Thursday, January 8, 2009

Review: Babylon A.D.

Babylon A.D. (2008)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Moving into mainstream film-making while still maintaining one's talents is not an easy thing for visionary filmmakers to do. Christopher Nolan is an example of a director who is able to cross that line and stayed on the other side successfully. Ang Lee is another, though he returned to his anti-Hollywood stance right after The Incredible Hulk and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was an accidental crossing into success with the mainstream audience to begin with. Mathieu Kassovitz is unfortunately a great director who has lost his creative vision because of his obsession with genre-switching and mass-audience fishing. His second movie, La Haine in 1995, showcased his undeniable talent in both storytelling and directing but he has given us nothing but failures ever since.

Babylon A.D. is one of those dichotomic sci-fi movies that are anchored by subtly realistic technological landscapes and a heavy interest in character analysis. The story follows Vin Diesel, who plays as a mercenary, hired to deliver a young woman from Russia to the United States. They faced some odd but interesting obstacles along the way, leading to the most anti-climatic, lamest movie ending in recent memories. Halfway through the movie, there is a certain allure to the mystery surrounding the young woman's past and the purpose behind her delivery. The characters can be captivating even though Diesel is just merely channeling his one-note "Riddick" persona and the normally excellent Michelle Yeoh, who plays the young woman's guardian, gets a bit over-emotional. Once they've reached their destination, the tone quickly switches and new characters are introduced but the movie never resolves any of the renewed points of interests.

The outstanding use of special effects is the only real celebration to be found in the movie. The way the CGs blend seamlessly with the surroundings is some of the best I have seen in a while and things have gotten pretty bad with CG works these days even from Stephen Spielberg - I still haven't forgotten about the Crystal Skull disaster yet. It is obvious that Yeoh is in the movie for the martial arts scenes but the editing during these sequences are terrible... It is so bad that it even makes Yeoh looks like she doesn't know what she's doing. Heck, Kassovitz probably didn't even know what he was doing while he was shooting Babylon A.D.

RATING: 2 out of 5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hell yes, u are correct at every turn. They didn't explain fully or show fully the Arora's powers and how she dissapeared from the explosion. POS!!!