Action / Science Fiction / Fantasy
Ultraviolet: Why Movies Need More Than Action Scenes
Distributed By: Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
I saw the preview for Ultraviolet while watching Underworld: Evolution and was immediately intrigued. The action scenes looked well choreographed and the scenes were brightly colored and shot in an interesting way that made you feel as though you were watching a sort of moving comic book while still remaining live action. It was interesting and it was enough to make me see it. You'd think I would've learned by this point.
The film stars Milla Jovovich as Violet, the narrator and main character of the movie. She immediately explains that this story is about a world in which a virus began to take hold. The government screwed around with it, attempting to create super soldiers. What they created turns out to be a plague that infects mass amounts of people with a disease turning them into Hemophages, also known as vampires, who don't get all extra crispy in the sunlight. This was when I began to get skeptical. I like vampire movies and saw destruction on the horizon.
Anyway, Violet is an assassin and agent for the Hemophages. A Hemophage herself, she lost her child to the disease. Now, she swoops in, attempting and succeeding to capture a weapon that the government plans to use to wipe out all Hemophages. This weapon comes in the form of a child, Six (Cameron Bright, Godsend, Birth) whom Violet and her unrequited maternal instincts can't help but protect. She goes on the run with him, defying the head of the government, Daxus (Nick Chinlund, Chronicles of Riddick) and making enemies of the other Hemophages. She takes him to the only Hemophage she can trust, a scientist named Garth (William Fichtner, Invasion). Violet maintains her tough side with the pretense that she is protecting Six solely because she believes that he could be the cure to the illness that she is suffering from--the disease whose origin is never explained. Defending this boy brings a rain of enemies down on Violet as well as a rain of over dramatization and bad lines. To win, Violet must save Six and heal herself from her mysterious illness that wasn't important enough to explain.
This movie blew. It blew HARD. And this is not normally the terminology I would use, but it's the best way I can think of to describe it. Nobody was expecting Oscar fare here (as a matter of fact, I tend to think the Oscars are overrated and ignore Science Fiction and fantasy, so that's not even the measuring stick I use for movies), but I was expecting entertainment. I walked into this movie expecting incredible action scenes. What I got was a scene in which Violet ducks out of the way of the bullets of a circle of enemies, causing them to kill each other because nobody can think to shoot DOWN. What I got was a scene in which a whole ton of guys run up to Violet, she twirls and they all fall dead. What I got was a scene where guys get shot and then pose. I didn't get an action movie. I got cheesy gimmicks.
Once I realized that the action was not going to be the winning point of the movie, I moved on to the story. Unfortunately, the story had more holes in it then...well...a sock with a lot of holes in it. Why is Violet sick? What the hell is up between Violet and Garth--why start to show images of a relationship with Garth without ever coming even close to following through with it? Why don't we know how the Hemophage virus is transmitted? How does Violet manage not to be detected when she is poked and prodded for traits of Hemophagea during a mission and how does nobody know that a certain other high profile character (trying desperately not to give spoilers here) is a Hemophage? Why does her hair and clothes occasionally change color? What is going on?!
Not finding a good plot I tried for the acting or writing. Here, Jovovich and Bright were decent, while everyone else brought me back to an old cheesy movie. All the while, you could practically feel Jovovich grimacing through terrible lines. Never mind the fact that even the cool visuals looked stale after a while and the air brush that I first saw that made the cinematography look cool suddenly just seemed to simply dull the picture. When the credits ran, I couldn't fight the urge to run to the ladies room in the hopes of being able to piss out the experience.
My colleague will tell you that this was supposed to be nothing more than an entertaining romp, but I submit that there was nothing entertaining about this. Entertainment is equated as watchable. This was not. My husband and I spent $20 to watch something that did nothing but give my eyes good exercise with all the rolling they were doing. My colleague will also tell you that it was supposed to be just like a comic book and was not supposed to be taken seriously. I say that we review comic books seriously. They are the new media, and we have respect for them. Why should Ultraviolet be so different? Because that is a movie that we have no respect for. I couldn't help the feeling that they didn't even try to make a good movie. And not trying can never create anything worth watching.