When all you know about Babylon A.D. is the trailer, you may think the movie is going to be good — derivative, perhaps, but good. There is nothing wrong with that; I thought the same thing. The purpose of the trailer is to make the movie look good, make it appealing to as wide an audience as it can. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and this is a good example of that.
The science fiction epic should have been able to deliver the goods, but instead of being an entertaining movie, it's an exercise in tedium filled with overblown action sequences with characters I could not care less about telling a story that doesn't make much sense. The best thing you can do with this movie is skip it. If you absolutely must see a hollow exercise in action, make it Death Race; that one may be dumb, but it is more exhilarating.
Of course, if you pay attention to movie sites you already had a good idea that this movie was going to fail to deliver. Why? Because of the wonderful things that director Mathieu Kassovitz had to say about it. Among his comments is this gem from AMC's Sci Fi Scanner: "I'm very unhappy with the film. I never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be. The script wasn't respected. Bad producers, bad partners, it was a terrible experience." Certainly makes it sound like a winner, no?
The film opens with pouring rain, a pounding hip hop beat, and a poncho-clad Vin Diesel walking int slow motion tough guy mode through a war torn future, soldiers marching by, people selling weapons out of tents, scary stuff. Where is he heading? To confront a bad guy, of course. What evil did he perpetrate against our hero? Sold him a bad gun. Oh well, I guess not all of the battles can be about world-changing events. Still, this opening struck me as awfully anti-climactic.
Shortly thereafter, Vin Diesel, as mercenary Toorop, is having himself some dinner when his apartment is invaded by men with guns. It turns out that a man named Gorsky needs to hire him for an important mission. Toorop is charged with traveling to a remote monastery in Mongolia, where he will transport a young girl to New York City. Why? That is never made clear.