Vin Diesel's Babylon A.D. Has Been Cut to Shreds!
Last November we posted an article speculating that the upcoming sci-fi movie Babylon A.D. was going to be edited by Fox before its release, the same way Hitman and Live Free or Die Hard were previously. I've been following the development of Babylon A.D. since the start because it looks like an incredibly return to science fiction for Vin Diesel. Unfortunately Twitch has an update - and it's for the worst. They've heard that the film has been submitted to UK's BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) for certification as a 90 minute, soft PG-13 flick, which is not what it .
Last year it was reported that the 2 hours and 40 minutes version that French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz originally shot was going to be significantly shorter in the US. At that time it was only speculation - the information was coming from a trusted source. Now this information is solid, it's actually coming from the BBFC (you can see the page on their site here!). The only bit in question is how much they cut and whether Kassovitz's original version was much longer and R-rated. However, if that 160 minutes is accurate, then that means they've cut 70 minutes out - nearly half of the film!
Twitch reports that the BBFC has rated the film 12A, "which is the equivalent of a soft PG-13 in the US - many PG-13 films are rated 15 in the UK - meaning there can't be much action or violence left in the picture whatsoever." I'm not familiar with Kassovitz, but Twitch is, and they say "there's absolutely no way he set out to make a PG-13 rated action picture, no way at all." I'm pretty sure I believe them, because I've thought all along that this way going to be R. From the photos to the plot synopsis to the set reports and everything. It sounds like this is truly turning out disastrous.
In the film, Veteran-turned-mercenary Thoorop (Vin Diesel) takes the high-risk job of escorting a woman from Russia to China. Little does he know that she is host to an organism that a cult wants to harvest in order to produce a genetically modified Messiah and destroy the human race. Check out this very badass behind-the-scenes featurette made after they finished shooting.
Unfortunately there is not much we can do. At all. When similar stories like this came out about Hitman, we complained, but nothing changed. The Fox execs have their objective and are going to do what they want no matter how much we say. And boycotting won't help either. I want to see this anyway and will see it even at least to see how watered down the 90 minute, PG-13 version is. I'm wondering what we can do in situations like this? First off, we need to confirm the details on the original cut from Kassovitz himself.
Babylon A.D. is reported to have a budget of around $60 million. The film is directed by French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz, who directed Gothika and a French film from 2000 titled The Crimson Rivers as well as a few other French flicks. The best we can do at the moment is hold out until its August 29th release date and make sure to make our complaints as loud as possible. Let Fox know they shouldn't mess with movies like this!
Update! The guys at Twitch have found out a few new details, but they're unconfirmed as of yet. Apparently actress Michelle Yeoh said that the original version, which will be hitting theaters in mainstream Europe without Fox's cuts, is only 105 minutes. If that's true, it might mean that Kassovitz did end up making a 105 minute (one hour and 45 minutes) movie that was cut down by only 15 minutes for the US release. We'll update this as we hear more!