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Friday, August 29 12:00 AM ET

Trailer Review: Babylon AD

By Brian Briggs

Babylon ADDon't be confused by the title of this film like I was.  It's not that Babylon 5 theatrical movie you've been waiting for.  Unless Vin Diesel appeared in B5 and I missed it.

The trailer is a Frankenstein.  It takes the music from The Two Towers, the city design from Blade Runner, the plot from The Fifth Element, and the explosions from Children of Men and puts it all together in a steaming pile of bio-Diesel.

The trailer opens a satellite view of the Earth and some philosophy, "Save the planet." But Vin Diesel says it with such a gravelly, sarcastic tone that you can only think he's kidding.  He is. The only code is "Kill or be killed," which should make programming a lot easier.

The camera zooms down from Google Maps satellite view to street view and we see Vin Diesel kneeling in the street with the vapor trail of a missile going directly over his head.  He's got a dead look in his eyes, and then his face is consumed by flame.  We get to see why he's so hot at the end of the trailer, but I'll save ruining the trailer until the end just like this trailer saves ruining the movie until the end.

Midair Sniping
An unbelievable shot.

Good news everyone, Vin Diesel dies.  He says it right up front.  There's no denying it.  It's everyone's dream come true.  Unfortunately for him, he just learned a valuable life lesson, but won't be around to put it into practice.  Aw shucks.

Then kicks in the "Requiem for a Babylon" soundtrack.  It might sound familiar to you since it's been used in a lot of trailers, most notably, The Two Towers and Requiem for a Dream.  This movie doesn't have the dramatic weight to carry it off, so it ends up sounding stupid.

We see Vin Diesel in a car, but SURPRISE, the car is hanging from a giant magnet being carried by an aircraft.  The car approaches Manhattan in what appears to be the same time period as Blade Runner.  At least that was my initial thought.  Look out for those replicants, Vin.

Vin must smuggle a woman into the United States in six days or he's going to be in very big trouble.   

Next we get the explosion from Children of Men, and I began to think if this movie has anything original in it.

Then the movie turns into some sort of fight club cage match.  Please go frame by frame through the trailer at about 1:03 into it to see one of the worst missed punches in trailer history.  Come on Vin, you can do better than that.

Secret Power
Stop, in the name of spoiling.

It's pretty much action montages from here on out.  There's Michelle Yeoh showing off her martial arts chops.  There's a truly unbelievable sequence involving snowmobiles, and when I say "unbelievable" I'm not kidding.  The snowmobiles are being shot at by a futuristic fighter jet.  Vin jumps his snowmobile off a ramp, slips it over in midair to avoid a missile, then shoots down the fighter jet with a handgun (still in midair).  I know this is the future, but you've got to be kidding me.

Next,  we get the hint that maybe the girl isn't what she seems.  Vin Diesel says, "What is wrong with her?" while choking a guy.  I'm thinking this is it. This is where the trailer gets intriguing.  Here's the original mystery that we've been waiting for that could hook audiences. Except…

After a few more moments of action montages, we get to see what's wrong with her.    We're back to the beginning with the missile going over Vin's head, only this time we see what causes the explosion.  The woman uses her special powers to stop it in midair.  The explosion engulfing Diesel at the beginning doesn't touch her.

Reviewinator

Trailer Quicktime
Starring

Vin Diesel
Gérard Depardieu

Director Mathieu Kassovitz
Official Site Link
US Opening

August 29, 2008

Rated PG-13
Genre Action
Explosions 25
Weapons Space missiles, assault rifle, Diesel-mania, fist, hand gun, Yeoh, fighter jet, missiles, submarine, RPG
Man Quotient

12.5

Trailer
Déjà Vu
Two Towers, Blade Runner, Children of Men
Geek Factor 25%
See Trailer? No
See Movie? No
Follow Up Pending

I like how this bookends with the scene at the beginning of the trailer, but I hate how it reveals her special talent.

Finally, the trailer ends with her asking Vin, "You're risking your life for me, why?"  He doesn't answer.  I guess that's the mystery that's supposed to drive us to the theater, but I'm not going to be the one finding out.

Ending Prognostication:  This one isn't too hard to figure out, since they tell you in the trailer.  Vin Diesel dies at the end.  The girl saves the world, but he's not around to appreciate it. 

Conclusion on Trailer: It's a mishmash of trailers without a compelling story to tell.  Wake me when it's November for the good movies to start premiering again.

Conclusion on Movie: This is a movie you'd expect Milla Jovovich in, but maybe she was busy making the next Resident Evil movie. That's not a good sign.  This one will have a lot of action, but very little plot.  No reason to put out hard-earned cash for this one (or even free cash).  Vin Diesel expands his resume of crappy movies.

 

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