Review by Jack Foley
IT’S been a long time since Vin Diesel made a good film and, sadly, Babylon AD continues the downward trend.
To be fair, the idea of appearing in a futuristic action-adventure from visionary French director Mathieu (La Haine/Crimson Rivers) Kassovitz, and based on the acclaimed philosophical novel Babylon Babies by French writer Maurice Dantec, probably seemed like a pretty safe bet.
But problems during production and subsequent editing have left even the director angrily lamenting what might have been.
Set in the not-too-distant future, the film follows mercenary-for-hire Toorop (Diesel) as he is asked to deliver a mysterious woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) and her guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) from “New Russia” to New York via all kinds of perilous terrain. In doing so, Toorop begins to realise that he may be protecting mankind’s last hope.
Kassovitz’s film frequently hints at the epic scope of Dantec’s text and touches on issues including global warming, war, people trafficking and cloning, but it consistently lacks the focus to really do them justice. Rather, it lumbers from one dull set piece to the next with scant regard for logic or common sense.
Science fiction fans will recognise the numerous films it is trying to imitate (from Blade Runner to Children of Men) but will almost certainly rue the missed opportunity and complete waste of time this ultimately represents.
Diesel, meanwhile, continues to wait for that change in fortune that can make good on the early promise he showed with films like Pitch Black and Saving Private Ryan. Perhaps the fourth entry in the Fast & The Furious franchise might just do the trick…
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD Release: December 26, 2008