Starring: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, William Fichtner, Nick Chinlund
Director: Kurt Wimmer
When writer/director Kurt Wimmer released the sci-fi thriller “Equilibrium” in 2002, I argued against numerous criticisms that the film was a clone of the original “Matrix.” Wimmer’s film, in fact, is actually a lot smarter than the blockbuster mega-hit, and his introduction of Gun Kata (basically martial arts with guns) set new standards for sci-fi action pieces to follow. Perhaps the biggest problem with “Equilibrium,” however, is that Wimmer was far too occupied with the film’s “1984”-esque storyline to realize that the audience wanted more gunplay. And if “Equilibrium” suffered from being too smart, then the director’s latest feature, “Ultraviolet,” suffers from being too daft. The film is all surface, and though it looks pretty with its bright colors and fast action, it has absolutely nothing to say.
Running just under 90 minutes in length, “Ultraviolet” is comprised of only about twenty minutes of real story, though even that would be stretching the truth. The film takes place in the 21st Century, where a small percentage of the human race has been infected with a disease that transforms them into superhuman beings called hemophages, or quite literally, “blood eaters.” You could also probably call them vampires, since they have a pair of fangs, but none of the conventional vampire myths apply. They walk around freely in sunlight, don’t drink blood, and aren’t allergic to garlic. They are, however, terrorists, and when they learn of a little boy (Cameron Bright) who may or may not hold a deadly virus in his blood, Violet (Milla Jovovich), a fellow hemophage, takes him into her protection before the evil, hygiene-obsessed head of government (Nick Chinlund) can use him for, well, evil.
If none of this is making any sense, then you’re beginning to get a good idea of what it was like to watch the film, though it’s hard to argue that anyone would want to see this for anything other than the drawn-out action sequences. Wimmer packs in as much punch as possible, but in doing so, he also discredits the story even more. This is a movie that has the main villain walking around with an air sterilizer (which looks a lot like two thimbles) stuck up his nose, and who has to crack open a vacuum sealed bag every time he uses a gun. These are all, of course, preventive steps that he takes to avoid catching the disease, but by the time the film ends, and all of the secrets are revealed, you’ll be asking yourself why.
It’s also no secret that Milla Jovovich is a bad actress, but c’mon, she’s not this bad. Even “Resident Evil” took the time to develop the main character during the first half of the movie, so why does Wimmer sum up Violet’s entire back story with an opening voiceover that feels like it came from a previous film? Far too many questions present themselves while deconstructing this movie, and that’s time that would be better spent doing other things. Just what, exactly, I don’t really know. Here's a better question: does it even matter?
Along with seven additional minutes of never-before-seen footage, the new unrated edition of "Ultraviolet" also boasts an audio commentary by star Milla Jovovich and the making-of featurette "UV Protection."