Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Babylon A.D.

(This post originally appeared on December 7, 2009.)

I don’t recall hearing much about this near-future thriller when it came out, so when we sat down to watch the DVD, I commented that I didn’t know if the movie would be any good or not.

Shayna said, “It’s a Vin Diesel movie. He probably kills people.” To which Livia added, “And things blow up.”


That’s a pretty good description of BABYLON A.D. Diesel (who is about halfway between Bald Vin and Hairy Vin in this one) plays a mercenary with the unwieldy name of Toorop (which everybody in the movie seems to pronounce slightly differently). He’s hired to transport a young woman from a mysterious convent in Central Asia to New York. (Transport? Did somebody say transport? Where’s Jason Statham, speaking of bald guys?) The young woman is accompanied by an ass-kickin’, philosophy-spoutin’ warrior nun. Who else would you get to play that part except Michelle Yeoh? Various bad guys (or are they?) try to kidnap the girl along the way, and/or kill Diesel and Yeoh. Potential double-crosses loom. Things get metaphysical. Finally you get to an ending that makes the viewer go “Huh?” At least I did.

All that said, I thought BABYLON A.D. was a pretty entertaining movie. There are a lot of striking images and plenty of action, some of which could have been better-edited, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, it’s that old complaint again, but this movie isn’t too bad an offender in that respect. Diesel is Diesel, and I suspect most viewers either like him or don’t. I do. I like Michelle Yeoh, too, but she isn’t given much to do here. I asked at one point, “Is this movie based on a video game?” Turns out it’s not; it’s based on a novel I’d never heard of instead. But it plays a lot like a video game movie, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This one’s worth watching, although I wouldn’t rush right out to grab a copy of it if I were you.

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