March 7th, 2006

Ultraviolet starring Milla Jovovich

I saw Ultraviolet on Saturday of its opening weekend, because I’m a complete Milla Jovovich fanboy and have a high tolerance for schlock (which I was wise enough to expect, going in). Milla could not save this film. It’s possible that a graphic Jovovich/Jolie girl-on-girl scene could not have saved this film, had such a mind-exploding thing ever been filmed. More vitriol (with possible mild spoilers) below the cut. I laughed frequently in what, I sincerely believe, was a psychological release at the assault on my aesthetic sensibilities; I certainly wasn’t amused by much of the clumsily arranged and delivered humor. Set design worked, mostly, because although it was deeply silly, that played fine for the comic book look they were going for. Likewise with costuming and props. Effects were OK, but nothing to really remark on. The biggest problems were the direction, which was dismal and included an incomprehensible use of soft focus lenses and filters throughout the film, and dialogue that would have been remarkably poor for a children’s television show in the 70s. The villains were both absurd and ridiculously incompetent, and the only reasonable explanation for why they had not been overwhelmed long, long ago was the likewise evident ineptitude of the protagonists. Milla’s clearly a good fighter, but they make her appear far better than she is by pitting her against poorly choreographed, bad fighters. One particularly inexplicable and pointless scene, for example, features a score of Chinese mafia men missing Jovovich and shooting each other in the most pathetically obvious mis-implementation of a face-off ever, complete with crappy bullet-time rip-off effects. Another simply bypasses a fight scene by turning off the lights. Gosh, they sure kicked those guys’ asses while the lights were out, didn’t they? Pity they inexplicably chose to chat with the now unguarded and seemingly helpless villain instead of simply killing him as well. This film is so filled with absurdities in plot and theme, utterly telegraphed and predictable “twists,” inexplicably extraneous scenes and choices of setting, and affect-less lines so cheesy and poorly delivered that one cannot help but hope they were trying to make this film as terrible as possible. I’m not sure why they would choose to do that, but it’s the most flattering explanation I can give for what they’ve produced. This film is barely watchable as feather-core Milla-porn for movie masochists; all others should absolutely avoid.

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