Monday, October 30, 2006

Wishing I Were Blind: Ultraviolet

Bad movies are a lot like cancer.

When one is sorta ok, it's over quick and makes a fun story to tell your friends while drinking.

When its terminal....well, its long and painful and you lose some hair in the process. Except cancer lets you die with loved ones around. Bad movies aren't so giving.

"Ultraviolet" is cancer of the head.

Now, I love Milla Jovovich. She is a part of the reason "The Fifth Element" is a seminal part of my film collection. She made "Resident Evil" only sorta bad.

But NO ONE can make this movie good. Not Milla, not William Fichtner ("Prison Break" anyone?), not anyone. This pile of filth is the worst thing to happen to cinema I've seen in quite some time.

On a side note, I'd like to say how hard it is to judge a bad movie after seeing "Alone in the Dark", "Stay Alive", and countless other horrid stains on the fabric of time and space.

Back to the pain.

I am going to try, in as few expletives as possible, to explain this movie.

Let's start with the premise: A disease, man-made in America, turns people into Vampires. The rest of the world grows fearful of this hyper-AIDS and pulls a little Nazi-Germany style "cleansing" on the population.

Many things can be said about this plotline. Derivitive, overdone and boring are a few. I like to keep things simple, so let's just say "bad."

All good movies (or in this case, bad movies) need heroes. The heroine in this case is a sultry young vampiress named Violet (Milla Jovovich of the "Fifth Element"). Violet is sent to retrieve a super secret weapon from a super secret weapons facility in the middle of the heavily guarded sanctum of bad people who do bad things.

Easy money, right?

Not to rag on the movie--wait, no, that's exactly what I plan to do--this sequence only serves to warn the viewer of the horrors to come. There is no coherent stream of events leading the characters to do what they do; no acting to get in the way of the "action"; and no chance of you, the viewer, having a single clue as to what the F is going on.

The movie revolves around the contents of the super secret weapon Milla steals: It's a little boy named Six (Cameron Bright from "X-Men 3"). Now before you jump to the conclusion that this is the worst name for a character EVER, let me get to the bad guy.

Yes, there is a villain in this film played by the venerable Nick Chinlund (The sleazy cowboy in "Zorro"). This bad seed of a man kills without mercy and dreams up diabolical schemes while rubbing his hands together and laughing like a weasel. His name speaks of terrors unspoken of since the days of yore.

His name is Vicecardinum Ferdinand Daxus.

I know. That's the worst name ever thought of.


It hurts to hear it.

Makes the ears bleed.

If the names and opening sequence haven't already caused your DVD player to combust, the rest of the movie will make a sincere effort.

Now, I'm all for cameras getting jiggly with it. I like the spinning, mind-warping acrobatics of the "Matrix". What I don't like is when the camera becomes a ping pong ball during the championship match between Yin Hu Wong and Forrest Gump.

In one sequence (which, for all rights, was pretty nice) the camera flies alongside a bullet into a person's sunglasses. When the reflection fills the entire screen, the camera suddenly BECOMES that perspective and flies the other way. This ricochette happens several times, until the motion sickness level reaches "Blair Witch" proportions.

The other effects in the film seem to mimic the stylized look of "Sin City", or some other, better done, comic book movie. Except the rest of the film does not look like a comic book. Despite the flashy colors, the film appears to be grounded in a more realistic image, which makes the explosions and CGI all the more cheesy.

And why is it so hard to use a green screen? Did this ability skip a generation of effects managers? Do they not know how to cover up the fact that it's people in front of a screen? IT'S THE YEAR 2006, PEOPLE, LET'S GET ON THE FRIGGIN' BALL!

I didn't want to talk about the script. It's not that I have any qualms about tearing this screenwriter a new one, that's not the problem at all.

I just don't want to relive it in my head.

The person who wrote the final draft of this film was obviously very special. They had been living in cave for their entire lives. A cave on Mars. And they kept their fingers in their ears and their eyes squeezed shut.

The script was written as though the writer had never heard of the English language. More over, he had never spoken his native language (gibberish, or some dialect akin to it) to anyone else, thus denying him the experience of how ACTUAL DIALOGUE works.

I could give you gems (because they are rampant in this film) but I think one exchange sums it right up.

The bad man, Vicecardinum Ferdinand Daxus, points some crappy looking water pistol at Violet. She flicks blood at him, which incenses him so much he decides to DROP his GUN and pull out a SWORD. In order to put fear in the vampiress's heart, he utters this curse upon her soul:

"It's on."

Wait, don't move yet.

Violet, obviously taken aback by such strong, monosyllabic terms, retorts with a cutting remark:

"You bet it is."

OK, let your brain melt. I know it wants to.

What really strikes me about this scene (besides my hand, which repeatedly hit me in the face for watching this movie) is the fact that Daxus decides to have a little sword fight instead of just shooting Violet. His gun was still working. Violet uses it in the end to kill him. WHY DIDN'T HE JUST SHOOT HER WHERE SHE STOOD?

There's a lot of moments in the film where your jaw will drop due to the level of stupidity on screen. Guards in the inner most sanctums of the most secure buildings wield swords instead of guns. No one, and I mean no one, except for Violet can hit a damn thing, even from point blank range. The biggest threat to the government is a group of vampires that live in a BIG BUILDING not FIFTEEN MINUTES from the main lab.

My "favorite" is when Violet and Six go to the main citadel to challenge the baddies to a duel. There's one of her and 700 of them. When the duo arrive, the little boy convinces V not to go.

So they go play on a merry-go-round.

At this point, I stood from my chair and screamed at the TV for a solid hour.

This movie is horrendous. It's bad on a scale rivalling "Stay Alive." It burns the retinas. I can't enjoy food as much now, as I chewed half my tongue of to keep from cursing in the tongues of the demons.

There is no rating I can give to really do this film justice, but I will try.

This movie is like working-at-the-YMCA-in-Hong Kong-and-having-the-Sumo-wrestling-team-dump-all-their-jockstraps-on-you-after-a-six-hour-session-and-then-having-the-fattest-eat-you-feet-first-with-a-pair-of-chopsticks. And all this happens while wasps sting your sensitive spots.

I don't use this term often, but I hate what this movie did to me. If you only take one thing away from this message, let it be this:


Good day, and good viewing.


Anonymous said...

Why do you bring back the pain. Why do you like to torture us by watching these movies. As your roomate, please for the love of all that is holy, please review good movies.

Anonymous said...

Dude, all I can say that I am super glad I didn't watch that. Alone in the dark was pretty bad as well. I did unfortunately see that one.

Anonymous said...

I liked UltraViolet you bastard.
You didn't even mention it's prequel, Equilibrium.