You know sometimes I get it wrong. Every so often the movie I thought I’d thoroughly hate turns out to be something a little special; much like my experience of The Matrix – any film starring Nananu was bound to be bad and yet I left the cinema gushing excitedly to friends and lining up to watch it again. Occasionally a film comes along which despite your low expectations causes you to sit up and get swept away by its insight and cutting political acuity. Babylon A.D. proves that even in the post-apocalyptic, post-nuclear, European future a turd-burger still tastes like shit.To be fair the director of the film did lament that Fox had cut it to ribbons, and that the story had been reduced to “pure violence and stupidity”. It’s more than obvious that this was in fact the case: there are large portions of the story which are simply missing, plot holes materialise before your eyes, and the pacing of the film jars and chatters as the locations jump and switch. The horrendous editing in itself was something of a travesty, yet shouldn’t stand alone to shoulder the blame. If anything it could almost be applauded for attempting to mask some of the oh-so-painful dialogue, poor direction, uninspired cinematography, dreadful screenplay, and below-average acting talent. That Kassovitz developed the film for 5 years and co-wrote the screenplay lands many of the problems with the film squarely at his feet. Yes, it was terribly edited but there’s a lingering suspicion that this bun may have been in the oven a little too long.The film opens in a future war ravaged Russian slum where Czech extras make their acting debuts with almost more onscreen presence than the stars.
Riddick Toorop’s entrance is accompanied by an obnoxious gangsta rap score; a wonderful musical choice for a film full of white guys, snow, white guys, Russia, and white guys. Heavy Christian themes, random parkour, unexplained fighter drones which blow up when shot by a hand gun twice, arduous and ridiculous snowmobile sequences (everyone in full exposure gear so you can’t tell who’s who – then dubbing their voices over the top), and a Coke Zero branded aeroplane … The list of aberrations is long and continues. No Mr. Mathieu Kassovitz, stop interjecting. You made this, the fucktards at Fox who funded the project probably made it worse, but they didn’t reshoot sequences on your behalf.I’m actually glad the rumoured 2.5 hour European release never eventuated, it meant less time invested in a painful, rushed, nonsensical film.1 star.
Vin Diesel is back in Mathieu Kassovitz big budget sci-fi action film Babylon A.D. Well, call me Mr. Hypocrite – I’m unfeasible excited by this film despite the novel the film was based on, the director, and the writer being Frenchmen. In the film adaptation Vin plays Toorop, a special forces veteran who takes a lucrative one-off job of escorting a woman named Aurora from Russia to China. She’s carrying a genetically modified fetus which is the focus of intense interest by several nefarious parties.In theory the film doesn’t sound exactly A-grade, however the novel the film is based on “Babylon Babies” is quite good, the director has done some beautiful work in the past, and the casting looks good. The film also looks really sexy as evidenced by the trailers.There are currently two cuts planned, one for the European market and one for the American. The Euro version is slated to weigh in at roughly 2 hours, 40 minutes – expect the American version to be roughly half that thanks to the distributor Fox. They thought it was just too long.I’ll be lining up for this one – it’ll be worth seeing on the big screen.