Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at NCDevCon 2011 (Raleigh, NC) with:

Babylon A.D., Vin Diesel, And The Sad State Of Badassery

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Movies

Over the weekend, I saw Babylon A.D. starring my main man, Vin Diesel. I was pretty pumped up for this movie. Vin Diesel is just a total badass and it's been far too long since he was in a really good movie. I have to say, I've been looking forward to this movie for months - I even got there like 45 minutes early for fear that it might sell out. Unfortunately, all of this joy and anticipation was crushed in the first two minutes of the film. It started out really bad. And then, it got worse. And then it continued to disappoint again and again over the next hour and half.


 
 
 

 
Babylon A.D. Movie Poster With Vin Diesel  
 
 
 

What happened? This movie had all the right ingredients to be awesome. It had a sort of post-apocalyptic future. This type of dark, run down, technology obsessed environment that's just ripe with badass opportunity. It had Vin Diesel for christ sake! This guy is just unassailably badass. If you've ever seen the movie Pitch Black, then you know what kind of untapped potential there is in this man:


 
 
 

 
Vin Diesel As Riddick In Pitch Black  
 
 
 

I saw that movie like 8 years ago and I still have it fresh in my head. I swear, when I think about how Vin killed an alien creature, then looked down at it and growled, "Did NOT know who it was fuckin' with!" - I still get goose bumps.

And, Babylon A.D. had Michelle Yeoh! She may be a lesser known name, but she is a real man's man. Anyone who's seen Tai Chi Master or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon knows that you can just put a camera on this woman and let the magic unfold.


 
 
 

 
Michelle Yeah In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  
 
 
 

Apparently, she has no formal martial arts training (she was a dancer), but she can just light up the screen with her acrobatic expertise.

Babylon A.D. had all of this going for it, all of the right pieces, the right ingredients and yet, nothing! I was so disappointed that when I got home, I had to watch Terminator 2 just to wash the taste out of my mouth (Come with me if you want to live).

But why? What's the core problem here? I think really, what it comes down to is that Hollywood just doesn't know how to make movies about badasses anymore. And I don't think its that the right actors aren't out there, they are. The problem, as demonstrated by Babylon A.D., is that even if they are there, movie makers simply don't know what to do with them.

Thank god we still have people like Frank Miller who know how to deliver true badassery.


 
 
 

 
Sin City By Frank Miller  
 
 
 

But are my kids gonna do? Or my kid's kids? Hopefully Hollywood will get back on track.



Reader Comments

That you for this. I was going to produce the exact same rant (sans all the pretty pictures), but now I don't have to.

WTF was up with that ending?

@Rick,

The ending was rediculous. And what's even funnier is that it then was like this in the course of a minute:

- Scene
- Scene 9 months later
- Scene 5 years later
- Closing credits

What?!?! Are you kidding me? That's how you end? But really, the whole movie was fitting with the end.

Here's one of my biggest confusions: if this girl was so important, why did the high priestess send *only* two Range Rovers after her? Two? I was thinking you'd send a whole lot of people after her!

Uggg, I can feel myself getting angry... breathe, breathe, find a happy place.

I wanted to put Hal Helms' head over the one in the background, but I thought that might have been going a bit too far. (And it would have been only for the absurdity -- but I didn't want anyone to read anything else into me putting his head on a woman's body.)

But at least you got to see the "Fast and the Furious: New Model" trailer before the film, right? That looks to be a nice return to the series' roots.

@Rick,

Yeah, that's true; I was excited to see Fast and Furious up there. I've always thought the concept of the stealing stuff via high speed car chases is totally idiotic... but dangit if I love that movie. I own it on DVD of course.

Second was lame. Tokyo Drift was kinda of cool. Will definitely be looking forward to some Vin action in the fourth.

@Darth,

Yeah, I have to go back and watch that movie. I think I watched that before I even knew who Vin was. Gotta go back and give it another watch now that I am in the "know."

Well Gustav is close now. Pray for our mates like Ray (CFJediMaster) Camden. I am - actually watching "Good Morning America" in Australia now despite it being 4:20am. Yawn!

Sheesh! Must look that up.

Oh and it is "badarse" not "badass" at least for us Aussies!

Arse rolls off the tongue better don't you think!

Pronounced "Arrssssss!" heh!

Cheers!

@PaulH,

I heard some similar things elsewhere. That really sucks. They pulled a bad move and they are hurting for it now.

Vin Diesel rocks. Has anyone seen him in Find Me Guilty? It's a courtroom drama directed by the great Sidney Lumet, but I didn't hear anything about it after Vin promoted it on The Daily Show. I'm quite curious.

And thanks for bringing up Pitch Black, Ben. I think that is a seriously underrated movie. In addition to the crazy surprises in the story (which continue until the final minutes) Vin Diesel's badassery was way more ambiguous. Is Riddick a good guy or a bad guy? You're not really sure for the entire film.

I rented Find My Guilty last year. It was pretty decent. It was actually a funny movie and Vin plays a great character in it. He basically a guy who loves everybody. In fact, in one scene, this other guy comes into Vin's bedroom and starts shooting him and while he is getting shot, Vin is like, "Why are you doing this? I love you". It was pretty funny.

Yeah, Pitch Black is great. And you're right, it totally is ambiguous. I'd go so far as to say I am not even 100% sure how the ending even works out. When he and Rhada Mitchell are in their last moments. They lead you to think one way, but they never really 100% convince you.

And, I happen to love the sequel too. Usually sequels are totally crappy, but I think they pulled it off. It was a much more main stream movie, but they kept his character and attitude.

If they came out with another one, I'd definitely be on line :)

The problem is, both of those movies were much better than this one - the 5th Element especially. And they let Milla Jovovich be way more badass that Michelle Yeoh, which is a shame.

It's because Hollywood keeps making movies that people in fly-over America don't want to pay $$$ to go watch.

@ben

a directors cut DVD?

speaking of which, any idea if wimmer released one for ultraviolet? i understand that the studio hacked that up as well.

@PaulH,

A directors cut would be cool

Ultraviolet was another one of those movies that had some cool potential, but fell short.

I remember an older movie that something similar happened to. Highlander II, the directors cut was an improvement, but it was still awful.

i love vin diesel so much i love u vin , i wish 2 see u , i wish 2 vist egypt and come 2 vist 15 may city.
i love ur films,action,voice,face and ur body,so with best wishes