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SONY PICTURES

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Kurt Wimmer
Cast:
Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, Sebastien Andrieu, Ida Martin, William Fichtner, David Collier, Kieran O'Rorke
Writing Credits:
Kurt Wimmer

Tagline:
The Blood War is On.

Synopsis:
Ninety years in the future, a genetic, blood-borne disease is rampant among humans, giving them intense speed and superintelligence. As the government tries to stop her fellow infected, assassin Ultraviolet (Milla Jovovich) has one final, lethal task to perform.

Box Office:
Budget
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$9.064 million on 2558 screens.
Domestic Gross
$18.500 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $28.95
Release Date: 6/27/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Actor Milla Jovovich
• “UV Protection: The Making of Ultraviolet” Four-Part Documentary
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Ultraviolet: Unrated Extended Cut (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 13, 2006)

Though Milla Jovovich once appeared to be a promising young actor, she went the Wesley Snipes route. She embraced mindless action flicks, most of which fell into the sci-fi category. For her latest effort, we find 2006’s Ultraviolet.

Ultraviolet tosses out a lot of backstory as it tells us of HGV, a virulent blood disorder that assaults the world. The government rounds up victims and places them in camps where they disappear. Nurse Violet (Jovovich) becomes infected and experiences changes that make her physically stronger but come with a radically decreased lifespan. Eventually other hemophages like her – referred to as “vampires” since the disease elongates their teeth – go underground and fight back with the “Blood Wars”.

Vice-Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus (Nick Chinlund) runs the non-infected world and supervises a method to immediately eliminate all the hemophages. Nearing the end of her lifepan, Violet manages to infiltrate a government facility and steal the weapon that they plan to use to kill the hemophages. She returns this to her compatriots and discovers that the weapon is actually a child called Six (Cameron Bright) whose blood can act like insecticide to the hemophages.

Violet pleads for the life of the child, as she thinks his blood can also help cure them. Her superior Nerva (Sebastien Andrieu) doesn’t agree, so she tries to flee with the boy. The movie follows her attempts to keep Six alive and to find a cure. We also discover some secrets along the way.

As I mentioned when I reviewed Aeon Flux, I usually think it’s a bad sign when a movie launches with a long narration to set up its story. Granted, flicks like this need to place us in their worlds, but I think the filmmakers can find better-integrated and creative methods than eight minutes of explanation.

The irony is that all that exposition matters little in Ultraviolet. When all is said and done, it offers little more than an Aliens-style tale of protective mother and surrogate child. Anytime a movie inspires comparisons to Aliens, it’ll come up short. Even good action flicks can’t touch that classic, so the similarities exhibited by a dud like Ultraviolet just make it seem even less effective.

Ala Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet becomes far too obsessed with its visuals. If anything, this flick worries more about its flashy shots than does the Charlize Theron bomb. I will admit the flick exhibits a nice sense of comic book framing throughout the film, but that’s the only positive I can attach to the cinematography.

Otherwise, the film is all style and no substance. It throws every visual gimmick it can find at us but doesn’t ground them in anything else. This inspires more comparisons to another superior film: The Matrix. Ultraviolet goes for similar techniques but doesn’t utilize them with the same level of effectiveness. It doesn’t help that eight million other movies already featured those methods; Ultraviolet tends to look stale while it attempts to be fresh.

The whole project does little more than manage to seem cheap. None of the settings appear realistic at all, and that undermines how well we accept them. The package comes across as very computer generated, so we don’t buy anything that happens. It all feels plastic and contrived.

If Ultraviolet managed to deliver some good thrills, I might not care. Unfortunately, the action scenes are dull and lifeless. They wear their influences too openly and fail to bring anything vivid to the table. Ultraviolet is an uninspired and predictable action flick with nothing new or involving about it.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Ultraviolet appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film boasted an oddly indistinct visual presentation, but I found it tough to decide whether the problems came from the source or from the transfer.

All of the concerns related to sharpness. Sometimes the movie featured very good accuracy and definition, but many shots came across as moderately fuzzy and blurry. I did feel that some of this stemmed from filmmaking choices, but I’ll be damned if I could discern any logic behind these decisions. That left the softness as a distraction and one that harmed the movie.

At least we found no jagged edges or shimmering, and source flaws appeared absent. Ultraviolet went with a mix of hues. It often depicted its society as cold and sterile, but it also threw out bold splashes of color on occasion. Most of these looked pretty dynamic, though some colored lights tended to be thick and messy. Blacks were acceptably dense and dark, but shadows were also a bit too heavy. I found this to be an erratic transfer that varied from crystal clear to fuzzy in the blink of an eye.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Ultraviolet had its own problems. Though not to the same level as the visuals, the audio tended to be erratic. The concerns related to the impact of the sound. While most of the fight sequences boasted good punch, a few of them came across as oddly anemic. We’d get gunfights with no power to them. Again, the majority of the film showed nice range and dynamics, but I found a smattering of sequences that fell short of those goals.

This also sometimes affected the soundfield. Much of the flick offered a lively, involving setting, but some scenes felt more constricted. They focused too much on the front and didn’t expand in the expected manner. Not many of these occurred, though, as the majority of the movie showed good spread.

Except for those occasional limp segments, audio quality was solid. Speech seemed natural and crisp, while most effects sounded clear and concise. Bass response could be strong. Music showed nice range and delineation as well. This was too inconsistent a track to earn anything above a “B”.

Only a couple of extras flesh out the DVD. We get an audio commentary with actor Milla Jovovich. She provides a running, screen-specific discussion. And an intensely boring one at that, as 90 minutes of conversation yields absolutely nothing of value.

Most of the time Jovovich remains silent. Acres of dead air spread throughout the movie. When she does speak, she usually tells us how cool the elements are. She tosses out the occasional banal story or her impressions of shooting in China, but expect no insight. I learned nothing useful from this dull, dreadful commentary.

Next comes UV Protection: The Making of Ultraviolet. This 30-minute and 51-second program mixes movie shots, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We get notes from Jovovich, executive producer Tony Mark, producer John Baldecchi, VFX supervisors Ken Jones and Victor Wong, costume designer Joseph A. Porro, cinematographer Arthur Wong, stunt coordinator Mike Smith, and actors Nick Chinlund and William Fichtner.

The program looks at the story and the director’s approach to it, cast and characters, and shooting in Shanghai. From there we learn about the creation of a big motorcycle sequence and some other visual effects elements, set and color design, costumes, and fight choreography.

Though superior to Jovovich’s commentary, the documentary still fails to prosper. The problem? Too much banal happy talk, too many film clips, and too little detail. We get dribs and drabs of material without great introspection. Much of the show devotes itself to the alleged genius of director Kurt Wimmer and how terrific everything about the film is. This means lots of fluff and not nearly enough information.

At the start of the disc, we get a collection of ads. These include clips for Mirrormask, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and Marilyn Hotckiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School. Those three also appear in the Previews domain along with promos for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, The Benchwarmers, and the 2005 version of The Fog. The DVD fails to include the trailer for Stranger itself.

Cheesy sci-fi/action flicks are a dime a dozen, but I’ll not even throw 10 cents at Ultraviolet. The kind of flick we’ve already seen – and seen done better – this muddled movie never manages to become anything entertaining or exciting. The DVD presents erratic picture and audio along with a mediocre documentary and one of the worst audio commentaries I’ve ever heard. Only those who completely adore Ultraviolet - if any such folks exist – should bother with this flawed DVD of a bad movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 20
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41:
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