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Babylon A.D (SE)
DVD disk
02.06.2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
Babylon A.D (SE) order
Director:
Mathieu Kassovitz

Actors:
Vin Diesel
Michelle Yeoh
Melanie Thierry

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A rogue mercenary (Diesel) is offered a proposition he can't easily walk away from. Provide safe passage for a gifted young woman (Thierry) and her guardian (Yeoh) across a futuristic wasteland to New York City and he can disappear rich. Knowing from jump street that something isn't quite right, he faces a difficult choice and an even deadlier road.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Adapting a novel to the screen is a volatile experiment. And the Sci-Fi and fantasy genres often become victims of their own genius. Such is the case with BABYLON A.D. Visually, the movie is breathtaking. The landscapes, the technology, the fight choreography, all worthy of praise. But there is one problem. This movie begins to unlock a door to a spectacular world, or rather it turns the key but doesn't quite open it. Imagine STAR WARS EPISODE IV ends and we don't get any sequels. I'm not saying this movie is on par with STAR WARS, however, I just can't help but think there was a lot more story to tell. The premise behind this movie was indeed epic in nature and would have served the world best as a three part video game series called The Aurora Strand. The lone anti hero merc with "heart", the grim futuristic backdrop and the ominous Neolite High Priestess who kills (or bitch slaps) anyone unlucky enough to be in her way!? Come on Vin, I thought you owned a video game label, you really dropped the ball on this one my friend.

Toorop was a fitting character choice for Vin Diesel at this point in his career. Much like his brooding counterpart, Vin's been off the radar of late (no, I don't count FIND ME GUILTY) and it's a little obvious. Not in his performance per say, I'm overjoyed to see him back to kicking ass and taking names, but rather in appearance. Vin looks tired, frustrated. I could almost hear him questioning his "real" future in his head. I really liked seeing Michelle Yeoh as Aurora's guardian. She's a wonderful actress and it's great to see her popping up in main stream movies more often these days. Newcomer Mellanie Thierry's innocent but deadly(think Lelu from FIFTH ELEMENT) persona was cool but it would have been cooler to see Aurora's full potential. I'll definitely keep an eye out for her in the days to come though the shelf life of young Hollywood actresses isn't what it used to be. We see more than enough of Gerard Depardieu but quite the opposite from Charlotte Rampling. Want to buy better villains.

There's no denying that A.D is a flawed action vehicle, suppressed by "film" boundaries and throwing a wheel in its final act, but I wouldn't be so quick to call a tow truck just yet. This generation needs an action hero, and for the longest time I thought Vin Diesel was it. And he still can be. If Britney Spears can make a comeback, so can Vin. Here's hoping the new FAST AND FURIOUS will be his PULP FICTION. Action is where Vin Diesel belongs and he proves it here in spades. Yes, people love to take pot shots at action stars, but we desperately need some. Do you really wanna see another INDIANNA JONES sequel? I didn't think so. And remember Vin, if you decide to take my advice and turn this movie into a game, I want at least ten percent.
THE EXTRAS
We get two discs here, the second being the digital copy. Where were these digital copies when I was traveling over the holidays? Oh, and the box says "raw and uncut" but there's only the one version of the film. Bummer.

Babylon Babies Featurette: Author Maurice G. Dantec explores the mythos behind his novel in greater detail (also mostly in French with English subtitles) in hopes of painting a clearer picture in our minds. It does baffle me though, when writers sell off the rights to their book and want nothing to do with the movie.

Arctic Escape Featurette: Now this is what i like to see! Stunk Coordinator Bob Brown is a "go big or go home" kinda guy and that's exactly what you want from the man behind your action sequences. He brings in the Slednecks to knock the Ski-Doo scenes outta the park. Well done sirs, well done.

Fit for the Screen Featurette: More Bob Brown (this guy is officially one of my heroes) but with the fight choreography this time around. The amount of work (and heart) put into this film is astounding.

Hummers in Flight: Kenny Bates (another stunt coordinator) gives us the 411 on his baby, the car chase. Again, lots of extra finesse here.......so why'd they drop the guillotine?

Prequel to Babylon A.D: Genesis of Aurora Digital Graphic Novel: An animated short (think I am Legend, if you caught those) offering more insight into the villainous Neolite Priestess and Doctor Newton's dark pact. This only fuels my argument for wanting more.

Babylon A.D Commercials: 7 very odd commercials. No, I don't get them either.

Deleted Scene: I'm very troubled. After all the hard work put into this sequence, not to mention a documentary, I just don't get why they cut it. Running time can't be the reason, its only two and a half minutes long. Why dost thou mock me!?

Still Gallery: 16 pics to scroll through, most of them depicting Vin's many degrees of anger.

Trailers: Five trailers you're in no hurry to watch. And for all you WWE fans out there, we also get a sneak peek at BEHIND ENEMY LINES: COLUMBIA. I enjoyed SEE NO EVIL, THE MARINE and THE CONDEMNED but I'm not a hundred percent on this one.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
My love of Vin Diesel aside, BABYLON A.D is a great action movie if stuff like I ROBOT and THE SIXTH DAY are your cup of tea. A huge fish in a small pond, this movie is nowhere near what it could have been and that certainly is unfortunate. The Director and cast work hard to make the best of what they got though, bare this in mind and you shouldn't be disappointed.
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