Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
“The Chronicles of Riddick,” “xXx,” “The Pacifier”
Mark Strong, Michelle Yeoh, Gérard Depardieu, Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson, Jamel Debbouze, Mélanie Thierry, Jérôme Le Banner, Chris Astoyan, Radek Bruna, Abraham Belaga
“Amélie,” “Hate,” “Munich”
|Producer:||Eric Cadrieu, Alain Goldman, Benoît Jaubert, Marc Jenny, Avram “Butch” Kaplan, Mathieu Kassovitz, Eiffel Mattsson, Selwyn Roberts, Gary Ungar, Kevan Van Thompson|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
I have to admit that Vin Diesel’s catchy, deep-voiced narration in the theatrical trailers had me wanting to see “Babylon A.D.” Also hinted in the previews was a futuristic world where the lead actor makes a choice and dies. So with all this in mind, I went into the theatre with high hopes. Instead of an action-packed, intriguing thriller, I endured a loud, bloody, and confusing chaos that left me saying Huh!?!
From what I could gather, Vin Diesel plays a jaded man named Toorop. Toorop meagerly exists in a war-torn world until summoned by Gorsky. This odd-looking mob leader wants Toorop to escort a girl halfway around the world to the United States in just six days.
It becomes quickly obvious that the mysterious girl, Aurora, is far from ordinary. She is able to foretell the future, speak countless languages, and retain an incredible amount of knowledge. Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) is Aurora’s guardian and vehemently protects Aurora during the journey. So why exactly does Gorsky want Aurora in the U.S.? What exactly is Aurora?
Before anything is answered, the audience is dragged through chases, explosions, murders, and blood. I did not know who to root for or where the movie was leading. I felt as if I was just running along because everyone else was running.
Being barely an hour and thirty minutes, I wonder if the editor cut out almost the entire plot but left all the violence. This film jumped around too much. When it would finally take time to rest, the characters’ flat developments and poor dialogues did not help ease the confusion. I only knew that Aurora was wanted for something in New York. Only until about the last ten minutes did some scenes get hastily slapped together to explain the entire movie. These scenes are not any vindication since I felt annoyed from being jostled about.
Call me a purist if you may, but product placements bother me in movies. I understand that this movie went over budget and needed the extra funding. However, having a Coke Zero painted on the side of a Boeing 767, as it flies through the clouds, seems a bit preposterous.
Aurora’s character was refreshingly clean and rare when it comes to Hollywood. She does talk about God to Toorop. She’s compassionate and hated seeing people suffer or die. She was the only character I enjoyed seeing onscreen.
The violence in the film is an almost constant. Toorop kills numerous people, and blood is in almost every scene. There are also plenty of explosions, fistfights, gunfire battles, and animal carcasses shown.
Although the previews hint at a romantic link between Toorop and Aurora; they never kiss. In one scene, Toorop is wearing a towel and Aurora is in a tanktop and panties. When they’re about to kiss, they are interrupted by Sister Rebeka. I did enjoy how this attraction was never taken any further. The audience could actually believe when Toorop begins to care for Aurora instead of merely lusting over her.
The cursing is moderate; I counted a total of 15 profanities, including one “f” bomb and 1 GD.
While I found the senseless violence to be the most offensive, this movie does have a religious theme. Aurora was raised by Sister Rebeka in a convent. While this part was nice, the villain who wanted Aurora in New York was the High Priestess (Charlotte Rampling). Wanting to establish a bona fide religion, the High Priestess saw Aurora as her way of doing so. While this false religion was a poor attempt of a carbon copy of Christianity, I found it laughably bad and was never offended by it. Rather, it made me smile, knowing that my Savior and Lord is so much more powerful and almighty. If this would have been a real religion, a close study of it would have easily shown it to be false.
People who do not have a personal relationship with Christ often assume that Christians have blind faith. This is not the case at all. While in the book of Hebrews, the author does write that “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” God never wants us to walk around blindly. He wants us to use our minds. In Isaiah, the Lord boldly told his people, “Come now, let us reason together.” In fact, God even commands us to look into everything that claims to be religious. John wrote, “…do not believe in every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” As a former follower of a false religion, I can personally testify that Jesus is the Son of God.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz has publicly decried the film, stating that his original version has been ruined. While I do sympathize with the director, I wonder how much better his version could have been. I would assume that it would have had some more character development and less confusion. So thin was this plot that I believe the producers used the basic plot line to serve as the movie’s suspenseful twists. From this review, I might have given away some of their “twists.” Then perhaps I have spared you from seeing this obnoxious movie.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor