Sunday, 26 June 2016

#34(a) Ultraviolet (Wes)

Honestly it comes as a slight relief when we have to sub movies sometimes. The movie that we were due to watch was a movie called Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. It runs at just under three hours long and has a really poor rating on IMDB. Now whilst I don’t mind subtitles for such a long movie if it’s brilliant (eg Seven Samaurai), I’m not so keen if it’s the sort of movie which is going to make me want to claw my eyes out (EDIT: We have since found this movie and it will now act as a later sub). However our first sub is a movie I’ve had zero interest in watching since its release, the 2006 vampire(esque) movie Ultraviolet. Was I right to avoid this like Dracula avoids a dinner party round Peter Kaye’s house? Only one way to find out…
Ultraviolet is set in a dystopian future where a virus that gives people pointy teeth, super-human strength and an aversion to crosses, stakes in the heart and sunlight is running rampant. Never having heard the phrase “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck” or seen Die Hard Dracula (see here) these infected people are known as “hemophages” and not vampires. The government isn’t a fan of these hemophages (Bloody government! Even in the future they object to their citizens minding their own business, and just going about killing people for their blood), and are trying to exterminate anyone infected with this disease. Violet Song Jat Shariff (Milla Jovovich) was been infected a decade ago (which apparently means she now has the life expediency of an X-Factor winners career) and fights to defend the hemophages. When she steals a weapon, that actually turns out to be a young boy called Six (Cameron Bright), she runs away, believing that a cure for the hemophage virus can be found in the boys blood. Will she find the cure in time? Will she ever run out of bullets? Does Daxus (Nick Chinlund) really think that accessorising your nostrils is going to catch on? Why does so much of the soundtrack sound like it’s from a strange future porn movie?

The opening credits to the movie show multiple covers of the Ultraviolet comic, which as a comic book fan I was surprised that I’d never heard of it, but since there are so many small publishers I naturally assumed it was from one of them. So it came as a surprise when I learned that the comic never actually existed.

It isn’t unheard of to make a comic book movie that isn’t based on a comic, The Incredibles or The Toxic Avenger for example, but Ultraviolet suffers from the fact Wimmer doesn’t seem to understand that comics can rarely get away with being nothing but action anymore, and need strong characterisation to keep people reading them. There are worse comic book movies out there, but this is easily as bad as Elektra or Catwoman (see here).

Ultraviolet is like a cross between Blade II, Underworld and The Matrix. It’s very very much a film that is relying purely on its various fights (fist and gun) and high octane chases to maintain any level of interest in the movie, as its plot is so thin it resembles a Martian atmosphere. The problem being, that the fight and chase scenes in Ultraviolet just look a bit shit mainly due to the over-reliance on CGI, including attempting to give the background a comic book feel, but in reality, it just looks like more like a blurred Aqua music video.
As you’d expect from a movie that is on our list, the acting is on a par with a footballer clutching his leg and rolling around as he tries to win his team a penalty.  It’s much better than what we’ve endured in recent movies, but that’s hardly a compliment. I want to like Milla Jovovich, as there aren’t many female action stars, but she suffers like most other action stars do in the fact whilst she’s fighting she’s ok, but outside of that her performances are so flat they could be slid under a door.

To say Milla Jovovich only ever plays one character in her movies would be unfair. I’ve looked at her page on IMDB and they all have different names, so they clearly can’t be the same. However if you put Violet’s clothes on Alice in Resident Evil you really would struggle to tell the difference. Basically she’s like a female Jean Claude Van Damme; If you like watching her fight, shoot and struggle to deliver her lines more than a Yodel delivery driver struggles to deliver a parcel, then you’ll probably enjoy anything that she stars in.
The best way to describe this movie is popcorn violence for the unfussy, but if you can switch your brain off it is just about watchable. Ultimately though for a movie that relies so much on style over substance, this movie contains very little style and is little more than a violent, half and a half long hair dye commercial. Just For Men? Just For Teenage Boys would probably be more accurate…