and tie butchery.
Jamie Ward8 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There's a lot to be said for a movie that has its director up in arms claiming that he hates his own creation before it has even been released, and while it's hard to escape the film-makers statements whilst watching, you can't help but feel sympathetic for such a person. Babylon A.D. is the perfect example of suit and tie butchery; an artistic, intelligent piece of work obviously dragged down in the cutting room into an incoherent, clunkering mix of the genuinely interesting and the downright mundane. Suffering from narrative that jumps about far too often to sustain a sense of linear storytelling and character, plus boasting action scenes which, to be fair, deliver lukewarm entertainment at best, this latest offering –or butchered vision- from director Mathieu Kassovitz is flawed, but not to point of absolute disaster. Of course it's hard to determine whether the director's personal vision would have been any better, but there's no denying the moments here that do shine well above all the others.

In between the stunted narrative and storytelling lies an interesting, socially relevant and viscerally compelling vision of a post apocalyptic dystopian future riving with ugly survivalists out only or themselves. Taken from the perspective of all the other dystopian, science fiction action movies, Babylon A.D. hardly does anything of an innovative or groundbreaking nature, but its visuals and consistently moody tone resonates throughout the film, creating an intriguing palette of colours to watch. Nevertheless, although Kassovitz doesn't necessarily cover any new ground, he does what is expected in this area with enough of a vision, and a sense of coherency that far outshines the rest of the feature. To be sure it's no Blade Runner in terms of innovation, but the style that is present here is highly reminiscent of Ridley Scott's masterpiece, only without the flying cars and far advanced technology; it's a dark, moody and unpleasant world, stricken by poverty and the backlash of nuclear war, and Kazzovitz makes sure to always make it interesting with the help of Thierry Arbogast's poignant photography punctuated with Atli Örvarsson's tragically sombre score.

Of course a film that is all about its sets and special effects is hardly a movie at all, so it's relieving that despite certain missteps, there are also many elements that further these themes and tones outside of the aesthetics. Lead character Toorop (Vin Diesel) is a perfect example of how such an environment can completely embody a character, and Diesel is just the man to do it. Hard headed, intolerant, brash, and street wise, Toorop is a grizzled mercenary, sent on a mission to escort a girl named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) to New York, all details naturally withheld. Aurora is almost the antithesis of Toorop; warm, gentle and sheltered from the ugly world outside her convent, she off-balances the soldier well enough to stop the feature from getting too wooden. Both actors manage to strike up enough conviction in their roles to sustain compelling characterisation when it is allowed, and as a result, an engaging character story within this incredibly distant world is realised.

Unfortunately however such elements quickly go to waste after the first act when those in charge of cutting and pasting start to go wild. Being thrown around like ragdolls, these characters soon find themselves in all sorts of elaborate action scenes; some which work nicely enough, but most of which feel contrived to point of absolute absurdity. A key example of this lies in the middle of the feature where we go from a submarine, to a snowmobile chase with Cylon-look-a-like jets, to a hotel room in the space of ten minutes. Jarring would be an understatement. Yet this example is just one of very many that only seems to increase exponentially as the movie wears onto its anti-climactic, ridiculous ending. There's no pacing, no momentum and more importantly, no consistency of tone, characterisation or narrative; it's just a bumbling mess of drama-action-drama-action that reeks of terrible, misinformed editing processed by a studio unconvinced of the original cut's ability to pull in the cash.

Conclusively it would seem that director Mathieu Kassovitz made the right, artistically driven decision in detaching himself from the final cut of what was no doubt a proud vision of his. Yet blessed with the director's ability to bring out some fitting performances and craft a world that jumps out of the screen, provoking thought about civilisation and humanity, key elements of his vision still remain under the ruins created by the lazy editing. One can only hope that Kassovitz gets to take part in the latest trend and have his own cut released on DVD in the future, but for now I cannot recommend paying money to see this. Filled with some fresh, well conceived ideas and themes, all focusing around compelling characters, Babylon A.D. is a mixed bag of great moments with terrible ones (and quite possibly the worst ending of 2008), all sequenced together incoherently and without any feel for pacing or focused structure. It's a cinematic Frankenstein; powerful and with meaning at its core but put together with little care for its inherent substance within. There's value here, but you'll have to look deep and would be best leaving ten minutes early.

  • Written by Jamie Robert Ward (
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A tangled, knotted mess that stops caring before you do
bob the moo26 December 2008
Toorop is a "bad-ass" who does things in line with his chosen lifestyle. When he is "approached" by the shadowy but powerful Gorsky to transport a girl from his home in Russia across into New York (where he is wanted on charges) he accepts the job. He collects the angelic Aurora from an ancient monastery along with her guardian, Sister Rebeka and the journey begins. Many are the dangers ahead but soon Toorop realises that the greatest danger may be Aurora herself.

This film got roundly bad reviews and, if you manage to make it through 90 minutes then you will find out for yourself why that was the case – it is not something that the film hides from view. With any sort of "full world" sci-fi, the risk is always that your design of that world will make it look ridiculous and also lack any sort of logic as to why things would be that way. There is an element of that here but the bigger problem is much tighter to the core of the film – the story itself. The vast majority of the film is a journey where the dangers and the stakes are increasing at each step. We don't learn a lot as we go but for me there was enough to keep me going because I wanted to see where it was going. However as it reaches a point where things should start coming together and the "bigger picture" take over the narrative flow from all the running and shouting that it has been for the majority, well, well then it just falls apart.

Except "fall apart" is not the best description for it because really what happens is that it becomes incredibly tangled. Last week I had the pleasure of using two sets of tweezers and a very bright light to untangle a tiny silver necklace belonging to my partner – no part of it stood out as different, it took a lot of work to make sense of the different parts of this massive knotted ball of a chain and it took me ages to translate that knot into a chain again. I mention this because in a way this film is the same by the end because just where you want it to be coming together in a big way, all that happens is it becomes more knotted and more nonsensical. Sadly there is nobody working to make it anything other than this and the closest thing to a "chain" that we end up with is a horrible ending that feels like the makers holding their hands up and saying "Look, I think we all agree that we should probably just bring this whole thing to a close without any fuss and all go our separate ways. Sorry". Some who love this film (and there are some – there are always some) will explain it to you and help you see what you missed; this is never an easy conversation because even those defending the film have to work with their tweezers and such to pull sense out of it. And once they do – once you and I understand the plot and more or less what was going on, we will still be left with one undeniable fact – we still don't care.

Caring is the problem that occurs due to the terrible narrative. At the start I was interested as I was just starting out but, the more it went on, the less I cared. It didn't engage me or give me reasons to keep being interested and by the time the awful ending came round I simply didn't care enough to be angry by how little closure it gives the story. I'm not sure where the fault lies but I suspect it should be evenly spread. The script is poor and the delivery of that script is poor. The cast must have seen something better than I did because there are some solid names in here – certainly it wasn't a matter of "oh, Vin is on board? Sign me up then" because that ship has sailed. Diesel himself is his usual solid screen presence. I'm still not a fan but he can hold the attention and is physically imposing. I won't waste your time considering his performance outside of that but suffice to say that with the material as poor as it is, he had little chance anyway. Yeoh deserves better while Thierry seemingly has no idea what her character is, so she settles for just being irritating for most of the time. Rampling, Depardieu, Strong, Wilson and others all show their faces but nobody knows what they are doing and it all feels like everyone was hoping that the action and sci-fi spectacle would cover this.

Visually I did quite like the film even if some of the scenes are unconvincing "near-future" clichés such as the club which is all scaffolding and violence (but yet rammed) or massive explosions for no real reason. Overall though Babylon A.D. is a mess. It has your bangs and your tough swaggering but it is not big or fun enough to just get by on that. Indeed by its own hand it puts a lot of pressure on the plot to drive the film and then delivery at the end – neither of which it does. It starts simple and gets more and more tangled and then, as a final scene, you are presented this knotted mess and expected to say "thanks". The only saving grace is, by the time that happens, you will probably care so little about the film that it won't matter.
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Babylonga A.D. I'd like to call it
Kristine6 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I had the opportunity to see Babylon A.D. today and just decided to go ahead and give it a chance, from the trailer it didn't look so bad. I know a lot of people have a thing against Vin Diesel, but I don't think the guy is so bad, he makes a great action hero and also makes a lot of movies very entertaining. Just look at the Fast and the Furios as well as XXX, you have to admit those movies would be nothing without him. But we have Babylon A.D. now, a lot of my co-workers at my theater warned me that it was pretty bad, but like I said, some people just judge too harshly, I just wanted to see it for myself. Sadly, they were right, the first hour actually had me, I was like "Are they crazy? This movie is pretty decent..." then the ending happened, well, what ending? This film felt so rushed, I was expecting a narrator to speak over and say "Sorry folks, we forget to tell you about the sub plot".

Toorop is a mercenary who has just been given an assignment, it seems pretty simple, he just has to deliver a girl from Russia to New York City, unfortunately, it's not that easy. In a world where you have to be a strong person to survive, this girl is something special, with her protector, Rebeka, Toorop leads them to New York discovering that the girl, Aurora, is pregnant with twins that are going to save the world, but they can't discover who to trust since everyone is pulling them in different directions on who will kill her or who wants her alive.

Babylon A.D. is just poorly put together. While I think it was an interesting story, it just could have been so much better and should have been told more properly. Sadly, the only character that we really get to know is just Toorup, who is played by Vin Diesel, he is the only one with depth, while they could have had a little focus on the girl, Aurora, how did she get her powers or was she really ill? What was the history and was she destined for all of what happened to her with her children? There were so many questions that were left unanswered. Over all, this isn't a terrible movie, but I would say definitely to wait for the rental, because while the effects are very good and the whole setting is disturbing, it's the story that leaves you dumbfounded and just bummed that the story ended the way it did.

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Not Vin's fault
ahart502 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The failure of this film can not be lain at the feet of the actors. They did the best they could with what they were given... this movie was just so horribly cobbled together by the writers no actor could have saved it.

The best word I can find to describe this film is "unstable" - it starts out simple enough. A girl with special abilities needs to be transported from point A to point B and protected from people trying to kidnap her. Okay, so we make our way across a vaguely realized quasi post-apocalyptic Eurasia... along the way we catch glimpses of the girls abilities... she's clairvoyant... she's telepathic... she's empathic... (but apparently has no amazing healing powers so there goes the second-coming premise) good stuff. So, sure we can see why many organizations might want to get their hands on her.

So they're at one stop off and the girl takes off with one of the groups. Exciting so Vin and Michelle will be chasing them across the world to get her back and... oh no wait... they catch up and stop them. Uh..okay, never mind.

So then they toss in "maybe she's carrying a viral weapon"... ooh! I don't see why that would give her psychic powers but okay that would be a cool plot! Not sure why we're changing plots a quarter the way in to the film but whatever.

So we fight out way to the border with a few weak plot devices to make sure there's only the 3 of them when they cross. So we're at the border and Aurora (how old is she supposed to be again?) starts to make a lusty move on Vin... okay let's toss in a romance... oh but they're interrupted.. and... that's it? It's never brought up again?

So the cross the border and fly to New York... well so much for transporting. So they get to New York and the religious sect shows up and it turns out she's pregnant and not just that a virgin pregnancy! Ohhhhkay.... so we can just toss the whole viral weapon plot... And it turns out the religious sect want to use her to legitimize themselves. Never mind they already seem to be one of the most powerful organizations in the world somehow. So lets get this straight... Aurora was a virgin birth.. her twins are a virgin conception.. and Aurora has psychic powers. But for some reason the sect will be killing her. Right. That makes no real sense at all... but so now the sect are the bad guys, right.

So they take her downstairs to deliver her when Vin has a change of heart and starts fighting them... with an army or Russian bikers and an army of sect goons standing around making sure he doesn't. So they fight their way through and for some reason the Russians and the sect are shooting at each other? Whatever I guess... and somehow all this gunfire and launching of missiles doesn't attract the cops.

So we kill Michelle and kill Vin and we discover Aurora not only knows martial arts but also has telekinetic powers. Why the hell does she need protecting again?

The movie could have ended there... say maybe use the premise she was just coming into her powers and when Vin dies it's because she doesn't need his protection any more. Ah - but that would be too easy.

No, lets resurrect Vin with Bionic parts, reveal that the girl was manufactured (okay) and has a super computer for a brain (oh come on! give me a break!) and that her powers are coming from the twins (sigh). So he needs to find her and keep protecting her. What is this? A TV show pilot where they spend the first two seasons running from town to town evading the religious nuts?

So he goes and gets her in the most obvious place the plot devices could have sent her and they defeat some more religious guys.

Then flash forward and she dies in child birth (so much for super advanced medicine of the future when a healthy 17-18 year old woman dies in child birth) and makes Vin promise to take care of the kids.

And we close with a scene of two racially different twins (oh sure... at this point whatever, right?) being cared for several years later by bionic Vin with a cryptic "let's go inside, there's a storm coming"... you SURE this wasn't meant as a TV pilot?
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Sadly average
bladou25 August 2008
I should say first that I don't know the book this movie is adapted from, so I just mean to give an opinion on the movie itself and the way it's handled.

Director Mathieu Kassovitz has been in the business for a while now and is a well complete actor as well and still something about this project went wrong. The story itself seems solid - and somewhat I can imagine the book being just great - but the movie looks rushed with only the most important and visual parts shown.

Actually, it's a kind of annoying experience as you can see how really good it could have been if they only did a better job on the background and the storytelling instead of mixing everything from the book in an action packed movie. Now being totally honest, the action isn't great at all thanks to the shaky hand cam effect (The Bourne Legacy I guess ...) and uninspired choreography. Same goes for the acting : Depardieu and Wilson are easily the worst : they would have read the script for the first time it wouldn't have surprise me.

Considering all the good material it certainly feels like a misproduction, someone said the director and actor Vin Diesel were having different opinions and I do hope the latter won because if Kassovitz did it the way he wanted I'd be really disappointed.

We've been awarded with such great movies around the same kind of subject (Children of Men to name one) that this one seems pale compared to those.
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About the ending
zillahworld17 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen the version released in France and the one released in the US. There are few minutes added in the french one, and above all at the end we don't see this ridiculous scene with the kids ; we hear that they exists, and we see Aurora's death. Not a big difference, but at least we avoid this stupid happy end, by not knowing what's to be next Aurora's death. Wait for the director's cut! (someday?) Maybe you'll appreciate it for what it really worth : A good action movie with great future vision and atmosphere. Vin Diesel did a descent job to me, some action scene are unrealistic but we're kind of used to it, and it's really no big deal. The main problem to me is that a lot of questions are unanswered, and I'm not sure we'll see a sequel someday :(
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Actually, not all that bad
desertsunset-11 September 2008
Considering the problems reported with this production I thought the film wasn't all that bad. Sure, some of the dialogue was hokey, but I'd like to see a director's cut. That way perhaps it might help support the director's claims, or it might suggest otherwise. The location's were great and some of the ideas were interesting. When will studio knobs learn stop meddling. Unless there are really serious and legitimate problems they should stay the hell out of the director's way. The IMDb says the budget for this film was $60 million. Interfering has helped ensure that it's unlikely to break even. Maybe on DVD it might. I'd watch a sequel, provided Vin is in it.
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happyvibes7 September 2008
I enjoyed the movie. The locations were visually interesting. I liked the camera work. There was a lot of action, but everything happened so fast it was hard to follow the action scenes. Vin Diesel is interesting and entertaining to watch, and if you enjoy his movies, then you will like this one.

I am going to have to read the book to understand what the plot really was about. The explanation of the plot seems to have been sacrificed for more action. I like reading sci-fi, so this gives me something to look up when I go to the bookstore. When I read the book, I will think of the movie and it will be fun.

If you like exotic locations and nice camera work, fast action scenes and don't mind some foul language, its a fun movie.
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Incredibly Disappointing Movie
spiderman11200430 August 2008
Wow, i don't even know where to start. I'd first like to say that,im usually generous and optimistic when i see movies, and usually films my friends say suck, i say they are okay, or when my friends say they are okay, i say it was great...This one failed in 2 very important aspects of storytelling. One, they were confused as to what the climax really was and two, there's no resolution or their pathetic excuse for one was terrible. I don't know whether they are setting up for a sequel or what but the ending was laughable(literally people laughed at the ending). Its all disappointing because the movie looked liked it had potential. the acting was average, but i didn't expect much from vin diesel and Michelle Yeoh did a decent job, other then that wait to this hits USA or TBS, don't even rent it from blockbuster, its not worth it.
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90 minutes is not the show.
John Battey10 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Get the double sided DVD and don't even bother with the shorter theatrical cut. The suits who butchered this movie in the name of preparing it for US audiences need to be drummed out of the industry. The unrated longer version actually tells a story worth seeing, even if it is only 140 minutes instead of the 160 said to have been released in Europe.

Vin Diesel may not be a great actor, but I think he understands his limitations & uses his talents well here. His facial portrayal of the emotions in the final scene is very good. He does equally well in the lighter moment when his wounds are being treated after they get past the drones at the border. That said, I must admit I enjoyed Vin's work in "The Pacifier" and "The Iron Giant" also.
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muddled story ruins sci-fi adventure
winner5528 February 2009
Let's start at the end. Direct discussion of the point of the whole story could hardly be a spoiler, since the final success or failure f this point is left for readers to discover, if they are still interested. If fact, if the film makers had made the point explicit at th very beginning, they would have made a much better movie. But to demonstrate how they have subverted the best interests of the film, here are three comments from three recent reviewers expressing confusion as to the identity of the woman at the core of the story: "The virus they thought the girl might have was never explained. Beyond that it made her some kinda bomb, maybe... But wouldn't they be afraid of catching it?" - dkpedigo.

"What he does not know, but soon learns is the knowledge the girl may be a sleeper threat to him, his boss and to those who don't want the girl to live after she arrives in America." - thinker1691.

"According to the film, the Neolites needed Aurora intact so they could establish their religion by showing that one of their own had twin virgin births." - bnvrohm.

I actually ran through the end of this film three times before I finally got it: A virus is devastating North America and Aurora is a test-tube baby genetically designed to produce a race of superhumans who can survive the virus (by healing very rapidly) and reproduce without sex (which has left Aurora a side-effect of intense empathy). Consequently, the battle between the two scientists who effectively designed her is one of control, neither of them wants her dead, no matter what else they feel for her or what other use they may have for her. The former point needs explaining which never occurs in the film, and the latter point is senselessly obscured by the intense violence of the last major gun battle. And the decision to make both points mysterious has led to a conclusion that is confusing and unsatisfying, both intellectually and emotionally. I won't tell you exactly what happens, that would spoil it; but I suggest that after you've seen it you'll wonder if you care.

That said, the film is not a total loss as cynical sci-fi action film. Diesal actually gives a good performance here. There are some exciting action set-pieces, the dramatic and satiric set-pieces are occasionally intriguing, and the world of Babylon AD may be unpleasant but it is fully realized, which is the first demand for any sci-fi film.

But there's no doubt the story needed much more thought and better control than we see here. This journey should be leading somewhere, but when we get there, we wonder why we bothered.
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Vin Diesel's comedy of errors that went to infinity and beyond.
dvc515931 August 2008
This is another sad case of promising beginning, meeting with a horrible conclusion.

Well, watching this with your friends will most probably end you up in a MST3K screening. I experienced that. Yes, this movie is bad, and what's worse, I went in with low expectations. I wanted to like this movie, really I did. Sadly, it went the other way. Indiana Jones may breathe easy, as this unintentional laugh fest makes Vin Diesel's career floundering.

The acting is mostly weak. Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel, no different than that of his previous films (if you can excuse "The Pacifier" and "Find Me Guilty"). He still tries his best to act, but to no avail as the film keeps sinking to new depths. Michelle Yeoh's case is similar to that of Diesel: both are action stars who seem lost in this cinematic wreck. Their eyes bear a dawning moment of realization that they are in this movie. A bad one at that. Melanie Therry is nothing more that eye candy, as her central plot device is wasted by the film's end. That having said, she does pull a convincing performance, but that's all. Gerard Depardieu is embarrassing to watch as a crime lord, why the hell would he mark a long absence to mainstream cinema with this crap? But the real hammy is Charlotte Rampling. My. God. She really hams it up with that queen motherb*tch of hers. Really, what was she thinking? The direction, if there is any, is empty. Obviously there was a feud between director Mathieu Kassovitz and Twentieth Century Fox, if so you know. There are scenes in which you can tell the direction has no heart and the characters are just boring and flat. And the action sequences, some are laughable (American secret agents with monkey king abilities), some are impressive, some are flat, some are ripped-off, and it morphs into one big mess. Although the cinematography and directing is good, the editing and overall synopsis of the film are disgraceful. No wonder Kassovitz disowned the film.

The story seems like it was ripped off from the masterful Children of Men, and they mashed it up with another forgotten cheap action film, Cyborg, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The screenplay is even worse, with laughable dialog in parts. The costume design must also be criticized. Really, biker thugs who look like The Green Goblin Quadbike Fan Club. Or, said American secret agent wearing the power logo you can find on your PC. What the ****? And if it's set in a post or pre- apocalyptic world, than I would not mind, as the living conditions are favorable (this wasn't shown until near the end of the film). What's up with that? Product placement is funny as hell. New York City becomes Corporate World, where every skyscraper and sidewalk (and in one occasion airliner) has a giant advertisement/commercial. Yes, it's true. Only the special effects are good, they are impressive, for a US$ 60 million dollar film. But they're wasted here.

Honestly, I thought this was worse than "Star Wars: The Clone Wars". Vin better step up with that Fast and Furious movie on the works, which could very well be his key to reviving his career. As for this film, if it had a director's cut I would give it a chance, but unless you want a MST3K experience with buddies, avoid this like the plague.

Overall quality: 2/10
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Babylon A.D.D.
borchardt_michael2 September 2008

Do you like headaches? Do you wake up everyday saying "Today sure is a great day to see a movie that could have been great, but I'd rather be confused!" Well then go see this movie! I don't really know what else to say, you can't really rate a movie as good, or bad, unless there is a movie to rate. It was so jumbled around with drastic scene changes, a plot that you don't even understand at the end of the movie, and uhhh, be prepared to be in an altered state of mind when you go to see it, maybe then you'll think you get it. Otherwise you're gonna hate this movie.
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"Babylon A.D." means...
Jon Ochiai31 August 2008
Vin Diesel's star vehicle "Babylon A.D." was not screened for critics prior to release. This is usually the syndrome of cinematic demise. Surprisingly, "Babylon A.D." is a competent action movie with a compelling enough futuristic messiah story by Director Mathieu Kassovitz, Eric Besnard, and Joseph Simas. This is not a stretch for Vin Diesel, who is charismatic enough to carry the movie. However, the one thing that still escapes me is the title: "Babylon A.D". After having seen the movie, I remain without a clue. Perhaps, I have to wait for the extras in the DVD release, or not. Obviously, "Babylon A.D." slid under the promotional radar. Also despite decent production value, producers apparently filmed the movie in the Czech Republic, Sweden, and France to reduce costs. Although a fan of Vin, I really was curious about "Babylon A.D.", because of Michelle Yeoh. I am a big fan of Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "The Mummy 3"). Yeoh is beautiful and always plays strong, smart, and understated. She is a distinct strength as Sister Rebeka.

Despite itself "Babylon A.D.", ultimately works as a hero tale with the presence of Vin Diesel. In an almost incongruously touching moment in the icy tundra Melanie Thierry's Aurora asks Diesel's Toorop, "You're risking your life for me. Why?" Toroop confides "I'm tired…" He has done his share of atrocity in his life, and this may be his last grasp at redemption. He must choose whether he has "A choice to make a difference or to walk away and save yourself…" Director Kassovitz's screenplay is based on the novel by Maurice G. Dantec. Given the briefness of "Babylon A.D." which has a 90 minute running time, one wonders what was jettisoned. I suspect the original story was not exactly tailored as an action movie—the narrative is nearly minimalist.

Our hero Diesel plays soldier turned mercenary Toorop, who lives in the not too distant existential future. Toorop agrees to deliver a young girl from a remote convent in Mongolia to New York City. It is unclear what value or threat she poses. The High Priestess (scary Charlotte Rampling) of the religious Neolites is intent on possessing the girl for her own means. Toorop arrives at the convent to escort Aurora (stunning beauty Thierry). Her protector Sister Rebeka (Yeoh) reminds Toorop that he must abide by 3 rules, including no foul language. Toorop tells Rebeka, "Don't f--- with me." The innocent Aurora asks "Are you a killer, Mr. Toorop?" He replies "Yes." Aurora is strangely aware of the future. Her keeper Rebeka reminds Toorop that she is "peaceful, not weak". Rebeka is a deadly martial artist. Also seeking to obtain Aurora is her mysterious father (Joel Kirby). Aurora holds the key to the future of the world.

What ensues is measured violence and betrayal all cloaked in this global conspiracy. Kassovitz orchestrates the brutal cage fighting club mayhem. And the cathartic automatic weapons showdown in New York is striking and dramatic. Diesel brings his action A-game. Michelle Yeoh is powerful and graceful in her martial arts display. Young Thierry is effective in revealing a deceptively powerful presence.

In the end "Babylon A.D." gives us the deserved payoff. The movie works really on a visceral level, not necessarily entrenched in logic. There are some gaping narrative fissures. Then again—big deal. The movie is entertaining. Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh are strong. Take a chance on "Babylon A.D." Then tell me what the title means.
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Le sigh...
The_Amazing_Spy_Rises29 August 2008
I'm not much of a Vin Diesel fan, I'll be the first to admit. I will admit, that I enjoyed the first Fast/Furious movie and The Pacifier, as well as Triple X. He's exactly what you ask for in an action hero...but here, in this jumbled mess of a futuristic thriller, Diesel sinks his own vehicle with bland, unlikable, and just flat out detached performance.

First off, Babylon begs three questions: 1) what did director Mathieu Kassovitz do to make the studio so mad, 2) what is Gerard Depardeau doing in this movie, and 3) what happened to Vin Diesel's career? I'll answer all of those. Except number 2. I have no idea what he was thinking.

Director Kassovitz is certainly talented - there's no denying that. There are some moments where the film shines with beautiful shots, decent visuals, and some daring moves from the director of Gothika, but in the end, the editing process is so obviously influenced by the studio wanting to tone down the movie and keep it 'simple' that it really hurt the movie in the end, and it's very easy to see why the director is mad. If the movie has a director's cut, I'll give it another shot on DVD.

Vin, Vin, Vin...what happened, buddy? Five years ago you were the KING of action, and now...ugh. Diesel needs the next Fast and Furious movie to be awesome...for his credibility's sake. Scratch that. He just needs it, okay? I really felt no attachment to his character in this, even though you're supposed to go on this transcontinental adventure with him and feel what he feels, that's totally impossible because Diesel allows no room to feel what he's thinking. Michelle Yeoh, always the bright spot of movies, is a healthy addition to the film, while Melanie Thierry is absolutely gorgeous (so no complaints here). Again, I have no idea what some people were thinking. *slaps Gerard Depardeau and Charlotte Rampling*

The film is more of an apocalyptic thriller than an action thriller, and delves in to the realm of science fiction more than a few times. I especially liked Kassovitz's vision of a futuristic New York. Though not as scary as Francis Lawrence's vision in 'I Am Legend', it was still pretty dark, brooding, and intense. What action is in the movie is exciting. Though the snowmobile chase sort of came out of nowhere, it was still well done. It seems as if Vin has to have something like that in all of his films.

All in all, Babylon A.D. serves as a great example as to why studios are losing their minds *glares at the people who made Disaster Movie*, and should just let the directors and actors do their jobs correctly. There's a longer cut of this movie, I'm sure of it, and that cut will have better action, more development, and more explanation for the seemingly mind boggling events in the film. If said longer cut comes out, I'll give it a chance, and you should too. My real meaning? Wait for the DVD if you're interested at least a little.
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DavBiwan23 August 2008
I've just seen Babylon AD in Paris and i must say this is a terrible and disappointing movie and only because of the screenplay. I must say french director Mathieu Kassovitz has done a very decent job by directing the movie. The actors are good, the production design is good and even the special effects are quite stunning. But how did you miss the most important key element in a movie: The screenplay! The reaction that i had at the end of the film was: What ? That's it ? What's the point ? Where is the deep reflexion that you must find in a good Sci FI movie ?

Please give to Kassovitz a very good script because i know he can do a great film. And he is one the few french director who can direct a movie as the American does when they achieve greatness. I know he can do better. He must !
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A solid review
desispitz9 January 2009
ALRIGHT all of ya who know me well know I'm a HUGE Vin diesel fan. So here's a Lil review on the movie that I saw today (and LOVED)

Boring, not intelligent. now i've heard tons of hate from people that have seen this film in theaters. Well today I actually got a chance to sit down and watch the unrated version (which is out on DVD and blurry currently) and was really astonished!

but before i get into that let me tell u why people who saw it in theaters hated it: 1. tough to understand 2. too much fast action, no story 3. confusing ending

on the extended cut EACH ONE of these issues is looked at... and FIXED. during the production of the movie, the director of the film and Fox studios had a fight over the idea of the story (Which i cant reveal just yet) as a resolution, fox bought the script off the directors hands and just changed it and released a ninety minute version of monkey juice in theaters. Weak. and people were feeling the pain.

THen comes the DIRECTORS UNRATED RAW AND UNCUT version of the film which has about fifteen more minutes and a WHOLE bunch of edits in it. I never saw the ninety minute version, only the 115 minutes version, which blew my socks off.

Lets talk about the film now... Vin starts off as a angry guy living alone in a broken down apartment in Siberia. He's a mercenary for hire and you could probably figure out the subplot here. But then he's assigned a task to protect two lovely women (michelle ye-oh who can kick serious tail, and this other Russian hot-tie) and boy its a ROLLER COASTER the rest of the way.


its a thinking movie. This is one of those movies that after watching it you have to THINK about it and it all makes sense. I could break it down piece by piece here... but that'd ruin the idea. The film is FORCING you to think to understand by the time u reach the end. IF You're still confused call me, or message me on this, Ill explain it to you. I do admit that the ending (last five minutes of the film after a GRAND action sequence, probably the best I've seen so far in a while since batman) begins to slip, and changes courses from intense edge of your seat to slow down and think.

This movie is like the matrix, children of men, and all those science fiction classics rolled into one explosive masterpiece. IF you're looking for mindless action then you're better off not watching this movie. BUT if you're intelligent, and like solving puzzles and figuring it out, this movie is FOR YOU. I can TOTALLY understand it when I listen to a few dialogs in certain areas of the film twice, and it really makes sense to me if i tie the whole film together, not separating the ending from the rest of it (which is a HUGE mistake people are making)

This is an INTELLIGENT film, and I'd give it an A- most definitely.
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Vin at his best
brianross0319 September 2008
Even though the plot was original, you have to give it that. I thought it was entertaining. Vin was acting at his peak. He did the role of Toorop much justice in a Vin sort of way.

There are many reviews that I have read over the web and frankly I'm surprised. Call me going against the grain but I was impressed. I think the problem is that people go into movies with preconceived ideas as to what is "supposed to happen" according to how their mind sees the trailers and previews. Just sit back and enjoy, don't look for flaws, don't expect something that isn't there.

TV Guide did have this to say: 'For all its generic qualities, Babylon A.D. is well acted, briskly paced and consistently clear: Like Neil Marshall's Doomsday, it's bare-bones genre entertainment, no better or worse than it ought to be.' I rest my case.
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" I have one rule I live by; Don't trust Anyone "
thinker16911 February 2009
According to many film makers, the world of the future is a disaster. From the newest films which have become available to the viewing public, this becomes the norm. Take this film for example, it's called " Babylon A.D. " based on the original story called "Babylon Babies." In this feature, our hero is none other than popular actor and action figure Vin Diesel playing Toorop, a ex-mercenary soldier who has been reduced to a scavenging transporter of people. His assignment is to receive both an unusual young nun named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from a special church called the Noelite Convent (Michelle Yeoh) and her guardian named Sister Rebeka. He is ordered to transport them safely to America, a country where he is considered a terrorist. What Toorop understands is he is once again working for Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) a powerful and ruthless Russian underworld boss, who will pay him an extraordinary price to see that the girl arrives in America and turned over to a Dr. Newton. The cybernetic doctor is not only working for the High Priestess (Charlotte Rampling) but has his own agenda for the girl. What he does not know, but soon learns is the knowledge the girl may be a sleeper threat to him, his boss and to those who don't want the girl to live after she arrives in America. The amount of explosive drama and exciting action makes this film a genuine thriller. If the hero survives, it will happen because he broke his own fast rule. Great film, ****
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6.1 on opening day??????
pahaake29 August 2008
People please, this was one of - if not the worst movie I have seen in a theater all year. Let's start with the plot, wait was there one? If there was I missed it, something about a girl and some magical babies or something.

Was there a director? I don't know - but if there was he or she is a talentless hack that should go back to film school. I guess this was supposed to be an action movie, but the action sequences were pathetic. They were either poorly shot or poorly edited, or maybe both. The fight scenes were so badly choreographed (sp?) that it was impossible to tell who was fighting who.

Was there script? I guess because the terrible and pointless dialog came from somewhere, and I mean this was bad. Vin Diesel is not the greatest actor on the planet, but he certainly entertains (usually) and he deserved a better movie then this.

When I look at my watch 380 times during a 90 minute movie - that's not a good sign. Really, save your money and go see something that doesn't stink, if I see something worth seeing I'll let you know.
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