There’s an old saying: “Success has many parents but failure is an orphan.”
Writer/director Mathiew Kassovitz (“Gothika”) has publicly called this sci-fi thriller ‘pure violence and stupidity,‘ with parts of the film resembling ‘a bad episode of “24,“ and 20th Century-Fox refused to make screenings available to critics, either before or after its release. Yet, some executive, somewhere, supervised Kassovitz’s adaptation with Eric Besnard of Maurice G. Dantec’s philosophical novel “Babylon Babies,“ which focused on the political implications of bio-technology, along with the disintegration of the American Empire.
Set in the not-too-distant future, when countless satellites monitor every move, the world has become a war zone, filled with nuclear, radioactive meltdowns. Toorop (Vin Diesel) is a mistrustful mercenary hired by portly Gorsky (Gerard Depardieu) to smuggle a mysterious young woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) and her guardian, Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh), from a convent in Kazakhstan and deliver her to a crazed, feminist Noelite High Priestess (Charlotte Rampling) in New York City. Raised by her father, Dr. Darquandier (Lambert Wilson), the virginal Aurora speaks 19 languages, reads minds, forsees the future and is seen as the ethereal savior of mankind. Crossing the frozen Russian tundra, Toorop must engage in extreme fighting, even dying, only to come back with cybernetically-enhanced limbs.
Despite its thematic similarity to Alfonso Cuaron’s apocalyptic “Children of Men,“ the script is wretched with sloppy, repetitive dialogue; noisy, confusing action sequences; and little continuity. And the way Melanie Thierry speaks her lines can only be described as ludicrous. Covered with fake tattoos, Vin Diesel mopes and mumbles with a bad attitude although, judging by recent publicity, he’s still staunchly promoting this debacle. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Babylon A.D.“ is a dismal 1. Undeniably awful.