In the not-too-distant future, all humanity inhabit a universe where thousands of satellites scan, observe and monitor our every move. Much of the planet is a war zone; the rest, a collection of wretched way stations, teeming megalopolises, and vast wastelands punctuated by areas left radioactive from nuclear meltdowns. It is a world made for hardened warriors, one of whom, a mercenary known only as Toorop (Van Diesel), lives by a simple survivor’s code: kill or be killed.
His latest assignment has him smuggling a young woman named Aurora from a convent in Kazakhstan to New York City. Toorop, his new young charge Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) and Aurora’s guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) embark on a 6,000 mile journey that takes them from Eastern Europe, through a refugee camp in “New Russia,” across the Bering Straits in a stolen submarine, then through the frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada, and finally to New York.
Facing obstacles at every turn, Toorop, the killer for hire, is tested in ways he could never have imagined as he comes to understand that he is the custodian of the only hope for the future of mankind.
Adapted from the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice G. Dantec, director Mathieu Kassovitz sets his film against a global stage, hurtling the action from Eastern Europe, across the ocean, through Alaska and Canada, and into the “promised land” of New York. Everything in the film is bigger than life: cars are airlifted by giant electric helicopters; warriors square off in vicious combat inside a “fight cage”; snowmobiles fly through the air while exchanging gunfire; missiles shoot through the streets of the Big Apple; and video commercials and are everywhere because televisions cannot be turned off – you can only change the channel.
A predictable futuristic travelogue with Diesel trying vainly to recreate a little early Harrison Ford from Blade Runner, this one does have its moments – particularly the impressive New York sets. Overall, though, it descends quickly into fairly formulaic fare with the lone gunman pitted against overwhelming odds.