Worth A Look: 16.44%
Pretty Bad: 34.25%
Total Crap: 13.7%
6 reviews, 37 user ratings
by Doug Bentin
I usually wait about 18-24 hours after seeing a movie before I write my review, assuming that by that time Iíll have come up with something good to say about even the lamest picture. I saw ďUltravioletĒ yesterday. Timeís up.Kurt Wimmer, writer/director of the new SF actioner ďUltraviolet,Ē does something really smart with the film, and something really stupid.
"Something smart. Something dumb. Dumb wins."
Smart: he dresses lead Milla Jovovich in tight pants, tells her to shift her expression frequently from pouting invitation to pissed off aggression, and then lets her strut her stuff for the camera.
Stupid: he gives her dialogue expressing some small level of emotion and expects her to deliver it convincingly.
And letís add a third degree of annoying: he depends far too much on the smart stuff; so much, in fact, he manages to achieve the seemingly impossible of turning the hottest actress in contemporary action films into a bore with too much pouting, posing, strutting, etc. Whatís left for the doddering critic after reaching the point at which he gets bored looking at Milla Jovovich? I feel like Iíve turned into Abe Simpson.
But itís not my fault. Itís Wimmerís. He should have slipped something else into ďUltravioletĒóa plot, believable characters I could care about, decent CGI, a listenable music score, convincing acting, something.
Jovovich is Violet, a super-soldier-menace-to-society-vampire-asswhupper of the future. A significant percentage of the population is like her, except that the men are ugly and despite thousands of years of civilization still havenít learned how to shave without leaving a stubble.
As a rebel, Violet steals what she believes is something that will turn the tide of history, but it turns out to be a human child. Yes, itís another rebels vs. the establishment SF storyóis there any other kind in the movies? The kid is played by Cameron Bright, surely the creepiest movie kid du jour since the baby in ďAlien.Ē Maybe Bright is a nice fella, but heís ugly and heís never given even the slightest hint that he can act. Central casting must be fresh out of Haley Joel Osments. Bright, as usual, is a blank slate, dull looking and void of emotion. By comparison, Iíve seen cardboard boxes with more personality. And I mean empty boxes.
So Violet is stuck with this kid, for whom her maternal instincts come to the fore and she kills several hundred faceless extras, usually in groups of a dozen or so, to protect him.
Wimmer has made it clear from the opening credits that he sees all this as a live-action comic book. In fact, the credits are laid over comic book covers and splash panels. I guess thatís why Jovovich does so much posing, but turning the action of a film into the static illustration of a comic book seems like a pretty dubious directorial choice to me.
Nick Chinlund, who looks too much like that huckster who does the Toyota-Thon commercials to be taken seriously, is the Villain With a Dark Secret, although itís the same secret these guys usually have so good luck not seeing through it, and William Fichtner is Violetís fellow freedom fighter. The acting is immaterial. Donít worry about it.
Wimmer tries to disguise the lousy computer effects by softening his images, removing shadows and contours. Itís an imaging gimmick youíll see through during the first action sequence.
Milla Jovovichís formidable presence is usually the main attraction in the movies sheís in, but here sheís too much of a good thing. ďUltravioletĒ is a pumped up direct to video flick that got lucky. But not lucky enough.Itís all essentially one long and unconvincing action sequence interrupted on occasion by dreadful acting and a disposable techo-trash tub-thumping music score. Look at meóIím yawning to the beat.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14081&reviewer=405
originally posted: 03/22/06 03:30:33