Action / Science Fiction / Fantasy
Ultraviolet: A Fun Movie When You Donít Expect Much
By Jon Minners
Let me just say this right off the bat. Anyone who paid $10 to see Ultraviolet expecting that it would be a science fiction masterpiece the likes of Star Wars or The Matrix deserved to be disappointed and deserved to lose their money.
Quick recap. In the late 21st Century, the world is divided between humans and enhanced beings called Hemophages. Hemophages were accidentally created when some experiment by humans to create a real life Captain America goes horribly wrong, leading to a virus that turns its victim into super powered beings. The government is scared of them and wants to destroy them, so they create the perfect weapon to end the blood war between them. A woman named Violet, played by Milla Jovovich, contracts the disease, loses her baby and makes it her mission to protect her people until she finds herself having to protect the man-made created weapon that turns out to be a young boy named Six, played by Cameron Bright. There is somewhat of a weak twist here, but one that made me think of the political landscape we currently reside in.
Anyways, there was nothing about the movie that suggested anything more than a popcorn film to have fun watching. The fact that the movie was not shown to preview audiences should have been the ultimate tip-off. It sort of amazes me that anyone went to see this expecting anything more than a lot of flash, little substance and a lot of bad acting. Did we not see Resident Evil: Apocalypse? Jovovich does not make good movies. She makes entertaining ones and this was actually pretty entertaining.
There were a number of things I found humorous about the film. I loved the climactic battle that resulted in swords being set ablaze before the hero and villain clash, not only because when she got cut, it was kind of a cool visual, but because it was a funny geek-nod to Star Wars. I mean, even the villain, with his nose piece, sort of reminded me of a poor manís Darth Vader, who could not afford his outfit. And that was funny to me. You had your nods to The Matrix, in terms of the obvious religious overtones (how many times did you need to see the Cross to pick up on it?) and the over-the-top action sequences. The fact that Violet killed a million people with just a sword and no help was a total geek-off to Kill Bill.
And then you had your other little nods to campy classics. This is my biggest point. The opening montage of comic books totally gave the movie away. It was a spoof without it really being a spoof. The film did not take itself seriously and never asks the viewer to, because that is why it displayed mock covers of comic books that didnít exist. It was making fun of itself and it expected the viewers to just sit back and enjoy the ride; lots of color, lots of visual candy and a lot of old school bad dialogue. I felt like I was watching a badly dubbed anime at times when the characters spoke, trying to say as much as they could with one breath and offering up monologues as Japanese films often do. The scene where a virtual big head spoke to Violet was such a nod to British films. Just have fun with it.
People loved Flash Gordon. They actually did. It is like a cult hit. But the film was so bad on so many levels. There is even a scene where the main villain did not know the name of our planet and after discovering it, decides to attack us pressing several buttons for weapons that included an earthquake. He didnít know the name of our planet, but had a weapon that produced a negative environmental disaster named after the planet we live on. And it made me laugh and there was so much to laugh about, but the film was also fun and had cool action. Ultraviolet is not much different. It is visually appealing and just a lot of fun to watch with plenty of things to laugh about. I made fun of the strange, almost perverse relationship that Violet had with Six and the scene where three guys posed as they were shot. It was such a laughable scene, but recognizing that the film was not made to be an epic masterpiece that wins any Academy Award, I just enjoyed myself.
I mean, there was a lot to like about the film. I loved when she confronted the Yakuza clan. They surround her, pull out guns and fire and we watch as she dodges all the bullets, resulting in the group shooting themselves. It was just a really kick ass scene. They sort of repeat this later in sword fight, but it ends in such a cool manner with her sword going through a bad guyís face. Yes, it was PG-13 so we didnít get to see blood, but the director worked his way around that, having Violet destroy creatures seemingly made up of glass rather than have her slice off limbs; the rest is up to our imagination.
I also loved the ideas on how they can download a number of weapons into their bodies, use anti-gravity devices and the use of disposable cell phones you can get on the street instead of a pay phone. And even though there was some bad acting in the film, and I wanted the child to die an ultraviolent death, I did laugh when our evil villain surrounds Violet with an army of thousands and asks, ďAre you mental?Ē when she thinks she can take them on. Technically, all she had to do was dodge bullets and have them kill themselves, but I digress.
I even like the message attacking our president. Hmmmm...terrorism references; A man who attacks terrorism when he is in fact a terrorist himself; the use of fear to rule over the people - pay attention to the film, because there is a message being delivered. So, while the film comes up short on so many ends (especially the fact that the Hemophages are actually vampires who donít biteÖhuh?), but it is a fun film that can be enjoyed for its action, laughed at for its acting and dissected for its meaning. I plan on checking out the DVD for the extras. So what if the film sort of sucks; itís going to be a film more and more people will like as time goes on. Someoneís guilty pleasure, just like it is mine.