I've been lied too. I've always been told that making a film is a complex task; it takes years to come to fruition, from pre-production to principle photography through to post production; years. And money. And talent. But apparently that is no longer the case. All you need is a hot babe, plenty of guns, loud music and a camera. You don't even need a decent plot, or an original idea. No. Babe, guns, music, camera = film. At least that's how I envisage Ultraviolet, Kurt Wimmer's stylistic 'vampire' action flick released into a tired an cynical audience.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around Violet (Milla Jovovich) who contracted the only virus, genetically engineered by a corrupt government, left in an other wise sterile world. The virus greatly increases senses and strength at a drastically reduced lifespan and continual need for recycled blood and sensitivity to light, a side effect is large teeth, hence the 'vampire' terminology, though more correctly they care called 'hemophages'. Hemophages were segregated, imprisoned and experimented on until an underground movement started to fight back, dubbed 'the Blood Wars'. Violet is one such warrior and is tasked with stealing the latest and greatest weapon which if unleashed will spell the death of all hemophages. Upon opening the package, the 'weapon' is a ten year old clone called Six, in whose blood lies a genetic virus that everyone wants to get their hands on; Violet takes it upon herself to mother the child and protect him with all her might, and considerable might that is. And she needs it all when she takes on the entire government army in her rescue attempt for Six.
Ok, does that make sense? There is a thread to follow, even if I haven't laid down all the salient points; but why should I be so comprehensive when the film itself is happy to have gaping plot holes, elements that are raised and dropped within a minute and an overtly complicated story told by simply having a punch up. The story itself is nothing really new, a rehash of other film melded into one, much like his film Equilibrium (2002) was, but the fault with the film cannot lie solely at Wimmer's hands. The film was taken from him during post production and studio edited, apparently removing some thirty minutes of footage; it's little wonder the film doesn't make much sense and rockets along from one fight to another. Because basically that's all Ultraviolet is, a series of ever outlandish fight scenes that resemble the Gun Kata fights from the aforementioned Equilibrium, set to wild visuals and a pumped up 'videogame' score. Everything in-between the fights is mere padding; at least that's how it comes across.
But is there anything to enjoy? Well there's Jovovich's bum. And that's really the best bit; the film washes over you making little impression; all the sound and vision may pound the senses but soon it becomes a blur and eventually sleep inducing. Without any character involvement there is little to care about, no plight, no danger, no interest. But, and here's the weird part, I didn't hate it. Sure there is little, if anything, to recommend in it, yet I found it watchable and it managed to entertain me for its run time.
This version is the 'unrated extended cut' with apparently seven more minutes of footage, I have no idea what that might be, there is precious little gore, sex or language to wave the 'unrated' flag at. One assumes it is a few more punches and bit more plot; no wonder the theatrical run bombed, it would have made even less sense. In the end Ultraviolet is a slice of modern comic book cinema, no doubt it'll make good its investment on late night cable channel reruns because once you start to watch something in it keeps you looking, even if the end result is rather unsatisfying.
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