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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Monday, January 12, 2009

JoBlo's DVD Clinic Audition 1: Babylon A.D. Raw and Uncut

A little background for the readership here, I applied for an opening with JoBlo's DVD Clinic back in November/December of '08. Now, seeing as I've been a DVD doctorate for quite sometime now, I'm glad to say I'm one of the final 20 in the running for said candidacy. The assignment, a seemingly simple one: Watch 2 movies, and rate the film and its DVD content. It's still a breeze, but not as much of one as you would think. The two films assigned to the finalists: Pineapple Express and Babylon A.D. Naturally, you know how much I LOVE to rip into bad cinema, so the first review up will be Babylon A.D. Pineapple Express will be later on in the week, I'm anticipating a Wed./Thurs. posting. (The deadline is Friday.)

To the editors at JoBlo, I hope this audition at the very least entertains you, and I hope I've impressed you enough to get the job. If not, I can jump through fire hoops while reciting the script to The Last Starfighter. Just say the word. Also, sorry for stealing your DVD Clinic header, I wanted to format the post to get a feel for what the final product would look like posted on your site.

To the other competitors out there, if you're reading this, best of luck to you all! I'm glad to be included in such a group.

Mike Reyes reviews "Babylon A.D. - Raw and Uncut: Single Disc Edition

Babylon A.D. - Raw and Uncut: Single Disc Edition

Movie: 1/2
DVD: 1/2
Overall: 1/2

What’s it about?

I don't know...you tell me? Last I could tell it was about a mercenary (Vin “It's Go Time” Diesel) and a nun (Michelle Yeoh) escorting a girl to America from Eastern Europe.

Is it a good movie?

BABYLON A.D. doesn't know what type of movie it is, what it's doing with its characters, or what the overall message of the final product is. It is also one of the rare cases where the increasingly negative hype is completely believable. You know you have a problem when the director himself complains about how the studio financing his film has no imagination. (C’mon, Fox has plenty of imagination. They released MEET DAVE and imagined filmgoers around the world would embrace it!) If you look closely enough with this one, you can see the glue trails after they've pasted something new into the mix. (Trust me, there's plenty of examples.)

This movie is a complete and utter mess that quickly uses and discards plot devices from other, better movies and manages to throw in some terrible dialogue and action sequences that don't even move the plot. In fact, there's no semblance of plot whatsoever, because having a plot would mean they'd have to explain all the narrative threads laid down in the film and make them somewhat plausible. That's just too much to ask here, so instead they give us the cinematic equivalent of a clip show.

Along with the pseudo CHILDREN OF MEN scenario, they throw in a little bit of religious commentary that never really pans out the way it should, and roughly 30 seconds of background on Vin Diesel's character in the last act of the film. (He was a kid solider. He's now a mercinary. He needs a hug.) The end result seems less like a Sci Fi adventure and more like the CASINO ROYALE '67 of action films, with characters coming and going for no apparent reason explained in the plot. (Not to mention in the future the movie presents to us, Coca Cola apparently owns the world). The “Raw and Uncut” label to the DVD seems to exist only as a good excuse to add some F-bombs to the film's already...colorful script. (Hey...brown is a color.)


Video: 2.35:1 Widescreen. This movie is crap, but it's decent looking crap.
Audio: 5.1, but it really doesn't take full advantage of it. Only a couple action scenes seemed to use the full environmental effect.

The Extras:

Extras? You’re lucky you’re walking out of the rental store without getting laughed at. Ok, fine. How about the theatrical cut on the other side of the disc? Is that satisfactory? C’mon, it’s not like they were going to create any disc art for this one anyway. Oh, and there's trailers for THE ROCKER, MAX PAYNE, and X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE. Apologies to the fans.

Final Diagnosis:

BABYLON A.D. is so bad, I can only recommend this film to two demographics: Those who enjoy making fun of movies with their own running commentary, and those who enjoy pain. Vin Diesel, when he picks the right projects, is a good actor. (Rent FIND ME GUILTY, and try to argue with me after.) It’s hard to believe the guy who got a big break in THE IRON GIANT and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN has resorted to making movies like this and THE PACIFIER in order to make his car payment. Good luck with FAST AND FURIOUS, Vin!

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