a critiQal film review Babylon A.D. (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: A mercenary (Diesel) and a nun (Yeoh), escorting a woman (Thierry) from post-apocalyptic Russia to New York, discover the woman's genes have been tampered with.

618 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 5s)
  • ...a film that sounds better on paper than it looks in execution - in other words, a typical Vin Diesel flick.

In a odd twist, it turns out we are seeing the final 2 films of our Summer At The Movies ’08 out of order. Since we were unable to catch a movie last weekend, we had planned on seeing today, following it up with our last film, Babylon A.D., tomorrow.

But, as luck would have it, we showed up too late to the theaters to catch the showing of we wanted to see, and ended up catching the next showing of Babylon A.D. today instead.

Would this odd set of circumstances turn out to be a good thing – letting us end our Summer At The Movies ’08 on a good note with , or would Babylon A.D. have been a better finisher?

Vin Diesel, not a big fan of [siteshort], is back after a few years of apparent vacation time (his last movie, came out 2 years ago, and that was just a guest role for him. His last starring role came in The Pacifier back in 2005).

While it seems the vacation time has given him a chance to work on his rather non-existent acting skills, his performance in Babylon A.D. doesn’t give viewers much hope for the future. Sure, he’s better than he has been since , but unfortunately that isn’t saying much.

He still seems a bit forced with his acting, and the caring thug he tries to portray in Babylon A.D. comes off a bit awkward. Still, it’s not as painful as it used to be to watch him on-screen, which is a definite improvement.

Michelle Yeoh, starring in her 2nd movie of the summer (she also appeared in the disappointing ) does get more of a chance to act in Babylon A.D., but she isn’t allowed the freedom she had in her standout performance in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – or even in her role in Tomorrow Never Dies – although she does get to contribute more than the token prescence she was allowed in .

Melanie Thierry, the girl the story of Babylon A.D. centers around, doesn’t really get a chance to do much acting herself, either. With the apparent command to do almost nothing but view the world with a doe-eyed stare, she stumbles her wide-eyed way through the story without really contributing much of anything.

While the basis for Babylon A.D. may have a decent plot, the plot of the film itself is largely jumbled, and gets lost in the confusion of the film. The reasoning behind the whole film is never really explained to the viewer’s satisfaction – although many of the characters, Lambert Wilson included, give viewers a couple of half-hearted explanations.

Unfortunately, the biggest stumbling block of Babylon A.D. lie in the action sequences themselves – and since this is a Vin Diesel movie, these disjointed sequences take away the reason most people are seeing the film in the first place.

While the action sequences frequent the film with great regularity, most of them are confusing to the point of irritation. The camera zips from one viewpoint to another so quickly it almost makes the viewer dizzy – and any hope the viewer had of actually figuring out what’s happening is lost in the shuffle. Instead, the viewer is left with plenty of blurry images, and only a vague notion of the action they just missed.

With Babylon A.D., Vin Diesel seems to be picking up right where he left off – decent-sounding films that fail to live up to expectations, and in fact become downright messy and confusing when seen.

Let’s hope he’s able to get back into his groove with next summer’s – but we aren’t going to hold our breath.

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