Director: Kurt Wimmer
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, William Fichtner and Sebastien Andrieu
Runtime: 88 minutes
CARA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language
Feast your eyes on Ultraviolet! From director Kurt Wimmer, the guy behind the surprisingly pretty okay Equilibrium, comes one of the largest wastes of potential since…well, since a long time ago.
This sci-fi story follows the war between humans and vampires. Excuse me, I mean the war between humans and Hemophages, people genetically modified thanks to a virus. Our main character, Violet, just happens to be one of these Hemophages and she is fighting the humans to keep herself and others like her from facing extermination. Sound very original? No? Okay so the premise isn’t great, but at least the movie looks neat.
Although clearly produced on a limited budget, with some of the cityscapes looking suspiciously like those of a computer game, the mix of vibrant colors and creative set design creates an interesting cinematic world that is as visually stimulating as something like Sin City.
The action is also well conceived, at least for the first half of the film. The futuristic setting offers a lot of cool gadgets, and they are used well. The “glass soldiers” that are featured prominently in the trailer are especially innovative. Instead of simply dying they shatter.
Sadly, pretty much everything underneath the superficial skin of Ultraviolet is passionless and incomprehensible. The two biggest problems: dialogue and acting. Here we have bad actors delivering stale lines.
Even though Milla Jovovich has proved that she can act from time to time, she is here only as eye candy. With this said, the unnatural smoothness of her face becomes distracting.
None of the supporting characters are any better, with Nick Chinlund, the bounty hunter “Toombs” from The Chronicles of Riddick, delivering the definition of a phoned in performance. Even if the script had any emotional weight, which it doesn’t, the acting alone would kill any actual sentiment.
Best of all, the dialogue continually gets worse and worse, so that by the end it becomes impossible to take seriously. There is a scene where a character removes his glove slowly, uttering, “It’s on.” No, for our sake, please turn it off. Did this just become a parody?
The worst thing about Ultraviolet, though, is the fact that it becomes hard to ever care about anything or anyone. The entire back story is delivered so quickly that there is no connection to the world or the individuals that inhabit it.
Unlike a film such as The Matrix, the premise is not revealed slowly with any hint of mystery and there are no individualistic or identifiable characters. As cool as Ultraviolet looks, it never feels like a place that could be real and the struggles of Violet herself seem just as artificial.
Yet, it appears that director Wimmer is aware of his creative downfalls and he saves the truly atrocious moments for last. Still, for those who are convinced that the pretty colors and flashing lights of Ultraviolet are worth the price of admission, there is one quote from the film that is actually perfect: “Are you mental?”
Critic’s Conclusion: Despite the stylish packing, Ultraviolet is an empty, shallow work of derivative sci-fi trash. Only for hardcore lovers of the material, otherwise: avoid, like a deadly viral infection