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Babylon AD

Guy Ferrandis/20th Century Fox

Review in a Hurry: If Children of Men and The Transporter bore a mentally challenged offspring, this would be it: In a dystopian future world, shaven-headed mercenary Toorop (Vin Diesel) must transport a magically pregnant nun (Mélanie Thierry) from Mongolia to New York, though the whole trip is quite likely a setup.

The Bigger Picture: If we could give incomplete as a grade, it would be appropriate here. Based on the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice G. Dantec, the movie sets up a compelling future world and a decent enough premise. Diesel, back in the charismatic badass mode that made him a star in The Chronicles of Riddick and The Fast and the Furious, partners up with the equally badass Michelle Yeoh (playing the pregnant girl’s protector), and they journey across a Eurasian continent that looks like a war ravaged techno-club to a Blade Runner-Speed Racer fusion America, all while dealing with a subtext about the nature of religion and capitalism and humanity itself.

Sounds good, no? Unfortunately, an abbreviated running time seems to have been the studios primary concern, with action sequences hacked into near incoherence and an infuriatingly truncated ending that appears to be missing about 30 minutes worth of plot, including the part that might explain how our heroes are supposed to be safe from the villain (a seriously wasted Charlotte Rampling) they never escaped or even seriously confronted.

It's not like the movie's bad exactly, but it sets up a promise that remains unfulfilled. Actor-turned director Mathieu Kasovitz has been publicly complaining about his treatment by Fox, but this is still evidently more ambitious than his Gothika.  

Also, Toorop is really a stupid name. Just sayin'.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Fans of B-level sci-fi along the lines of, say, Freejack or The Lawnmower Man, will likely enjoy this on cable or DVD, especially if they’re drunk enough that they don't care too much about plot mechanics.