Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet

*1/2

Reviewed by: Stephen McMorland

Ultraviolet is, let me be blunt about this, pretty awful. It has, however, a couple of things going for it that rescue it from being lumped with The Worst Film Of All Sentient History In The Universe, which still belongs to Oliver Stone's career-killing mess from last year.

The opening credits are great fun, with a montage of comic book covers in various languages and styles, from Manga to pulp Fifties style. In this regard the filmmakers are ripping off the shtick that Marvel Comics films have been using for a while now, notably in the far superior Spider-Man 2.

Copy picture

I looked for the comic book, but it apparently does not exist, although it should and possibly will eventually. The intention seems to have been to fool the audience into thinking they were watching an adaptation.

So right from the start we are being lied to. Not a good sign, I would suggest, and it gets worse. The second bad sign is the running time. It is less than 90 minutes, which nowadays is pretty poor for even an Anime feature and is certainly too short for a live action blockbuster.

The whole film looks rushed, the intention being to get the audience through the rollercoaster fast enough so they do not notice the peeling paint and loose wires of this particular ride. They failed, because despite the shortness of the film we are still "treated" to far too many tiresome scenes. where there is only moping and dialogue. Normally, of course, this is not such a bad thing, as it follows dramatic principles set up in Shakespeare's time, but in this case the dialogue is never better than cheesy and frequently just plain awful - badly delivered quips and lines that are meant to be cool but end up falling flat.

Sub-standard acting from a cast of people whose third language may be English doesn't help. The whole effect is akin to the poorly dubbed martial arts films of the Seventies - and no, this is not deliberate, it's just bad.

I suppose I ought to try to recount what they are pleased to call the "plot" of this little masterpiece. Apparently, there is a disease that turns people into vampires, only we must not use that word, so instead they are called Hemophages. The disease turns people into superhumans, with big, sharp, pointy teeth. Most normal humans are encouraged to think that this is a bad thing and the hapless victims are herded into concentration camps and relentlessly exterminated by The Arch Ministry - what is writer/director Kurt Wimmer's problem with state religion, anyway? He had a go at it in Equilibrium as well.

Violet, our eponymous heroine, is the victim of that disease and, like Aeon Flux, runs around in sexy outfits and cool gadgets, killing people like some sort of unstoppable murder machine.

Her latest mission is to find a weapon that turns out to be a child, who has some kind of genetic anomaly that could lead to kill, or cure, the Hemophages. And that is essentially it.

So what we have is basically Aeon Flux plus Equilibrium plus elements of The Helsing anime series and Underworld mixed up together. How anything so bad could come from what are, for the most part, excellent predecessors is astonishing, to say the least.

The main reason why anyone would want to watch this trash is Milla Jovovitch kung-fuing some sense into disposable bad guys - thank goodness, we get that aplenty. The action scenes contain wirework, kung-fu and swords, which, for the most part, has been copied scene for scene from Equilibrium and The Matrix and every other action movie that has been shown in the last 10 years.

The action is fast paced, occasionally very imaginative, often derivative and stylish. Violet's outfits and hair change colour at a whim. I liked the scene where she bleeds on her suit and the whole thing transforms into a blood red costume.

Overall, it is stylish and empty. The pacing is uneven and the dialogue like some bad martial arts film from the Seventies and the acting is laughable.

Definitely a film to watch on DVD, with your finger poised on the fast forward, so you can skip the bits where Violet is not kicking butt - and, of course, mute the film as well.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2006
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Ultraviolet packshot
Adrift in a Technicolor future, a dying vampire struggles to protect a human child
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Read more Ultraviolet reviews:

Jennie Kermode *
Gator MacReady *

Director: Kurt Wimmer

Writer: Kurt Wimmer

Starring: illa Jovovich, Nick Chinlund, Cameron Bright, Sebastien Andrieu, William Fichtner

Year: 2006

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

Aeon Flux
Equilibrium