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GRITZ Movie Reviews: Traitor, Babylon and Disaster Movie

Posted: Sep 03, 2008


FBI agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) heads up the investigation into a dangerous international conspiracy, and all clues seem to lead back to former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn (Don Cheadle), a man who has every earmark of an international terrorist. But we learn quickly that things are not what they seem, as Samir is seen meeting with a CIA contractor (Jeff Daniels), and we begin to see Samir as the good guy. Or is he? 

This film received moderate to bad reviews when it opened last week, but as for me, I loved it. Sure, you have to think. You have to get into the movie, and much like a really good Tom Clancy novel, you have to be willing to focus, and pay attention. This ain’t House Bunny, fellow babies. It’s what Lester Bangs would have called a “think piece.” And in a cinematic world that is filled with push up bras and fart jokes, I am all about a think piece.


It is the not-too-distant future, in a world that is Bladerunner meets Mad Max. Thousands of satellites scan, observe and monitor our every move. Much of the planet is a war zone; the rest, a collection of vast wastelands punctuated by areas left radioactive from nuclear meltdowns.

Toorop, (Vin 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 (Melanie Thierry) and Aurora’s guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) embark on a 6,000 mile road trip from Eastern Europe  through one obstacle after another, finally making it to the big “rotten” apple, a city with advertising on every building, car, plane and corner. Charlotte Rampling (The Swimming Pool) is at her bitchy best as the High Priestess who is out to kill pretty young Aurora.

While Diesel won’t be up for any acting awards any time soon, he does what he is there to do, and the action is virtually non-stop, and the sci-fi aspect is excellent, with fold out maps that utilize drag and drop like a MAC, and all sorts of nifty science fiction gadgets and machines, in some of the most believable epics since Blade Runner.


From the geniuses who brought us Scary Movie, Epic Movie, and the rest, the latest time waster, the aptly named Disaster Movie,  pokes fun at all the summer hits, and yes, there are some laughs, but by no means would I recommend plopping down the $8.50 (or even the $6.50 for matinee). Maybe rent the DVD.

The girl playing Juno is funny, making fun of the real Juno’s educated and cool commentaries on everything. Of course there are some gross scenes, but since this is obviously aimed at an adolescent audience, I will let that be. Brief appearances by Batman, The Hulk, Iron Man and Hancock are kind of cute, but the Princess (in a send up of Enchanted) steels a lot of scenes.

A whole lot of the movie is modeled loosely after Cloverfield, with High School Musical thrown in and Carmen Electra playing Angelina Jolie’s character from Wanted, as one of the characters is told to “curve the bullet” to shoot the kids from Superbad who are stealing all the liquor. I know, right?



BABE WATCH: Carmen Electra takes on Angelina's Wanted character. Pretty hot, but not as interesting as Jolie.

Reviews by Michael Buffalo Smith

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tennesseewaltz says...

I don't know Buffalo, Carmen looks pretty damn good!

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