Ok, so there was nothing else on at the cinema and my companion thought perhaps a silly film staring Vin Diesel could have the same effect as a silly filmy staring Jason Stratham (hands up who can’t wait for Transporter 3?) So with a wry smile I settled down to watch Vin striding through the streets of Russia (not sure why) in an anorak with a heavy beat thumping in the background, cos he is well cool in his anorak with his hood up, right? Big Vin with a voice a bit like Batman’s, so deep it must resonate around his massive empty skull and cause some sort of internal bleeding.
Big Vin is given the task of transporting an ethereal girly from Russia to the holy land (New York of course) in what is blatantly the product of someone watching The Fifth Element, Serenity, Children of Men and probably the Transporter and thinking “hey, I’ve got an idea…” Give it its dues for some interesting futuristic ideas (road maps you can interact with like t’internet, and some fancy-pants new passport system) but Babylon quickly descends from a vaguely promising start into a bit of a silly headache.
The first hint of action, in your atypical futuristic club featuring lots of goths and cages, brings on a cascade of fast edits and uber-shaky-cam making the whole thing incomprehensible. Somewhere in there was the done-to-death street jumping thing (the one used in Bond and a million adverts and music videos, where people jump over walls to look cool. Sometimes I take steps two at a time. Do I film it and show everyone to prove how great I am? I should.) And some kick-ass kung fu from Michelle Yeoh, wheeled in as the quiet nun who can take care of herself (I’ll add Karate Kid to the list above. And, I don’t know, Shanghai Noon.) But if you’re after big fun action this sorely disappoints, mainly because you can’t follow anything that’s going on.
Anyway, the journey/chase portion of the film takes you into a variety of unnecessary set pieces (a snowmobile chase with Vin somersaulting over a missile was particularly amusing) until the plot hits the end point. Then it all goes horribly wrong. Well, more so.
Back when I was a kid I used to write lots and lots of stories, often based on a cool idea that I’d launch into (usually heavily inspired by something I’d just watched on TV) and then not really develop past the initial thought. These stories would either lie unfinished in computer hell, or be wrapped up in some skewed, rubbish fashion. I can say that about my own work. I was 13. I can also now say it about Babylon Zoo, sorry, A.D. Where it suddenly decides to take you takes some explaining (experiment, religion, A.I., conspiracy), and to flesh out these odd new plot choices are a handful of characters stuffed in last minute. While you try to gather up these new pieces of (frankly, ridiculous) information, the film bashes on to a) something already shown in the trailer, followed by b) a bog-standard chase sequence, followed by c) a scene from the Passifier. Seriously. My only guess is the film makers assume their target audience has stopped paying attention by this point, perhaps too busy stealing cars or getting pregnant what like all youth of today are doing if you happen to see any newspaper and believe the sensationalist, destructive tripe they throw out.
Where was I…? Ah yes, the film. Well what did you expect? It was shit. A big steaming shit. Lazily created to sit on our screens for a while before slowly sliding off into the trough of shit films that end up on 3-for-2 offers. But though it was shit, and though it slumps into a CF-3 score, it did not infuriate me as much as Indiana Jones 4, or I’m Not There. See, I can acknowledge it was shit, but I’m not angry because that's what I was expecting.
I think I’m growing as a person.