D

Ultraviolet

In one of the most ludicrous of Ultraviolet's many truly ludicrous moments, supernatural badass Milla Jovovich stands in the center of an artfully arranged group of thugs who want to kill her. For no apparent reason, the camera POV zooms into the blackness of her inner ear, emerging from the barrel of an antagonist's gun. It zooms toward her face, catching an enemy's reflection in her sunglasses, then zooms in on her reflection in his glasses. This caroming around continues for several intolerably long moments, as though writer-director Kurt Wimmer is desperately searching for something to make this combat different from the dozen or so preceding it.

He never does find it. Instead, he finds the imagistic, spastic meth-junkie pacing that characterizes most of the film, starting with its opening barrage of sloppy exposition. Jovovich, it transpires, is a "hemophage," or "vampire," though as with most of the film's tossed-off plot developments, the ramifications of this are never explained. Mostly, it seems to mean that she's tough enough to kill 50 armored troopers, then crash her motorcycle through a helicopter, a plate-glass window, and a wall, then stroll away unfazed. That ability puts her in good stead when she needs to kill her way through an enemy base to capture an anti-hemophage super-weapon. It comes in handy again when she learns that the weapon is an innocent boy (Cameron Bright, reprising his creepy ancient-child role from Birth) and starts killing her way through her fellow hemophages to protect him. Wimmer's script features a number of nonsensical twists as Jovovich's intentions keep changing, but whether she's doing the bulletproof-warrior thing or veering into comically breast-beating melodrama-queen mode, she constantly ends up in the same place: surrounded by artfully arranged, interchangeable goons who want to kill her, and who don't stand a chance against her "just duck and they'll accidentally slaughter each other" tactic.

As with his last film, 2002's Equilibrium, Wimmer borrows all his best ideas from other movies (Jovovich, for instance, is just channeling her Resident Evil character), then spackles over his half-assed plot with a shiny aesthetic—in this case, one centering on explosions, computer-assisted airbrush filters (which look like a 21st-century version of the Vaseline lens), and CGI effects that have Jovovich's costume and hair changing color every few minutes to keep viewers distracted from Ultraviolet's sheer laziness. Surely no one goes into movies like this expecting more than some cool combat, but Wimmer even cheats his audience on that front by repeatedly skipping the battles, and just showing Jovovich emerging smugly from corridors full of corpses. Underdeveloped antagonist Nick Chinlund sums up the entire film during one of his rants about Jovovich's latest casual, offhand slaughter: "One woman against 14 men! It's ridiculous!" Well, yeah.

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