Log in

entries friends calendar profile SMRT-TV (where my monthly column, Zoinks, appears) Previous Previous Next Next
When vampire movies really suck - Si, and I like potatoes.
When vampire movies really suck
Warning: I'll have spoilers in this post, and I'm not cutting. Trust me -- this movie doesn't deserve a cut.

We just rented Ultraviolet.

Oh, if you thought a movie starring Milla Jovovich couldn't suck more than Resident Evil: Apocalypse, you were wrong.

You know how Equilibrium (the previous film by hack director/writer Kurt Wimmer) was basically a twenty gallon pile of suck in a ten-gallon bag, made watchable only by amazing fight choreography and good acting? Well, this film has an almost gloriously bad cast (Milla really is the best actor here, by a long shot), and features fight choreography by a weasel on crack. A dead zombie weasel on zombie crack.

Let's see where to start here.

In the not too distant future, scientists have fucked up and released a virus from Eastern Europe that turns people into super-fast, super-strong creatures who die after twelve years. Oh, and they also need blood, grow fangs, and hate sunlight. But the media called them "vampires" out of laziness. They're really "hemophages."

The government, naturally, rounded up all victims of the disease and performed mengelevian experiments on them. One of the victims of the disease was pretty young Violet, who was pregnant and married when she got the disease, and had the pregnancy terminated while in custody. This is important, as she now has an unfulfilled motherhood complex. She's also one of the few vampires without a sensitivity to light, although no one ever calls her the Daywalker, alas.

There have been two other important advances in technology. First, scientists have finally isolated what must surely be the "Highlander" effect, which allows anyone to create a personal dimensional pocket in which to store guns, swords, and ham sandwiches. Second, there is an experimental prototype bodysuit, worn only by Violet, which changes colors whenever it looks cool to do so.

Anyway, after an opening scene establishing that the "hemophages" (or, as some would call them, "vampires") can be killed (which also doubles as an opportunity to allow Milla to provide voiceover exposition for five minutes, in spite of the fact that everyone in Hollywood knows that the worst thing you could ever do is let Milla Jovovich talk), we see Violet entering a really big headquarters-type building pretending to be a courier. To prove that she's not a vampire, she goes through a battery of blood and dna tests, some retinal scans, and probably a gynecological exam or three. Fortunately, her crack team of elite underground vampire scientists have provided her with devices to circumvent all of these (even the one that looked for longer teeth), because naturally the government facility that houses every bit of research ever done on vampirism wouldn't be as up to date as the rebels.

Violet goes to pick up a mysterious briefcase, but just as she's about to take the ultimate anti-vampire weapon, the real courier shows up, and Violet feels obligated to kill everyone in the room. She then kills the extras, and probably a cameraman or two. When she gets out of the building and is surrounded by men with guns (at a one-foot radius, because in the future, soldiers don't need good combat training), she whips her Highlander sword out and kills em all at once. You see, Violet is bad-ass.

We're then subjected to a motorcycle/helicopter chase, which establishes A) that Violet's nifty gravity device that allows her to walk on ceilings also allows her to ride the bike up buildings (which is cool), and B) that none of the bad guys in this movie are capable of hitting Violet even when shooting a machine gun at her at close range.

After more chasing, Violet contacts her Vampire Rebellion Leader, who tells her to blow up an entire city block (destroying the weapon, as well as Vi, who only has 36 hours to live, anyway). Violet refuses, and opens the package, only to find that it contains a twelve-year-old boy (they use the same Highlander technology, one assumes, to put him in there) who looks like Leech from X-3 (yes, in six months, this poor kid has worked with two of the worst living directors). Naturally, her Mother Instinct kicks in. Realizing that her Vampire Rebellion Leader would kill the kid, she plants a hologram in the briefcase, and runs up to the roof of the Vampire Headquarters Building. There, she kills a Random Rooftop Tong by getting the gang members to all shoot each other. Seriously. She and the boy then head back downstairs and outside before the vampires can follow. Once there, the Big Bad Scientist tells her that the boy is his son, but she doesn't believe him, and drives away, while knocking a bunch of henchmen down with the car as if they were bowling pins.

The next half hour is spent mostly on exposition, as Violet goes to her Only Trusted Friend, a Brilliant Vampire Scientist, who helps her get a transfusion and does experiments on the boy. Turns out that he's not the Ultimate Weapon Against Vampires that we were expecting, but is just going to die in eight hours, and, oh, he has a tracking device. But don't worry -- the scientist's lair is shielded, and surely the bad guys couldn't track the boy to the outside of the lair and just work from there.

Meanwhile, the Big Bad Scientist kills three of the Vampire Rebellion Leader's henchmen (henchvampires? Henchhemophages?), and offers him a deal.

Next thing you know, after a bit of a muddle in a public place in which the soldiers shoot the wrong twelve-year-old, the Vampire Rebellion Leader captures the kid. Violet follows them to a cemetery, where she fights two long-haired hench-vamps by pulling their hair. Seriously. She then goes into the mausoleum, where she kills the entire Vampire Rebellion (Leader included) in the worst-choreographed swordfight I've ever seen. How is she a better swordfighter than every other superhuman vampire? Well, um, shut up.

After saving the kid from falling down a well, Violet takes the kid (whose name, incidentally, is Six, but who never once shouts, "I'm a boy, not a number!") on a quick attempt at a raid on the enemy headquarters, followed by a trip to the playground, where the boy promptly drops dead, and the bad guys come along and kill Violet.

But wait -- there's more. Brilliant Vampire Scientist saves her (because he loves her! Awwww!), and naturally, she gets despondent and thinks about killing herself (a state she shares with the audience by this point). But a phone call from Brilliant Vampire Scientist reveals that he's discovered that the boy's blood is really a pathogen that will kill humans, not vamps. And they put it in a boy instead of a vial because, well, um, we never actually get anything resembling a good explanation for that one. Just some bullshit about the pathogen needing a host (unlike, say, every other virus ever).

So, naturally, Violet attacks the Impenetrable Headquarters Building and shoots and slices her way through every single guard in the building, shooting up an entire library in the process (the books are the only characters in the movie worth mourning, incidentally). Eventually she gets to the operating theatre, where Big Bad Scientist was just about to cut open his clone. After a brief sword fight, Big Bad Scientist cuts the lights, only to reveal that *gasp* he was a vampire all along! And unlike Violet, he can see in the dark! But wait! Violet's got, um, some lighter fluid, or maybe a trick sword, but somehow, she manages to light her sword on fire. Which is a good thing, as we can now attempt to follow the action. She very quickly slices and dices Big Bad Scientist after lighting him on fire, so we see his flaming body fall in half, in an f/x shot that must have strained the poor Amiga Video Toaster used for the f/x here to its limits.

We end with Violet picking up Six's body, and reviving him because it turns out that when he died, Violet shed a vampire tear on him, and naturally (even though it's been established that vamps don't come back from the dead, and that vampirism is a virus that only affects living beings), he's now a vampire too! Yay! Happy endings for everyone (other than the thousands of people chopped and shot).

If this sounds like a sucktastic movie, you don't realize just how bad the fight scenes were. I've seen junior high versions of Romeo and Juliet with more believable sword-fights, and the gun battles are just plain nonsensical. Of course, as with any action movie from the last six years, we get tons of pointless slow-mo and bullet-time. Throw in a script without a single good line of dialogue, and a cast that couldn't get cast in dinner theatre in South Florida (Milla aside, and let's face it -- she doesn't get cast for her ability to deliver lines), and you've got a movie that's already a frontrunner for Worst Film of 2006.
30 comments or Leave a comment
robyn_ma From: robyn_ma Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Dude? You just spent more time writing about the movie than Kurt Wimmer probably spent writing the movie.

Though I am a fan of Equilibrium. And I did enjoy Ultraviolet purely on an eye-candy level. Yet I would not dream of disputing any of the charges of retardedness levelled at Ultraviolet.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dude? You just spent more time writing about the movie than Kurt Wimmer probably spent writing the movie.

Well, it took that many words to scrub my brain clean. That, and an episode of Venture Brothers.
robyn_ma From: robyn_ma Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
'a cast that couldn't get cast in dinner theatre in South Florida'

Except William Fichtner. Don't be hatin' on the Ficht.

Not that he had all that much to do in the flick. Or in Equilibrium for that matter. Maybe Wimmer has a man-crush on the Ficht.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
If he keeps working in Wimmer movies Fichtner will be out of work in no time.
From: ketzl Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)


Sounds a whole lot better than Danse Macabre, the latest installment of Laurel K Hamilton's 'Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter'.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: great!

Honestly, I think they're pretty much on a par. Although for different reasons.
seabat From: seabat Date: July 3rd, 2006 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Pity me....the shame....

No, i didn't like Ultraviolent. The sad part is that i took a late lunch on its opening day to catch the first matinee of the day. The cheap seats. Then i went back to work.
stoooooooooooopid me. I love Equilibrium as a cyberpunk fan and player of the roleplaying game system. Equilibrium was that, a rehash of a good weekend's game.

Ulraviolet? pure pablum.

Oh, the opening comic book cover sequence was fun.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pity me....the shame....

True -- if the credit sequence had been any indicator, the move should have been a blast.
frogger_the_mad From: frogger_the_mad Date: July 3rd, 2006 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for such a delightful review. I'm a big fan of movies so bad they are somehow still good, but I don't see how this movie could possibly live up to your wonderful rendition. I count myself content having read this.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

And yes, this was really a movie that's so bad, it's bad; not even watchable.
auryn29a From: auryn29a Date: July 3rd, 2006 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)
You must have the director's cut, because, believe it or not, what you described is actually more coherent than what I sat through in the theater.

Yes, that poor young actor has been the cure or cause of a virus in not only two movies but also an episode of Stargate. Talk about typecast.
auryn29a From: auryn29a Date: July 3rd, 2006 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and you didn't mention the one line that made the movie at least a little tolerable. "You got hemo blood on me. Oh, it's ON!" I nearly fell out of my theater seat in laughter. It was either laugh or cry at that point.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Yeah -- I figure that they were saving costs, so instead of breaking down the sets, they just had the villain chew scenery.
amywon From: amywon Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or what about the "Watch me" lines?
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: July 3rd, 2006 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I take it you've seen the UK mini-series of the same name?

If not, run to see it.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've seen one episode, which I quite liked. In fact, when I first heard of this movie, I assumed it was related.
cissa From: cissa Date: July 3rd, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
*snort* FABULOUS review!
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
malinaldarose From: malinaldarose Date: July 3rd, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Clearly Milla is in possession of the A-Team Plot Shield, the use of which does not allow bullets to penetrate unless they are one of the central plot points.

I now feel an overwhelming need to waste my 99 cent Blockbuster coupon on this movie.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
You'll regret it. Anything but "free" is a rip-off, and even then, it's debatable.
malinaldarose From: malinaldarose Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, yes, but better 99 cents than the regular $2.99. Actually, assuming I even remember to use the coupon -- which expires tomorrow -- I'll probably get something else and leave that one until I'm desperate. I seem to remember seeing a Really Bad Disaster Flick on the shelves, after all.
curt_holman From: curt_holman Date: July 3rd, 2006 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
But is it worse than Aeon Flux?

My worst film of 2006 so far is 'An American Haunting.'
solcita From: solcita Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
But is it worse than Aeon Flux?

Sadly? Yes.
muse0fire From: muse0fire Date: July 3rd, 2006 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Milla Jovovich should never have to speak a line longer than "Multipass!"

Hilarious review, btw.
yendi From: yendi Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Milla Jovovich should never have to speak a line longer than "Multipass!"

Exactly! No movie ever used her more perfectly than that one.
shadesong From: shadesong Date: July 3rd, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Because it used her like The Matrix used Keanu. Just set them up in the middle, have them look hot/say "Whoa" or "Multipass", and set the movie to happening around them.
jerel From: jerel Date: July 3rd, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
[Zaphod]: Your review is quite awesomely the awesomest review ever.

(That's the Zaphod from the BBC series, btw, not movie Zaphod)
montykins From: montykins Date: July 4th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
The real heroes in a movie like this are the security guards who rush into the room, see that Violet has just killed several hundred people, and attack anyway. They have to know that they're doomed, but they do their duty anyway. Good for them!
yendi From: yendi Date: July 4th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
They die hoping that a Grant Morrison will notice them and write about their lives!
From: hamlet423 Date: July 4th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)


ok it wasnt ultraviolet

Did anyone see "the breed?" It was with Adrian Paul And Bokeem Woodbine? Yes, the one you all heard of. Even had Bai Ling. It would have made a great highlander episode...as a movie not quite as good....but its worth more than a 99 cent rental though...

30 comments or Leave a comment