A more appropriate title for Babylon A.D. would be Babble On A.D.. It's
a collection of disconnected visions of the future that are simply thrown
together without any attempt to explore their consequences or even reason for
being there, wrapped around a barest of barebones plot that has Vin Diesel (a
mercenary with the odd name Toorop) escorting a kung fu nun (Michelle Yeoh) and
a mysterious woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from Russia to New York.
Why is Russia a post-apocalyptic mess of a country apparently run by militias
and the mafia? Why is New York still a thriving metropolis that looks like
what you'd probably expect New York to look like in thirty years or so?
And just what's supposed to be the story with the high-powered corporate
religion and its CEO of a high priestess that pops up in the second half of the
movie? Nothing makes sense, nothing even remotely fits together. And
then there's Aurora. One minute she's an animal empath, the next a
psychic, the next a super genius, and the next a messianic simpleton.
What's her story? I watched the movie and I still don't know the answers
to any of these questions. In fact, there probably isn't anyone out there
with an answer including the filmmakers. The movie just comes to an abrupt
end, leaving a thousand dangling unresolved plot points in its wake.
This movie is just plain odd, and it goes beyond the lack of a comprehensible
story. There are some interestingly scenes and locations, but then the
action sequences are terribly choreographed and filmed. Some of the future
tech on display is creative and interesting, but then some character will pop up
and babble something about implanting A.I. in human fetuses. I'm used to
extensive product placement in movies, but the high priestess cutting through
the skies in a Coke Zero jet? What the heck?!?
Don't expect to gain any understanding into just what the heck was supposed
to be going on by watching the special features included on the disk, although
there is one feature that will help you to understand why the story is such a
mess. There's an interview with the author of the book on which the movie
is based, and he carries on in a long rambling monologue that goes all over the
place without much of a point to it. Just like Babylon A.D..
As for the Blu-ray version of the film, the picture looks fantastic and as I
noted there are some visually interesting settings in the film. The sound
is surprisingly good as well except for the sound levels between conversation
and action scenes. You'll have to turn up the sound to hear people talking
and then quickly turn the volume down when an explosion leaves your ears
ringing. In between presses of the volume button things sound really good,
though. Too bad there's nothing worth listening to...