Babylon A.D. (2008) Mathieu Kassovitz

Production Budget: $70 million
Worldwide Gross: about $56 million

This was Kassovitz’s (La Haine, Gothika) baby for a long time.  He spent over five years writing an adaptation for the big screen.  However, Kassovitz had difficulty from day one from Fox execs.  Kassovitz had difficulty initially shooting in Eastern Europe due to weather.  Scripts were changed constantly, shots were changed, and the studios had final say on the cut.  There was a clear disconnect between the movie Kassovitz wanted and what Fox wanted.  Kassovitz wanted a deep sci fi movie about a futuristic world where wars are no longer about territory but corporations and money.  Fox wanted an action movie with Vin Diesel.  The production had to move to Switzerland for other scenes because of the lack of snow.  The production ended up being three weeks late and overbudget.

The release of the movie was damaged due to Kassovitz (pulling a Bill Cosby) got into a fight with Fox and panned his own movie.  The director called the action a “bad episode of ’24′”.  Reports were Fox cut 70 minutes off the original movie (although Kassovitz says its only 15 minutes) and the director stated the movie is nothing like that of his original vision.  The movie got almost no promotion and was not screened for critics.

Is it any good?  HA, no.  It doesn’t work in either regard.  As a Vin Diesel actioner it is uninteresting.  There are very few action scenes and what little there is Diesel just goes through the motions.  Diesel looks really tired during the whole movie.  And as a sci fi deep movie it is worthless.  The whole feel of it is schizophrenic as we make these whiplash inducing leaps from being a Blade Runner wannabe to Chronicles of Riddick wannabe action movie.  I can also tell you I have no freaking idea what was going on with the plot.  I was paying attention, and at the final battle scene I could not tell you who was fighting who, why they were fighting, what the real stakes were being involved here, and the motivations from Diesel’s character to do anything?  That’s all due to massive cuts and a rewritten scrips.  All this means the movie is a major piece of ass and you should take the director’s word for it.


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