Thursday, March 30, 2006


I hate to say this, but Ultraviolet is this year's Elektra. It's a bad hybrid of Aeon Flux, Underworld, Resident Evil and Elektra combined using the production style of Sky Captain, shot against digitally created scenes. Not that it is bad though, I actually sincerely believed, from the trailer, that it had potential to be a really good Milla Jovovich vehicle. Sadly, I was quite disappointed.

While Charlize Theron and Kate Beckinsale had ample opportunity to prove their action chops in skin tight lycra in Aeon Flux and Underworld respectively, I thought Milla already had proven hers, in Resident Evil, and The Fifth Element. Here, she plays Violet, a vampire-ish humanoid with the really strange technologically enhanced prowess.

Directed and written by Kurt Wimmer (who actually did the cult hit Equilibrium), Ultraviolet takes what's currently the talk of the down - epidemic disease (ala Resident Evil), which had mutated and infected humans, and after a number of hokey mumbo jumbo, some humans become a race of Hemophage, aka humans with vampire-like abilities of stealth and such. Anyway don't bother yourself with the "science" behind this film, as it's sci-fi fantasy anyway.

Just enough to know that Violet is on a quest against a dictator (ala Aeon Flux), but circumstances turn her own against her when she decides to intervene and save a boy called Six. Six is this movie's Leeloo, a being who can cure Hemophages, or kill them, or kill Humans, or, what the heck! Violet plays surrogate mom (because of her past) to Six, and the two form an pseudo-mother-son relationship, as she does battle against the authorities, and her kind.

Just as you thought, from the trailers, that the action will be uber-stylish. There are a number of cool things, like Violet's clothings changing colour like a chameleon to suit her environment, and her virtual-turn-real weapons with endless bullet rounds reloaded from the veins in her wrists, which you gotta see to believe. But here's where the problem is. She's indestructable, like a female Terminator who just keeps going. What put me off were the many fight scenes which just didn't happen. It's lazy, she's that good, but still? You see one woman up against countless villains, and the next minute, they all fall down dead. Without seeing her move a muscle. what gives? And there are dozens of "mega" fight scenes done in the same manner, which became laughable instead of cool, bordering on the absurd. What is unforgivable too is the finale fight scene, done 90% in the dark. Yes, to prove a plot point and for some out of the ordinary action, but grr...

Surprisingly, most of the effects were done by a China digital production team, which made me wonder why this was leaps and bounds ahead of The Promise in terms of effects. It's also a crew team mainly of Hong Kongers and Chinese, makes you wonder about the progress made in China though on film production. Slick effects, but let down by an ultra-weak plot, and cop-out action sequences. Just for those curious, this movie was shot using Sony's high-definition digicam, and coupled with the post-production, really made Milla's skin look absolutely fabulous and flawless in simulated soft focus.

I think it's already a staple to have a shot of the actress's butt in skin tight lycra, as did Aeon Flux, Underworld, and this movie too. But cool shots do not make a good movie, and an extremely bad plot makes it worse. Having bad action just makes it harder to swallow and digest. However, don't worry Milla, I still love you :-)

Cool Trailer + Hot Trailer Music = Awesome promotional material. And that's the only thing you should remember the movie by.

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