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Science Fiction - Babylon A.D.

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Babylon A.D.
Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Melanie Thierry
Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
Fox Home Entertainment 2009
90 minutes or 101 minutes uncut version

The dystopian vision of our future long ago supplanted the utopian especially in cinematic terms. Whether expressed in the kitch of the 70’s Death Race 2000, the cyberpunk Blade Runner or in the slick, ultra cool Matrix the vision of our future in contemporary science fiction movies is distinctly bleak. The flip side of that is that ultimately the movies are about hope. It is a firm conviction as these movies draw to their close that the world and those in it are ultimately worthy of salvation and that if we recognize our humanity and act on it we can be our own salvation. Babylon A.D. is just such a dystopian vision of the not too distant future.

Starring Vin Diesel at the mercenary Toorop Babylon A.D. presents a vision of the future that embodies genetic manipulation, human parthenogenesis and nothing less than the salvation of one man’s soul. Babylon A.D. is a very stylized vision and well suits Diesel’s sparse acting style and larger than life on screen presence. Toorop is hired by Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) a figure who is extremely wealthy and powerful to smuggle a young woman named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) into New York City from her home in a religious cloister. Aurora is accompanied by Sister Rebeka played by martial arts stalwart Michelle Yeoh. Aurora is very special to warrant such special attention but just how special is only revealed as the journey from the cloister to New York progresses.

Babylon A.D. is not a typical science fiction, action, adventure movie. The pace is a little slower than the frantic Lucas like approach to storytelling and assumes that the viewer is smart enough to make their own connections from one event to the next. This assumption on the part of the director is one of the weaknesses of the movie. A story that is a little more detailed that filled in a few more of the blanks concerning character motivations – like why Toorop would take a job he believes to be a suicide mission to begin with would be a good start. Babylon A.D. does hold together fairly well and the ending is just far enough off center to make you wonder if there is going to be a sequel (probably not) but also what the future may hold for the characters. 

Denis Bernicky

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