Director Kurt Wimmer's follow-up to his enjoyable actioner "Equilibrium", "Ultraviolet" is a complete example of all style/no substance filmmaking. It's silly, it's ridiculous (taking itself way too seriously, "Ultraviolet" quickly becomes unbelievably cheesy) and it's actually kind of entertaining - but only if you're in the mood for this kind of thing. If you're not...well, yikes.
An opening narration explains that the government was planning to use a virus to create a series of super soldiers. It got out, causing devastation, as it resulted in creating "hemophages" - vampire-like humans that the government is now looking to do away with. Early on, Violet heads into a government lab to take a weapon that was to be used to do away with the hemophages. As it turns out, the weapon is actually a kid (Cameron Bright). That's about all there is to it and that's about all I could make sense of.
The picture really doesn't have much at all in the way of plot and skips between action scenes that are very noisy and generally become repetitive, as Violet faces off against wave after wave of generic soldiers. They're all heavily assisted by CGI and lack the grace of the ones in "The Matrix" and "Kill Bill". Beyond that, the editing is so rapid-fire that the scenes generally turn into a jumble. There's some decent moments here-and-there and there'd be more of them had the filmmakers not edited them in a blender and had there been any question of whether Violet will succeed against hundreds of enemies.
The performances are a riot - they go beyond bad into gleefully terrible. I like Jovovich (I actually thought she was quite good in a little indie comedy called "You Stupid Man") and Bright (the creepy kid from "Birth") isn't bad in another creepy kid role. However, with little to the characters and even less to the dialogue, which I can't believe anyone could have thought was worth putting on film.
Acting, dialogue and blah CGI action silliness aside, what really combines all these elements into a film that I'm sure will turn into a cult B-movie over the years is the tone of the flick. "Ultraviolet" proceeds forward as if it thinks it's absolutely the greatest action movie ever, which makes a movie that's incredibly, extraordinarily serious incredibly, extraordinarily funny.
But, I've said too much: "Ultraviolet" isn't a bad choice if you feel like some cheese-flavored popcorn or feel like having your own session of "Mystery Science Theater 3000". Otherwise, "Ultraviolet" is to be avoided.
VIDEO: "Ultraviolet" is presented by Sony in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture was shot on hi-def video and there's a great deal of CGI (some of it not particularly detailed) in the film (environments, etc.) Seemingly as a result, the picture does have a somewhat soft look, with consistently average sharpness and detail.
Otherwise, the picture looked perfectly fine, with no edge enhancement, shimmering, pixelation or other concerns. The film's bright, vibrant color palette is presented well, with very nice saturation and no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: Surprisingly, the film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is fairly mild-mannered. Even with all the gunfights and action, the surrounds really don't kick in all that often and the majority of the audio comes from the front speakers. Sound effects still remain fairly punchy and what dialogue there is sounds clear.
EXTRAS: Audio commentary from actress Milla Jovovich, "UV Protection" 30-minute "making of" featurette and previews for several other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "Ultraviolet" isn't a bad choice if you feel like a cheese-flavored popcorn film or feel like having your own session of "Mystery Science Theater 3000". Otherwise, "Ultraviolet" is to be avoided. The DVD edition offers enjoyable video quality, fine audio and a couple of decent supplements.
The Film D