Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Babylon AI-EEEEE!!!

In the last post before my 3 day weekend, I mentioned that the Tomatometer had Babylon A.D. at 6%. That number has since changed to 4%. After seeing the movie, I wondered who the hell are the 4% of the critics who gave it a positive review? This is similar to those 1 out of 5 dentists who don't recommend sugarless gum. The closest thing they listed to a good review was from Rob Vaux of Mania.com who wrote, "While Babylon A.D. isn't the worst big-budget sci-fi film ever made, it comes near enough to merit avoiding at all costs." If you have seen the movie, you know that saying that is like saying, "Death by having your belly sliced open isn't the worst way you can die but you should probably avoid it." Babylon A.D. is the kind of movie you show in film school and say, "Study this and do the exact opposite."

The movie loses me from the opening credits when I start seeing a lot of European names in the credits. I have nothing against Europeans themselves but I have a hell of a lot against their action movies. At best you may get something like The Transporter movies which are somewhat fun with some exciting stunts. On the other end, you get Ultraviolet which had a lot in common with Babylon A.D., not the least of which was that they both sucked.

Babylon A.D. or, as I'm sure its viewers would prefer to call it, B.A.D., is set in a dystopian future setting that is so popular with crappy Euro flicks. The world has become one giant shithole. The world of B.A.D. makes The Road Warrior look like Mayberry. It actually opens with a hint of promise which makes the movie all the worse when that promise fades. It's like being told you have a horrible disease but there is a treatment then the treatment doesn't work. We see Vin Diesel's character Toorop walking down the street of what looks like some bombed out Eastern European slum (mainly because that's exactly what it was) and attacking a guy who sold him a defective gun. He is surrounded by lots of guys with rifles who don't seem to realize that just showing Toorop the rifles doesn't do anything and that you have to pull the triggers to get them to works. Thus, Toorop gets to walk casually back to his apartment where he is attacked by a swarm of heavily armed mercenaries. The head mercenary turns out to be an old enemy and, again, Toorop benefits from the fact that all these guys don't seem to realize you must pull the trigger for a gun to be effective and Toorop is able to shoot his enemy in the head. After all that, he's escorted outside to see the guy behind this all, a crime lord named Gorsky (played by Gérard Depardieu who apparently told the makeup staff to make him look as disgusting as possible). Gorsky tells Toorop he can leave this massive cesspool of a country and go back to the United States if he delivers a girl to New York City in six days and then says, "If you cross me, you will have no place to hide." Those of you who are not functionally retarded have probably already figured out that Toorop is going to cross Gorsky and that it will all be the fault of the girl.

When these mercenary transporter types are charged with getting a girl from point A to point B, it's never an ugly girl and this case is no exception. The delicately beautiful French actress Mélanie Thierry plays the delicately beautiful Aurora, a girl who has spent her entire life in a Mongolian convent. Accompanying her is one of my favorite action movie stars, Michelle Yeoh, who plays Sister Rebeka (those Chinese sure do have funny names). Michelle Yeoh's presence in this movie is yet another "cure for the disease" moment that gives me a glimmer of hope that, in this shitpile of a movie, perhaps a small rose of quality will grow. No such luck though as I quickly realize that the makers of this movie had no idea what to do with someone like her. Her martial arts scenes were some of the least inspiring of her career. I don't blame her and I hope she at least got paid a lot of money. Anyway, Sister Rebeka is one of those holy types who always tells you how peaceful she is just before she kicks you in the face. She's Aurora's guardian and will accompany her and Toorop to New York where they are supposed to...um...well, to tell the truth, I'm not exactly sure what they were supposed to do. I never could quite figure it out. I suspect that the writers and the actors had the same problem. It turns out that Aurora has some sort of vague super powers. She can see the future though, like all movie psychics, is unable to see that her predictions and pronouncements will freak the hell out of people. If any of you out there can see the future, please understand that when you matter-of-factly tell people that they're going to die, they're going to be a bit upset about it. Hell, they'd be taken aback if you correctly predicted that their pastrami sandwiches were going to be a little dry.

B.A.D. eventually devolves into a mishmash of religious cults, half-robot guys, virgin births, fight scenes that look like they were edited by someone with A.D.D. and a big battle between Toorop and rival gangs of Eurotrash. There actually comes a point where all the characters more or less say, "Fuck it," and go home allowing Toorop and Aurora to give the movie an ending that, even by this movie's standards, is stupid and implausible.

Oh well, I can console myself with the fact that we don't get too many of these Eurotard movies. The next one is Transporter 3 in November and I should be fully recovered by then. One more thing: if you have a choice of seeing B.A.D. and seeing Disaster Movie, go see B.A.D. As horrible as this was, Disaster Movie was like looking through the gates of Hell, or at least the first ten minutes I saw when I snuck into the theater was. I'm sure the fact that some of the same people who made this were involved in the making of American Carol won't affect that movie's quality in the slightest.

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