Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ultraviolet (Kurt Wimmer, 2006)

While most people, after they finish watching Kurt Wimmer's ultra-lame Ultraviolet, tend to focus on Milla Jovovich's never not unexposed midriff or that ridiculous nostril filter doohickey Nick Chinlund wears throughout the movie, I can't help but think, like I always do, about the staggering funeral costs the families of the 1000 plus henchmen Milla kills in this movie will face when all is said and done. And the crazy thing is, the reason they're killed is to save Cameron Bright. That's right, the creepy kid from Birth. Are the lives of a thousand henchmen really worth the life of some annoying little boy? I don't think so. You could argue, getting back to funeral costs for a minute, that The Archministry, the name of the evil organization the henchmen work for, will pay for the funerals of the dead henchmen. But then again, it's going to be hard for The Archministry to pay for anything now that they don't exist. What's that? Oh, haven't you heard? It would seem that The Archministry has pissed off Milla Jovovich. In other words, you don't really have to watch all the way to end to find out that The Archministry's days are numbered. On the plus side, The Archministry janitorial staff aren't going to have much to clean up. Sure, there's going to be lot's of broken glass and spent shell casings to sweep up. But as far as mopping up gallons of blood, you're pretty much off the hook. Unless, of course, Milla Jovovich decides to kill the janitorial staff. If that's the case, the broken glass, the spent shell casings and the not bloodied henchmen corpses will be staying put for awhile.

As I started to wonder why the henchmen didn't spew torrents of blood after Milla Jovovich slices them up with her sword, I remembered that this film is rated PG-13. Meaning, Ultraviolet has been pretty much neutered. Now, I'm not saying I wanted the walls of The Archministry's colourful hallways to be covered with the red stuff. I just think that a little gore would have made the film less antiseptic.

The other problem was that all the henchmen wore gas masks. This made their deaths even more meaningless. Granted, they looked cool (the henchmen costumes are the film's best non-Milla midriff element), but their outfits robbed them of their humanity. To make matters worse, hundreds of them are killed off-screen. I realize the ADD-infected robots who edited this movie were trying to break up the monotony of the fight scenes. But by not showing some of the battles Milla Jovovich engages in during her one-woman siege of The Archministry, the film signaled to me that Milla was never in any real danger.

And while, yes, Milla Jovovich does have a few close calls here and there, she's never really challenged. Oh, sure. There's a moment during the final showdown where Milla Jovovich takes the time to admire the back-flip a henchmen implements during a hallway sword fight. But other than that, Milla fights one faceless chump after another.

Oh, and when Milla Jovovich does face enemies with faces (the non-fearsome Blood Chinois), they end up accidentally shooting one another (Milla's quickness is no match for bullets fired from guns).

If you're wondering why Milla Jovovich's Violet Song Jat Shariff is able to dispatch her foes with such ease. It's simple, really. She's Milla Jovovich. It's what she does. Seriously, though. She's able to get the jump on her adversaries because she's a Hemophage. I know, a Hemo-what? Infected with a vampire virus, Hemophages are blessed with super-human strength and lightening fast reflexes. Unfortunately, Hemophages have a shelf life of only twelve or so years after being infected. If that wasn't enough, the germophobic human population are determined to wipe them out.

In charge of making sure all this happens is Vice-Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus (Nick Chinlund), the leader of The Archministry, a corporation dedicated to eradicating the Hemoglophagic Virus or HGV for short.

When word gets out that  Ferdinand Daxus has come up with a weapon designed to solve the Hemophage problem once and for all, the Hemophages send Violet to steal it.

After an invasive security screening at The Archministry (every Jovo-hole you can think of is poked and prodded), Violet gets her hands on the weapon. Or does she? Either way, when The Archministry discover that Violet is an impostor, a twenty minute chase sequence gets underway. Well, I wouldn't call it a "chase sequence." It's more like an extended Nice 'N Easy commercial, as more attention seemed to go toward making sure Milla's hair looked just right than making sure the CGI looked halfway decent.

Using "flat-space technology" and "dimension-compressing" during her escape from The Archministry, Violet can defy gravity (she rides her motorcycle up walls) and can cause guns to materialize in her hand just by thinking about them. While everything I just mentioned sounds pretty cool, the execution is poor. You would better off watching Ghost in the Shell or the Æon Flux shorts that aired on MTV in the early 1990s.

Hell, you would probably be better off watching the Æon Flux movie with Charlize Theron. Which, for some strange reason, is what I plan on doing next. It's got to better than Ultraviolet. I mean, this movie is just plain awful.

Anyway, after babysitting Cameron Bright's Six (it turns out the weapon is a boy) and hanging out with William Fichtner (he wears non-hypoallergenic sweaters and wrap-around sunglasses) during the film's dull middle third, Violet fights some long-haired Hemophages in a cemetery (fighting Violet with a ponytail is never a good choice) and eventually musters up the courage to take on The Archministry all by herself. Since a large number of Vice-Cardinal's henchmen are killed off-screen, it's hard to say how many she dispatches during the final push to his office. But I think I overheard the Vice-Cardinal mention that he has 750 men under his command. And given that Violet kills them all, that means that there could be over 750 children whose daddy won't be coming home tonight. And it's all because some vampire ninja with a super-flat stomach doesn't want the scientist's at daddy's work to cut up Cameron Bright's brain. Ugh. Easy, breezy, dreadful.

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