*1/2 (out of 5)
March 3, 2006
Milla Jovovich as VIOLET
Cameron Bright as SIX
Nick Chinlund as DAXUS
William Fichtner as GARTH
Sebastien Andrieu as NERVA
Studio: Screen Gems
Directed by: Kurt Wimmer
BY KEVIN CARR
It would seem that “Ultraviolet” was designed to cash into the possible success that never came from “Aeon Flux.” It ran off the same formula – take a hot actress, dress her up sexy, set her in a futuristic totalitarian society, make her a freedom fighter and proceed to have her kick a whole lotta ass.
One of the biggest things that helps the film is the presence of Milla Jovovich. Having made a name for herself in bad sci-fi with films like “The Fifth Element” and the “Resident Evil” series, Jovovich looks great in this movie. She fits the character more than Charlize Theron ever did with “Aeon Flux.” At least the posters and trailers aren’t laughable.
However, when the story is boiled down, it is basically the same deal. Most likely, the studio was hoping that “Aeon Flux” would score big and usher in a new heroine for the new year. However, with “Flux” being one of the biggest stinkers of 2005, this movie was left to rot.
There was so little confidence in this movie by the studio (Screen Gems, a division of Sony) that they didn’t even screen it for critics. When this happens, it usually means the movie is going to stink, but it’s the first time I recall a Sony film being so scared of us before the release. After all, they had the guts to pre-screen “Gigli,” but not “Ultraviolet.” That should tell you something right there.
So, is “Ultraviolet” as bad as “Aeon Flux”? Not quite. But when you’re wading through the sludge at the bottom of the septic tank, there’s only one direction you can go.
“Ultraviolet” tells of a futuristic world where the military industrial complex has been replaced by the medical industrial complex. Because a genetically engineered virus has been infecting the human population, people are endlessly paranoid about disease. Those infected are called “hemophages,” and they are shunned by society. The hemophages have banded together and are trying to overthrow the humans, which is leading to their systematic extermination.
Violet (Jovovich) is a hemophage soldier sent to intercept a weapon from the humans. However, once it is in her hands, she discovers that it is a human boy, played by overexposed Cameron Bright. She double crosses both the humans and the hemophages in order to save the boy, who is carrying a possible cure for the virus.
Yes, the virus that causes hemophagia is basically a form of vampirism. However, with the exception of one or two lines, the script shies away from using any form of the word “vampire.” In some ways, this is wise because “Ultraviolet” is about as far from a traditional vampire story as you could get. The Anne Rice and “Underworld” crowd will both hate this film because these vampires don’t sit around moping all day.
The acting is terrible in this movie. I mean really terrible. The line deliveries are laughable, including many given by Nick Chinlund, who plays the main antagonist. Even Jovovich, who is a decent actor in her own right, has to chew through some awful dialogue that makes “Charlie’s Angles 2” look like Shakespeare.
The biggest fault lies in the writing. The script doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and the story appears to be a wet bandage to link together overblown action and fight sequences. Even these action scenes leave a lot to be desired because they are overly stylized and slathered with cheesy CGI work and unnecessary virtual camera set-ups. In some ways, I felt like I was watching another “Spy Kids” movie.
Really, the only saving grace here is Jovovich, who is smoking hot in the film. But the T&A factor can only carry a film so far. Ultimately, I think “Ultraviolet” will be studied with great interest in the future – not for its quality or its artistic merit, but rather to discover how a turd like this was made.