Based on Maurice G. Dantec's dytopian sci-fi novel Babylon Babies, Mathieu Kassovitz's dystopian sci-fi/action film, which was released without critics' screenings, is rich with atmosphere but too similar to films ranging from CHILDREN OF MEN (2006) to DOOMSDAY (2008) to carve out its own distinctive niche.
Former mercenary Toorup (Vin Diesel) just wants to be left alone in the dog-eat-dog hell that is post-Soviet Russia, but his past keeps coming back to haunt him. Sleazy gangster Gorsky (Gerard Depardieu) recruits Tooruo to deliver a "package" – convent-raised beauty Aurora (Melanie Thierry) – from Russia to New York City in six days. Toorup picks up Aurora and her guardian, Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh), at a centuries-old Mongolian convent that now houses the Neolite faithful: Little does he know that the High Priestess of the burgeoning Neolite religian (Charlotte Rampling) is counting on Aurora to legitimize the cult's tenets in the eyes of the world. Toorup and Sister Rebeka gradually forge an uneasy alliance rooted in their desire to protect the mystifying Aurora (Melanie Thierry), who spoke 19 languages at the age of two and possesses an uncanny ability to see the future and parse the past.
French writer-actor-director Kassovitz – whose credits range from LA HAINE (1995) to GOTHIKA (2003), publically disowned BABYLON A.D., calling it "pure violence and stupidity" and comparing it to "a bad episode of 24." But for all its generic qualities. BABYLON A.D. is well acted, briskly paced and consistently clear: Like Neil Marshall's DOOMSADAY (2008), which was accorded an equally cursory theatrical release, it's bare-bones genre entertainment, no better or worse than it ought to be. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh