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In 'Ultraviolet,' sword-wielding Milla Jovovich whirls against the baddies, again and again and again

I can't say I was awake for the entirety of Ultraviolet, but I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything important, since, by the very nature of the film, nothing important could possibly have happened during it. What I did see, though, was a strangely out-of-focus science-fiction/action film. Easily the blurriest movie of the year, the choices of director Kurt Wimmer are beyond my ken. Like, why would you shoot a scene with Milla Jovovich's face out of focus, but her shoulder in focus? And why would you shoot a dozen scenes like that? And then why, halfway through the film, start focusing on her nose? In spite of the fact that this is Wimmer's third film, this really seemed like a first film. By a robot. Who doesn't understand how to focus.

Wimmer is best known for the stylish and financially unsuccessful Equilibrium, which, like Ultraviolet, is a combination sci-fi/wuxia (i.e., flying fantasy martial arts) movie. The genre designation could be misleading, though, as Ultraviolet is more about shiny clothing and sterile sets than it is about anything like "plot" or "character" or "coherence." I think my friend Dan summed it up best when he said that the film was roughly the equivalent of having the director shit on a stark, white plate while Milla Jovovich runs around making shooty fingers in the background.

Still, as a science fiction film, Ultraviolet does include the one element that truly distinguishes science fiction: intrusive expository dialogue. Luckily, the film doesn't begin with the exposition. Instead, it begins with a pointless action sequence. However, as soon as this sequence is over, the exposition starts up in everyone's favorite format: bare description of the relevant details. Those details being: Some time in the very distant future, disease has replaced terrorism as the thing governments use to scare people into being obedient. In this case, the disease is one that causes its victims to become super-powered super-soldiers who can easily kick the asses of any group of 300 extras, except when the story dictates that five lightly armed men suddenly take the super-soldier down.

The super-soldier in question, and this is the film's one saving grace, is Milla Jovovich. Not that Jovovich is good in the role, but she's so pretty that she actually makes three of this film's 88 minutes worth watching. Jovovich plays Violet, a woman who was afflicted with the "hemophage" (i.e., "vampire") virus when she was pregnant. The government forcibly aborted her baby and then made her dress real slutty. It's kind of like Pat Robertson's nightmare version of a future run by Democrats.

Violet decides to get revenge by breaking into the Ministry of Shiny Costume Changes and stealing a package that is either the weapon that will kill all hemophages, or a weapon that will kill all humans, or a 10-year-old boy, or all of the above.

The vast majority of Ultraviolet is occupied with high-energy action scenes. Each scene, though, is the same scene: Violet is surrounded by an insurmountable number of villains in shiny clothes, she spins around with a sword, and they die. Yes: It's an action movie where the only action is a pretty woman spinning around. It's kind of like a really, really violent Stevie Nicks video.

Of course, there's not just violence. There's also a little sex, and some awful dialogue. The actors look really pained when they have to speak the lines. It's as though they're gritting their teeth while trying to evacuate a very hard bowel movement. Here's some actual dialogue:

Guy Who's In Love With Violet: "Why won't you ever let anyone in?"

Violet: "Because these moments, as beautiful as they are, are evil when they're gone."

But this movie isn't really about dialogue. It's about costumes. It's unfair to have a film critic review Ultraviolet as it should really be reviewed by a fashion critic. Apparently, in the future, everyone will be wearing either an ice dancing costume or a speed skating outfit.

Luckily, within the first 10 minutes of the film, Violet goes through three costume changes. One of them is necessitated by the following dialogue, which was clearly written with Milla Jovovich in mind: "Please remove all articles of clothing, and proceed into the scanner." Yes. Please do.

And then change into something that shows your midriff, and then spin around and kill everyone. Now, repeat 23 times. Cut! That's a wrap!

Ultraviolet
Rated NR

More by James DiGiovanna

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