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Babylon, A.D. - Awful Dud - MegaZone's Safety Valve
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Babylon, A.D. - Awful Dud
So I went to see Babylon, A.D. tonight. And it isn't often that I regret seeing a movie, even mad movies are often entertaining in their own way, but I regret seeing this one. And I had very, very low expectations. I thought it might be a stylish action movie, based on the ads and trailer, but it was really disjointed and made no goddamn sense - even for an action movie. Since there are spoilers, though it is hard to spoil this mess, I'll use a cut.

So it is a post-apocalyptic world where there was apparently a nuclear war. Mercenaries roam the streets and I guess Eurasia is in ruins, but the US and Canada are OK? Russia is total chaos, with bombings, pretty much open warfare - and yet high speed rail service is still in effect. Only it is like the TGV in a 3rd world country with people bringing on crates of livestock, etc. And you find out there were nukes involved because the train has radiation shutters that close when going through a high radiation area - dramatically shown by the bridge that goes directly across a giant bomb crater. Really? You couldn't go *around* the crater? I know high speed rail likes straight lines, but everything around the crater is ruins. Surely you couldn't done a long arc around it. If the radiation is so bad, how he hell was that bridge built anyway?

And smugglers take people across the Bering Straight in a Typhoon submarine. Right. Only on the other side anything that moves is shot dead by flying hunter-killer drones. Our 'heroes' barely escape, so what hope do the average schmuck refugees who are super-mercenaries have? Well, maybe they do, since the drones can apparently be shot down with one shot from a hand gun. Of course, it was being fired by Super Merc (Vin Diesel). And they're pretty stupid, flying low enough that a snow mobile can jump into one. That whole segment of the movie was just insultingly unbelievable - more so that the rest of the movie, which was pretty bad.

There is gratuitous death and destruction all through the movie, apparently to hammer home how bad life is in this world. It is every man for himself, and you can trust no one. Life has no value. Yada yada. Right, we get it, can we move on?

Then they get to NYC and it is all neon and glitz. Things are shiny and clean - cleaner than the real NYC. Oh yeah, along the way the innocent sheltered child somehow comes into her sexual identity and comes on to super-mercenary, and they have an almost erotic moment which gets interrupted. Not that it was at all erotic, but that seems to be what it was trying to be. And then Sister Kickass (played by Michelle Yeoh, one of the reasons I went to see this bomb) comes in and seems upset, you'd almost thing she was jealous or hurt, but she'd never shown any of that kind of interest in Super Merc. If that scene had been foreshadowed (other than by being a predictable trope), or had gone anywhere from there, maybe it wouldn't have stood out so much as a "Huh? What was that about?" bit.

Oh, and then we found out the girl was trained as a fetus by a super computer and is some kind of experiment. But how does that explain her apparent psychic powers? They can engineer telepathy or precog, which seems to be what she has? And then apparently telekinesis - since she can stop a missile and bend the explosion around herself? Oh, and she's pregnant, but is a virgin? And this in intentional because her 'mother' is the head of some bullshit religion and thinks having her 'daughter' give a virgin birth will give her religion credibility? (Never mind that with artificial insemination virgin births have been possible for ages.) Apparently the children the girl carries are some kind of genetic super being messiahs? Is that what we're *supposed* to pick up? Because it sure as hell isn't clear. And what the fuck is up with her inexplicably dying? Where did that come from? NOTHING indicated she was ill or anything. No. She's fine, Super Merc saves her, then jump forward some months and she's very clearly well along in her pregnancy, in bed, and does the whole "You must take care of the babies" speech, apparently knowing she's going to die. Why? EXPLAIN THAT. WTF? That's as bad as the "Are you firing me because I'm a lesbian?" shit from Law & Order a couple of years ago. Totally out of left field with no foreshadowing, no explanation, no basis at all in the story. And then we see Super Merc with two children, apparently the twins, and interestingly apparently of different ethnic backgrounds - though I suppose that's fine for genetic super being messiahs - and he's all happy being daddy. WTF?!

Was there some *story* here? Was there a point to this? Even cold blooded Super Mercs can find happiness in fatherhood? Are we supposed to care about this shit? After Queen Batshit, the head of this fucked up church, managed to track Super Merc around the globe, how the hell did they manage to settle down with kids and have a house and a yard, as we see? She just gave up after the last escape? And what about that church anyway? Is it supposed to be evil? Amoral? It is just presented as part of that universe.

Man, this movie made no fucking sense. Even the action bits were weak. And the editing was REALLY bad. Let's show how chaotic combat is by using nothing but epileptic camera men and lots of jump cuts! Some people find the camera work in movies like The Bourne Identity annoying, even nauseating, well this movie makes that look like a static tripod shot. And the way the fight scenes were edited together was like they chopped the footage into quick little chunks and then used a randomizer. It made the big fight scene LAME, and that's all this movie might have had going for it. It was all motion blur and tight in shots which didn't show any scale to the fight.

And then Sister Kickass gets unceremoniously shot dead in the least dramatic scene since Date With An Angel.

Oh, and that reminds me, when she first appears one of her rules to Super Merc is that he needs to protect the girl from the world - to keep her from experiencing anything, even feeling. But that seems to be ignored the split second after she says it, and it just ends up seeming like some pointless statement, a portent that never pays off. In a movie so lacking on foreshadowing, or any form of coherent story telling, this seems like a red herring - foreshadowing of nothing.

Man, the more I think about this movie the more it sucks. I'm trying to find anything about the movie that was good, and I can't. There was ONE bit where I laughed. As the girl is going to sleep one night she says something like "We'll all die when we get to New York." This is after she's shown to have some kind of precog ability, so it is a nasty portent. Then she follows that with a sweet "Good night!" and goes to sleep like nothing was amiss. That one bit of absurdity was funny - and that's the only high point I can recall from this movie.

The action was weak and/or unbelievable. The fights were so badly shot and edited that they were unintelligible, you couldn't tell what the hell was going on. And the 'story' made no goddamn sense.

If you know what the hell is *supposed* to be going on in this movie, let me know!

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Current Location: 42.308929N 71.795328W
I am: annoyed annoyed
Current Media: quiet

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Comments
blackcoat From: blackcoat Date: August 30th, 2008 08:11 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
The book started out craptastic.

I'm rather upset that they turned it into a crappier movie.
(Deleted comment)
mackys From: mackys Date: August 30th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Ah, damn. I was hoping it wouldn't suck. Thanks for the warning.
3 STDOUT || STDIN