Twentieth Century Fox's "Babylon A.D." opened strong in its debut weekend at the box office, finishing second place just behind "Tropic Thunder."

The Vin Diesel action film brought in $12 million over the Labor Day weekend -- the final weekend of the summer blockbuster season.

In a futuristic world of hardened warriors, there is Toorop (Diesel), a mercenary who lives by the motto of kill or be killed.

The latest assignment from Gorski (Gerard Depardieu) has Toorop smuggling a young woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry) from a convent in Kazakhstan to New York City.

Along for the 6,000 mile ride is Aurora's guardian, Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) who finds out quickly that her rules and Toorop's rules are vastly different.

So the trio rush and run from city to city in their efforts to get to New York to be delivered to Aurora's father (Joel Kirby). Along the way, a noticeable transformation begins to take place with Aurora, as she carries a secret unbeknownst to Toorop.

While he thinks this is just an ordinary mission, Toorop begins to find out that Aurora is actually carrying twins that have the potential to become the next Messiahs.

The High Priestess (Charlotte Rampling) of the religious Neolites is intent on possessing the girl for her own means, claiming to be her mother.

With that in mind, everybody wants to get their hands on them, which makes their journey all the more dangerous.

They face a plethora of scenarios such as a train ride, submarine voyage and a trek across frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada. Fighting various obstacles along the way, they make their way to New York, where Toorop discovers Aurora's secret.

Toorop has to wonder if saving her life eventually cost him his own, and what is the significance of the twins she has inside of her?

When viewing the trailer for "Babylon A.D.," it gives you the impression that it'll be a solid Vin Diesel action film with plenty of explosions, chases and gunplay.

Well, if you haven't seen it yet, then that's the impression you'll get, but as for the total film, it is a bad second impression.

Unfortunately, not too much of this film was memorable for me. The one scene I found to be hilarious was when Toorop arrives at the convent to escort Aurora. Her protector Sister Rebeka reminds Toorop that he must abide by three rules, including no foul language. Toorop tells Rebeka, "Don't (expletive) with me." Predictable yes, but funny none the less.

There is a lot of character development that was obviously left on the cutting room floor. You find out simply too late into the game what makes Aurora so special, and by then you quit caring.

One minute Toorop is hardcore and willing to kill anything for Aurora, but is then literally dying for her himself. His dialogue is scattered with typical action one-liners, but nothing quoteworthy.

While the plot isn't as idiotic as it seems, it just wasn't played out to make it worthwhile. The ending comes and you're left wondering, as I was, "This is it?"

Only if you are a major fan of Vin Diesel's should you sacrifice 90 minutes of precious time to view "Babylon A.D." at one out of four stars.

I found the trailer to next summer's "Fast And Furious" to have more thrills and action than this film.

"Babylon A.D." is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, language and some sexuality. Running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

DreamWorks "Tropic Thunder" continues its reign at No. 1 for a third straight week with $14.3 million, and closing in on $87 million overall.

Warner Bros. "The Dark Knight" rests at No. 4 for a second straight week with $11 million. It became the second motion picture ever to top the $500 million mark in a record seven weeks at the box office.

Sony Pictures' "The House Bunny" stays in the top five after falling from the second spot at $10 million -- its ten-day total closing in on $30 million.

Sony Pictures' "Pineapple Express" fell three spots from No. 6 to No. 9 with $4.5 million. The Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy has earned $81 million over the past month.

For more information and show times, contact Regal Cinemas Marketplace 24, 180 Mill Rd., Oaks, at 610-666-6697.

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at

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