By Joe Lozito
With "Ultraviolet", a comic book movie based on a comic that doesn't actually exist, writer-director Kurt Wimmer shows the same lack of subtlety he brought to the Christian Bale debacle "Equilibrium". The heroine of "Ultraviolet" (named, naturally, Violet) is a "hemophage", some sort of vampire with abilities that, like much in the film, are never clearly defined. The film picks up in the midst of a "blood war" between the humans, led by the evil Daxus (Nick Chinlund) and the "phages", led by no one in particular. The details of the blood war? Not exactly clear. When Violet (Milla Jovovich) comes into possession of a weapon in the form of a young boy (Cameron Bright from "Godsend") she finds herself the target of both sides (again, not entirely sure why).
The film is pretty much a straight line from there. There's little plot and even less dialogue (memorable lines include "Watch me" and "Hey!") and after a while Mr. Wimmer's fondness for "Gun Kata", as it's called, becomes tiresome and the special effects repetitive. It doesn't help that the film looks like it was created on some guy's Mac and it's filmed in a soft-focus that borders on just-plain-blurry. And, when your film stars Milla Jovovich, blurry is the one thing you don't want to be.
Really, you can't blame Ms. Jovovich for signing on to "Ultraviolet". As the title character, Violet (or "V" - not to be confused with the upcoming "V for Vendetta" antihero), Ms. Jovovich gets to parade around in a variety of form-fitting, midriff-baring ensembles while gunning down some of the dumbest thugs in screen history. It's not so much that Violet is unstoppable, it's just that there's no competition. Violet dispatches group after group of faceless goons (they all wear some form of gasmask for reasons which are never made completely clear) in one increasingly dull sequence after another (even Mr. Wimmer appears to grow tired of the fight scenes, choosing instead to cut to their aftermath). Amazingly in a future of seemingly limitless technology, where you can pull guns almost out of thin air, these villains choose to charge the gun-toting Violet with swords. Also, someone has to teach these guys about the concept of cross-fire; they constantly encircle our heroine (something which she uses to her advantage on no less than three separate occasions).
I'll give "Ultraviolet" one star for Milla's presence alone. As she's shown in the "Resident Evil" series, the former supermodel is game for just about anything. The actress doesn't have much range, but when she's given the right role, as she was in Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi opus "The Fifth Element", she's a charming screen presence. In "Ultraviolet" she's wasted, but she's also the only thing worth watching.