Babylon A.D.

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/08/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

This much-maligned sci-fi action flick is watchable for the most part and occasionally quite enjoyable but it's ultimately ruined by a truncated and nonsensical ending that smacks of studio interference.

What's it all about?
Based on a French novel, Babylon A.D. is set in the not-too-distant future and stars Vin Diesel as ridiculously named mercenary Toorop. When sleazy gangster Gorsky (Gerard Depardieu) makes Toorop an offer he can't refuse, he agrees to smuggle a mysterious young woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) and her guardian, Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) from a convent in Eastern Europe to New York, via the frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada.

However, it soon emerges that two separate groups are after Aurora and when Toorop discovers that she may have special powers, he realises that the fate of mankind may hang in the balance.

The Good
The setting, the plot and even the sets of Babylon A.D. are weirdly similar to Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men, to the point where you start expecting a bearded Michael Caine to turn up at any moment. That said, Kassovitz's vision of the future is packed with detail, even if it does go a little overboard on the product placement (e.g. airplanes emblazoned with the Coke Zero logo).

Diesel makes a fine lead, even if he's not required to do much in the way of actual acting. Still, there's strong support from both Yeoh and Thierry, while Mark Strong adds a bit of colour as an acquaintance of Toorop's who helps them secure passage on a submarine.

The Bad
Director Mathieu Kassovitz has already spoken out against the film, citing studio interference. Frankly, you can see his point – the violence has been downgraded in pursuit of a 12A certificate and the film has apparently had a good 15 minutes chopped out of it, to the point where the hideously truncated finale makes very little sense and is deeply unsatisfying as a result.

Worth seeing?
Babylon A.D. has its moments and is never less than watchable, but it's ultimately scuppered by a disappointing finale. Approach with caution.

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Babylon A.D.
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Content updated: 29/01/2020 06:16

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