Babylon A.D.

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By Mark Ramsey | 2008/09/06

Just when you thought the dog days of summer were over, along comes a dog whose day certainly should be.

Anytime an action movie is headlined by Vin Diesel, look out! “I’m thrusting both chins into this one,” said Diesel to the suits at 20th Century Fox, one fox desperately trying to hide its tail between its legs.

“I’m going to be an action star if it’s the last thing I do,” added Diesel, “and most folks hope it will be.”

I’m talkin’ about Babylon A.D., a movie that didn’t go direct to DVD, frankly, because DVD wouldn’t have it.

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Audiences around the globe agree that Diesel is more likely to possess weapons of mass destruction than any discernible acting chops, and I don’t mean Diesel’s mass destruction of enunciation: Babylon A.D. should have been called Mumble-on A.D. Nobody rumbles and mumbles with the slickly disaffected and somnambulistic cool of Vin Diesel. If “boring” had a gym membership, its initials would be V.I.N.

“You need two things to live in this business,” mumbled Vin, “your balls and your word. And if your word is ‘balls’ you only need one thing.”

Cut to a beautiful, young, full-lipped girl raised by nuns, because aren’t they all?

“Why are your lips so impossibly full?” asked Vin.

“Because I’m smuggling refugees across the border from one side of my mouth to the other,” she explained.

“That makes as much sense as anything else in this movie,” said some Teamster who just walked on set and delivered that line knowing it wouldn’t matter because nobody would see the movie anyway.

The nuns’ girl is very special, indeed – she could speak 19 different languages by age 2, but none of those languages is worth hearing. It turns out that her dad is a scientist and her mom is a supercomputer, evidently with both Intel and Angelina Jolie inside.

Vin’s job is to transport her to New York or hopefully die trying.babylon_sunbehind.jpg

Cut to the legendary Charlotte Rampling as the “High Priestess,” and who must have been quite high indeed when she said “yes” to this gig.

Rampling is doing her level best to make us forget that she was ever even within spitting range of the call sheet for The Verdict with Paul Newman. Her first scene is in a Botox machine, and her face is the last taut experience you’ll have in this flick.

Things are bad in this futuristic world, and not just because you have to rely on the Corey Feldman of action stars to save the day. The worst thing about this Diesel-powered future is that I have lived long enough to see it. Characters are desperately trying to do what years of audience neglect has been unable to do: Terminate Vin once and for all.

When our heroes finally reach New York it has been transformed into Logotropolis! The city that never sleeps also never stops providing gratuitous opportunities for product placement! “It’s the brand of the free and the Home Depot of the brave!” exclaimed Vin, as his chins rubbed together to play our national anthem.

I think I fell asleep watching Vin’s fake tattoos dry. Perhaps they should have called this Babylon P.M.

“Oh well,” said Vin, as the lights came up and the crickets sang their lonely song, “there’s always my moving company: ’2 guys and Vin Diesel will move you.’”

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