Babylon A.D. is Cyberpunk enough.
Babylon A.D. probably doesn’t pass the test of being “Cyberpunk” for some, due to its sparse high-tech elements, but its low-life quota more than makes up for it and along with its interesting dystopian world, it merits a mention here. So here goes.
This movie really isn’t that bad.
That’s what I’m going to start with for this movie. I had seen it as an option to watch on Netflix, but a quick perusal of its reviews online scared me away. The cover photo was also B-movie bland and there were no scenes to get me excited about the film. Once I finally watched the trailer, I also felt lukewarm about trying out the movie.
But sometimes, there’s an itch to watch a new, high-quality cyberpunk movie that simply needs to be scratched.
I like Vin Diesel, but when I saw Michelle Yeoh was in it (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) I was convinced that I needed to see this movie.
Yeoh kicks plenty of ass with her fists in this film. But she’s still willing to pick up a trusty handgun from time to time.
With my expectations already set abysmally low, this movie was actually able to surprise me in a very good way. The movie jumps right in without needless exposition that plagues so many other movies (I’m looking at you, Ready Player One) and the viewer is able to see a dystopian world somewhere in eastern Europe where everything is run-down, food is extremely scarce, and guns are as commonplace as cigarette butts on the streets. There’s an early scene with a handgun that lights up, but other than that, we don’t see much high-tech until much later in the movie, and even then it’s still very sparse.
That doesn’t hurt the movie, though. Vin Diesel is great at being the emotionally-hardened killing machine that the likes of Bruce Willis and Jason Statham have similarly made successful in their straightforward action flicks.
Pictured above: Vin Diesel completely out of fucks to give.
Babylon A.D. feels like an action flick set in a dystopian future. If seen in that light, it’s a lot of fun. There are shootouts, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, and even random military elements like combat gear and even a giant military helicopter that is retrofitted for transportation purposes. The pacing is solid except for some moments that dragged, and I was frequently surprised by sudden events happening throughout the film.
Vin Diesel plays mercenary Toorop who is hired by a Russian mobster, played by Gerard Depardieu (The Man in the Iron Mask) to bring a young woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from Europe to New York City. Once given a UN passport, he must bring Aurora and her guardian Sister Rebeka (Yeoh) from their convent in Kyrgyztan to New York by traveling through Russia to Vladivostok and across the Pacific to Alaska.
The trio fights, bribes, and smuggles their way toward their destination, as the viewers slowly learn more about Aurora’s mysterious past. Through the difficult journey they become somewhat of a family, until the movie comes to a head about an hour in once they arrive in New York.
Then something happens, which makes little sense to me, and which honestly lost me for the end of the movie. Up until that point, I had been enjoying the movie immensely. I guess you just have to bear with them until their conclusion, which unfortunately lost the emotional gravitas it was probably striving for.
However, there was one small consolation prize: this guy.
“You see, there is only one constant. One Universal. And that is…that I LOVE French wine.”–What I imagined him saying in this moment.
That’s right, folks! Lambert Wilson is in this movie too! Unfortunately he has only a small role, but seeing him play yet another smug man of power with his sublime French accent made me not only like this movie even more, but realize just how much I loved his performance as The Merovingian in the Matrix franchise.
Final Verdict: 7.5/10
You should definitely see this movie, especially if you have a Netflix account. It would have been an 8 if the movie hadn’t gotten in the way of itself during the last 30 minutes (it was so close to being great!) but it also would have been worse if not for the performances of Yeoh, Wilson, and Diesel. It certainly doesn’t warrant the 6% on Rotten Tomatoes (seriously??). Nonetheless, with good acting from most of the actors, fun action, decent pacing, and an interesting idea (for the most part), this movie is worth a viewing for any proper fan of Cyberpunk and Dystopia in particular.