Movie Details: View Here
Unrated Extended Cut and Original Theatrical Version of Babylon A.D.
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
French: Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Run Time: 101 min
Synopsis from DVD Cover:
In the darkly futuristic world of Babylon A.D., the rules are simple: kill or be killed. Hard-hitting action superstar Vin Diesel (The Fast & The Furious, The Chronicles of Riddick), stars as Toorop, a ruthless mercenary hired to smuggle a mysterious young woman from the post-apocalyptic confines of Eastern Europe to the glittering megalopolis of New York City. Hunted at every turn, Toorop spirits his charge across a nightmarish wasteland only to uncover a shocking secret that will bring the entire world to its knees. Eye-popping action and mind-blowing science fiction clash head-on in this hard-edged thriller, where the only rule is survival.
From Mathieu Kassovitz, the director who brought you "Gothika," "Babylon A.D." makes me sad, because what could've had the makings of an action/sci-fi classic falls short and comes off disjointed and disappointing. Kassovitz is not entirely to blame for this - it seems that much was changed from his original vision due to delays in filming and budget woes - and I think Kassovitz was on to something when he said it, "Feels like a bad episode of the '24' TV series."
It's not that the story wasn't there. This is good action-y stuff. See, in the future, where most of the third world countries have become filled with war-torn cities, terrorists, and homeless refugees constantly relocating, a mercenary by the name of Toorop (Vin Diesel) takes on the task of escorting a nun named Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) and a girl by the name of Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from their Russian convent to New York. Toorop reluctantly takes the job offer from a Russian mobster named Gorsky (Gerard Depardieu) simply because Toorop can't miss the chance at getting a passport/new identity that would allow him to stay in America. Enter some freaky religious types called the Noelites trying to factory-produce some miracle babies and it would seem we were well on our way.
Right from the get-go, the movie definitely grabbed my attention, but it soon loses focus after the first half hour or so. By the time the climax of the film comes around, which is the gunfight in New York, the movie shifts into explaining itself, does some setup for things to come, and then ends abruptly. After watching this film, you may feel one of two things. One, you may think there is a sequel to come, but feel unsure of what it will be about - and two, you want to be someone who never watched this in the first place. The performances are good, but again, storyline and character development seems stalled and edited, even in the unrated version. This was based on a novel called "Babylon Babies" by Maurice Georges Dantec originally, and I'm sure a lot of the content and storyline that had to be left out due to budget and time allotted for the film's choppy, unfinished feel. But Kassovitz wrote the script over a five-year period, which gives you an idea of how much thought and blood he put into this, so I don't think he's to blame here. If reports are to be believed, it turns out that Twentieth Century Fox changed and interfered with every scene shot. Also, something like 70 minutes were cut from the original film by the studio. This feels like a movie that's doing battle with itself - trying to be action/drama, it ends up being something made for TV, and remember, I'm talking about the unrated version here.
There's not really anything in these Extras to help the film out, but they're OK, all things considered. What we've got is all pretty basic - an interview with Maurice Dantec, the author of the book "Babylon Babies" that this is based on; "Arctic Escape," which focuses on stunts; "Fit for the Screen," a bit about the action sequences; "Hummers in Flight," which is about a Hummer chase sequence cut from the theatrical version, and one deleted scene. Then there's a video comic prequel, some still galleries, a few Fox trailers, and a digital copy.
Disappointing because it's clear it had potential, this is worth a watch if you catch it on TV, but definitely not worth renting.