Babylon A.D.

 
Violent actioner is dull, dreary, and defective.
  • Review Date: September 1, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Several dystopian elements are involved in the plot -- nuclear attack, ecological catastrophe, biological warfare, genetic engineering, and more. The villains are in a quasi-religious cult. The lead character is given to nihilistic pronouncements like "there's no mercy for the weak."

Violence

Frequent violence, including fistfights, firefights, explosions, missile salvos, and more. A sequence involves cage fighting; the film also features drowning, strangling, riots, terrorist bomb attacks, and more. Animals are butchered on screen. Some blood. Discussion of nuclear and biological weapons.

Sex

Brief glimpses of scantily clad women; a moment of sexual tension between a shirtless man and a woman.

Language

Some, including one use of "f--k," "s--t," and multiple uses of "ass," "bitch," "hell," "s--thole," and more.

Consumerism

Extensive on-screen brand presence, including (but not limited to) Coca-Cola Zero, Marlboro, Marriott, Range Rover, and Google.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette and cigar smoking; characters drink wine and hard liquor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi action movie takes place in a bleak, ruined dystopian future. It's quite violent, with explosions, shootings, strangling, and more. There's also extensive discussion of nuclear attacks, genetic engineering, and refugee movements, as well as religious themes and imagery. Several characters are kept alive by high-tech machinery, and some scenes of surgery and medical processes are quite intense. Also expect swearing ("s--t," one use of "f--k"), product placement, and some drinking and smoking.

What's the story?

BABYLON A.D. takes place in a near-future landscape in which world-weary mercenary Toorop (Vin Diesel) is hired to escort a young woman from a Mongolian monastery to New York. The young woman, Aurora (Melanie Thierry), is protected by Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh). The trio sets out on their perilous journey -- as they approach New York, the sinister plans of the group behind the trip become increasingly clear.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Babylon A.D. has already been disavowed by director Mathieu Kassovitz, and it wasn't screened for critics in advance of its theatrical opening. These two facts alone should tell you a lot about how good it is in the final analysis. Diesel's brooding, bulky hero is a run-down recycling of characters he's played in other, better films like The Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black; he doesn't help the film any with his performance, stumbling through the film like a man with a hangover.

Babylon A.D. may have been intended as a rock-'em, sock-'em action film that examines important social and ethical issues, but the finished film plays like a series of bland, blurry action sequences with occasional breaks for pretentious posturing between explosions. It's dark, dreary, and dull, and all the special effects and stunt sequences thrown at the screen can't make up for the fact that it's a film with almost nothing to really say between the booms and bursts of bombs and gunfire.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of dark visions of the future. Are dystopian movies a way for us to process our anxieties about the present? In the movie's vision of the future, corporations have more control than governments; does the film's extensive use of corporate logos on screen warn against excess corporate power or represent it? Families can also discuss the challenges and concerns surrounding genetic engineering -- what ethical and moral complications does it pose for people now and in the future?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 29, 2008
DVD release date:January 5, 2009
Cast:Melanie Thierry, Michelle Yeoh, Vin Diesel
Director:Mathieu Kassovitz
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence and action, language and some sexuality.

This review of Babylon A.D. was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bySkyrock5 June 3, 2011
age 13+
 

I think not.

Unfortunately, this film doesn't make sense a lot of the time, which is strange, because it really doesn't require a lot of attention and concentration to watch it effectively. So, that probably means that the makers of this film just didn't add things up properly. But, what can you expect from a film which the director himself has been caught on record saying is stupid? -Not much. The fact is, I spent most of the film looking at the running time, counting the minutes until its conclusion, than I did empathising with the characters. But, there are good points to the film too. Firstly, Vin Diesel's in it, so you can't go wrong there. And secondly, although most of the actors don't do their characters justice, if you overlook that small flaw, you'll find that the plot thickens and the characters are quite spectacular. Good luck with that, though. Quite frankly, once you tune into this film with the mindset that it would be better than average and perhaps even that small glimpse of hope that it could become your new favourite film...you should give up then and there. Because it won't be. At all. You need to think: worst ever movie, terrible script, awful acting and no feeling whatsoever to actually walk out with a tenuously positive opinion. Harsh, but bluntly true.
Kid, 10 years old July 5, 2009
age 14+
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 7 years old April 28, 2009
age 7+
 
i never watch this movie but i am going to watch it today

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