Directed by Kurt Wimmer. Starring Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, William Fichtner, Sebastien Andrieu. (2006, PG-13, 88 min.)
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., March 10, 2006
In opening voiceover, a superhuman killing machine named Violet (Resident Evil’s Jovovich) warns the viewer, “I was born into a world you may not understand.” Boy hidee, she ain’t kidding, and fully 88 minutes later, that world is still pocked with incomprehensibility. It seems that some time in the not so distant future, a nasty virus was let loose, creating a splinter, mutant race of humans – hemophages, they’re called – that the government is bent on exterminating. About 20 minutes in, somebody drops the "v" word – that’s vampires – but outside of the occasional extra-pointy molar, that concept is never further explored. Not much is. Presumably, the market doesn’t really demand logic from product as inherently disposable as this; heavy artillery and a heavily spandexed heroine trump all, it would seem. Ultraviolet ponies up both, but with none of the trashy-gothic pleasure of obvious vampire-actioner antecedents Blade and Underworld. Visually, Ultraviolet, an original creation of writer/director Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium), takes its cue from comics (none of its inventiveness, mind you, or primary-color splash). There’s a two-dimensionality to this world, in both its rinky-dink computer graphics and its characterizations. Wimmer gives Violet, an infected assassin searching for an antidote, about a hangnail’s worth of a backstory; there’s greater nuance to be had in her ever-changing hair color. Jovovich, who’s shown sensitivity in her dramatic work, looks spectacularly bored as she power-kicks her way through one bloody pile-up after another. That boredom, like the mystery virus at the center of the film, is contagious.