“My name is Violet, and I was born into a world you may not understand,” is how Milla Jovovich’s terroristic rebel vampire vixen introduces herself at the start of Ultraviolet, but no such luck—the comic book-ish 21st-century metropolis in which she and her diseased outcast brethren (called “hemophages”) battle human corporate villains with firearms and supernatural martial arts is nothing if not an instantly recognizable third-generation clone of every post-Matrix sci-fi actioner. A stylist first and storyteller, well, never, director Kurt Wimmer is at the forefront of mainstream cinema’s devolution into substance-free CG spectacle, and with his latest he bestows most of his attention on making sure that his seductive heroine and settings’ ultra-modern architecture are primary color-coordinated for maximum chicness. Shot with the same HD cameras used for George Lucas’s final two Star Wars prequels presumably because they afford greater (and more efficient) post-production image manipulation, the director matches the rubbery plasticity of his hyper-saturated palette by airbrushing faces to the point of unnatural smoothness, giving all involved an artificial mannequin appearance. Of course, as a model herself, Jovovich is a star custom-made for Ultraviolet‘s anime-influenced eye candy aesthetic, and the cinematographic salivating over the sword-wielding babe’s flat midriff and flawless ass confirm her status as the embodiment of every 13-year-old fanboy’s wet dream. Yet once Violet’s knack for slaying hordes of encircling soldiers wears thin, what’s left is an asinine story (somewhat reminiscent of Aeon Flux) about genetics, totalitarian governments, and maternal love—the latter of which features 2006’s third blank-faced performance, as an emotionless clone, by the ubiquitous Cameron Bright—that values one-liners and impalements over rational explanations for things like Violet’s chameleon powers or ability to magically house an arsenal inside her svelte body. In a typically hectic sequence, Jovovich’s hottie speeds a motorcycle through a futuristic urban downtown while being chased by a helicopter, the buildings, vehicles, and explosions all exhibiting a polygonal angularity that deliberately recalls the look of pre-rendered video-game graphics. It’s an apt resemblance, considering that like most PS2 titles’ interposing cut-scenes, Ultraviolet is nice to gaze at but otherwise simplistic, senseless, and eminently skippable.
- Screen Gems
- 88 min
- Kurt Wimmer
- Kurt Wimmer
- Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, William Fichtner, Sebastien Andrieu, Ida Martin
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