As an overdose of eye candy, Ultraviolet
can be marginally recommended as the second half of a double-feature with Aeon Flux
. Both films are disposable adolescent fantasies featuring a butt-kicking babe (in this case, the svelte and sexy Milla Jovovich) in a dystopian future, and both specialize in the kind of barely-coherent, video-game storytelling that's constantly overwhelmed by an over-abundance of low-budget CGI. Director Kurt Wimmer fared much better with his earlier film Equilibrium
, but he's trying for a lively comic book vibe here (beginning with Hulk-like opening credits) with a digitally enhanced, Tron
-like color palette. It largely suits this late-21st century story of a "blood war" between the ultra-violent Violet (Jovovich), member of a vampire-like group of resistance fighters infected with a man-made virus called the Hemophage, and the human Vice Cardinal Daxus (Nick Chinlund), who's determined to eliminate Violet's kind once and for all. Wimmer takes all of this way too seriously, crafting a plot involving Violet's rescue of a human clone boy (Cameron Bright) that's intended as an homage to John Cassevetes' 1980 drama Gloria
, but Wimmer's good intentions are mostly lost in a repetitive series of chaotically choreographed fight scenes, mostly involving the tight-bodied Jovovich wiping out dozens of armour-clad enemies. It's all too numbingly hectic to qualify as a satisfying movie, but sci-fi buffs should give it a look anyway, if only to see how locations in Shanghai and Hong Kong contribute to the film's futuristic design.--Jeff Shannon
In the mid-21st century, a virus has turned part of the earth's population into hemophages, vampire-like creatures with heightened speed and dexterity, and a fascist government is intent on stamping them out. Enter Violet (Milla Jovovich), a hemophage determined to fight for her people. Her battle takes an unexpected turn, however, when she finds herself protecting Six (Cameron Bright), a mysterious young child who was raised in a lab. Although the artwork in the opening credits would lead you to believe otherwise, writer/director Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium) reportedly based Ultraviolet not on a comic book but on John Cassavetes's 1980 film Gloria, in which a woman must protect a young boy who is carrying some information sought by the Mafia. Tailor-made for young action fans raised on anime and videogames, who want nothing more than to see a beautiful heroine leave a path of destruction behind her, Ultraviolet cross-pollinates plot threads from popular franchises like The Matrix and Underworld. Creating a brightly hued, soft-focus environment constructed entirely with CGI and a green screen, Ultraviolet's look is much like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Cementing the reputation she established with similar athletic, minimally clothed roles in The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil films, Jovovich will go down in the books as a sci-fi femme fatale for the ages. Her Ultraviolet--who inexplicably changes her hair colour and outfits seemingly at will--is a lethal melding of Morticia Adams at a rave and Kill Bill's Bride. Pulling off moves that clearly demonstrate the training she underwent for the role, and usually with a bare midriff, she gives her fans plenty to enjoy. Wimmer wisely leaves the door open for further adventures in the saga.