After a remarkably strong summer for action and superhero movies, it's a bit disappointing to almost instantly return to the norm of "Ahh crap, nothing good is playing this week". So I decided to go see the Vin Diesel sci-fi action flick Babylon A.D.
on the simple basis that nothing else was playing, which is never really a good reason to go see anything.
Vin Diesel stars in the movie as the main character Toorop, stuttering and mumbling through every line in the excruciatingly bad script. As a mercenary living in future Russia, he gets hired to escort a young girl to America, where her mother is. But of course, the girl turns out to be more than just any ordinary girl. She first displays seemingly psychic powers, suddenly screaming and running away from a train station, about 30 seconds before a bomb goes off destroying it. Later on, she pulls another freak the fuck out for no reason move and attempts to hijack a submarine, and does a pretty good job running it, for a girl who's lived in a monastery her whole life. It's also hinted that she may be a biological weapon sent to destroy America. That one turns out to be false, because it would've been far better than the actual ending of the movie.
Despite having a pretty hefty share of faults, the movie doesn't completely fall apart until the very end. As a title set in the future, it does an interesting job showing stark contrasts between the various countries visited. This is the first time in a while I can remember a futuristic movie not portraying the entire earth as a shitpile 20 years in the future, just part of it. And that part of course, is Russia, a land of mafia bosses, guns being sold on the street, and caged fighters beating each other to death. Speaking of which, at one point one of those cage fighters tries to help out and protect the girl, and Vin responds by choking him to death. Way to go. In contrast to Russia though, Canda (for all 30 seconds that is spent there) appears as an almost utopian looking land, bright, clean, and refined. Then after that is America, New York City in particular, which has been suped up and almost begins to resemble Neo-Tokyo from Akira
. Heck, it even had it's own obligatory biker gangs riding around for no reason.
But having interesting and varied settings can't save this movie from it's biggest fault, which is the utterly awful story, which gets shoved at you in the last 15 minutes or so of the movie. On their journey to America, a few soliders sent by the girl's father try to stop them, Vin responds by shooting a couple of them and walking away. After arriving in New York though, he has another, much larger gun fight, with soliders sent by her mother! Just who's side is he on anyways? The scene ends with him and the girl getting hit by a rocket, seemingly engulfing both of them in a huge ball of fire. This is where the movie should've ended. But it didn't. At this point you should shout "They all died, the end!" and walk out of the theater. The rest of the audience would thank you later, wishing they had done the same.
WARNING: STUPID PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD. BRAIN DAMAGE MAY OCCUR
Vin wakes up several days later, with new robotic prosthetic limbs, in the care of the girls father who somehow managed to get his body from the morgue, and bring him back to life. The father is a scientist, who reveals that his daughter is some kind of experimental lifeform with memories inplanted in her before birth, which explains why she seemed to know everything about anything. Her mother however, is the leader of some phony baloney church, that wants to use the daughter as a religious figure and reveal her to the world as a pregnant virgin. Yes, apparently the entire movie she has been pregnant with twins, and that's why the mom wanted to return her to America. How exactly they were going to prove she was a virgin is a bit beyond me though. I'm not sure if this is supposed to represent an ideologic battle of science vs religion, because of the two contrasting parents, but it's handled so poorly, who really cares.
So they hook Vin up to some device to replay his memory just before "death". This reveals that the girl wasn't hit by the missile, but magically detonated it midair about 6 inches from her, and she said "Go home" during the explosion. So Vin decides to go home, which conveniently happens to be in upstate New York. He arrives at the ruins of his former home, where she is waiting for him, how nice! Soon after though, more goons sent by mom arrive, and a short car chase and a few explosions later, they manage to escape.
Inexplicably though, the very next scene is the girl in the hospital, lying on her death bed. She looks at Vin and says "You're the father now". The screen fades to some time later, Vin is outside his home again, now rebuilt, with two young kids. The end. I repeat, that's the end. I stood up in the theater and shouted "What the fuck was that?" Or at least I wish I did. It's quite possibly, the worst ending ever, narrowly beating out The Golden Compass
Apparently, around 11 minutes of footage was cut from the European release of the movie, I'm curious to where it was located, seeing as how insanely rushed the ending felt. While it was a bad ending though, I didn't find myself caring at the near complete lack of any resolution, because all the big storyline revelations that came right at the end were so stupid, and the last few scenes so boring, that I was wishing for the movie to be over anyways. However the majority of the movie was at least passable, if a bit generic, which is why I can't completely pan it, but it really needed to either end earlier, or have a completely different ending. If you want a brainless action flick, it's decent, but for any sort of storyline at all, stay far away from this one.