– Summary –
Director : Kurt Wimmer
Year Of Release : 2006
Principal Cast : Milla Jovovich, Nick Chinlund, Cameron Bright, William Fichtner.
Approx Running Time : 90 Minutes
Synopsis: Something about vampiric humanoids at war with actual humans, a young boy with the answer, and a bunch of really, really shitty special effects.
What we think : Possibly one of the worst films I’ve almost finished.
Kurt Wimmer, the man behind one of my all time favourite films in Equilibrium, is responsible for this mess. UltraViolet, a debacle from opening credit to closing “finale”, is about as coherent as an epileptic seizure underwater. I sat down to watch this on BluRay (after picking it up cheap at the local electronics store) and was utterly amazed at just how dreadful it was. The money spent on this film’s production is undeniably on screen – for about four minutes of “Comic book” opening credits, before dissipating into a video-game styled bedazzlement of lighting and edits. The story is incoherent, the acting atrocious and, even worse considering Wimmer’s pedigree, the action diabolical. A little research online about UltraViolet indicates that some post-production tampering, and studio tension, took place, resulting in what looks like an editing job performed by a monkey tripping on LSD. Milla Jovovich, who isn’t the worlds greatest actress anyway, comes off as wooden and distant, perhaps due to the seemingly neverending camera pans up and down the length of her stunning figure. For a film with this much style and potential, you’d think they’d have put more effort into the characters and, oh, the story.
Watching this film is like having your eyeballs scraped at by a cheese grater, and then blended into pulp by a juicer. It’s shockingly bad, almost at every level. At one point, I seriously thought about ending it all and simply bashing my head through the plasma screen to stop the horror, but I couldn’t look away. I have no doubt that Wimmer is a great storyteller, and has some definite ideas to tell us: he scripted recent films such as Law Abiding Citizen and Angelina Jolie’s Salt, so his ability isn’t in question. It’s the execution, and just how much tampering was done by Screen Gems prior to this film’s release. The story (as much as I could make out amongst the dreadful dialogue and appalling “narrative”), is that a group of humans have been infected with some strange blood-borne virus, which turns them into something resembling vampires. It also gives them enhanced abilities such as hearing, strength and agility, as well as enlarged canine teeth. Jovovich plays Violet, an operative who steals a supposed weapon, a boy, from the humans, and must fight to keep him away from those who seek to use him for their own ends. The boy, Six (Cameron Bright), has only hours to live, so the race is on. If there was any more plot to this film, I didn’t get it.
If I was to pluck the good points out of this film, then it’d be the ability to switch it off. Nobody comes away with their head held high here, not even the usually reliable William Fichtner, slumming it for a reuniting with Wimmer after Equilibrium. The characters are barely even cardboard cut-outs, schlock creations that serve no purpose than to simply exist for their own sake: the audience cannot even begin to fathom any of the character’s motivations because we aren’t given any. The story feels like it was created by a four year old with building blocks spelling out the screenplay in three letter increments. Supposedly based upon 1980 cult classic Gloria, about a young woman and a boy on the run from the mafia, critics were right to point out that the film has not a single original bone in its (admittedly slender) body. This film is devoid of passion, emotion, and a sense of logic: characters act differently not only from one scene to the next, but often from one shot to the next! Key bad guy for the opening hour, Nerva, is played by the incredibly below-average actor Sebastien Andrieu, whose ADR is about as lame as it’s possible to get in a film with this budget. He stalks the screen like somebody unfamiliar with both the English accent and human behaviour. Wimmer can’t frame a shot with him in it to save himself, and consequently the character is muted in his villainy.
Youngster Cameron Bright is unable to generate any sympathy from his role as the dying saviour of humanity, mainly because his conversations with Jovovich resemble that had by a post-operative frontal lobotomy recipient. Nick Chinlund, as the evil Ferdinand Daxus, is about as nasty as a toasted muffin, for all his glaring and snarling at minions. Wimmer (or should that be the faceless moron who ended up cutting this film apart like so much tissue-paper, before sticking it together like a badly formed Jenga pile) directs UltraViolet with a complete lack of narrative emphasis, instead relying on the drooling masses ogling at Jovovich’s body shimmering across the screen. B-grade effects aside, this film is like gargling shit for ninety minutes. Throw in those effects, and UltraViolet is like drinking somebody else’s vomit and having the nerve to call it art. To say UltraViolet is a bad film is to compare Ed Wood to Michelangelo: and offer them both an Academy Award for services rendered. UltraViolet isn’t an actual film, in the truest sense of the word. Films have a beginning, a middle and, hopefully an end. Somewhere in there they usually try and have things like story, characters, and a reason for existing. This film skips all that rubbish and tries to entertain you based on how shiny things look, how fake the effects look, and how many times they can get Milla pouting at something off-camera. Casablanca is a film. Gone With The Wind is a film. Hell, even Uwe Boll makes films. UltraViolet refuses point blank to be anything but a glorified music video for Wimmer’s ego-driven predilection for gun-toting violence.
Not even Klaus Badelt’s score is any good. I generally like Badelt’s stuff, but the soundtrack to this plays like they simply released this film with a temp track from a local dance music DJ, and brings nothing but contempt to the viewer. The production values of the locations and sets are impressive, I’ll give the film that, but that shouldn’t be the only good thing about the movie. Colourful, definitely, and boldly visual, most certainly: but it’s an empty, hollow shell of a film with the virtue of being pure cinematic drivel. I don’t use the term “drivel” lightly, but in this case I’m prepared to make an exception. To make my point, as a final statement against this movie, I’ll provide you with this piece of information: I didn’t finish watching it. I couldn’t. I am sorry, dear reader, for not providing you with a blow-by-blow examination of this film from start to finish, but it’s so terrible not even my remote control was willing to keep going. It almost stopped the film on its own! So don’t blame me if you go on and watch this miasma. You’ve been fairly warned.
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