I’m going to take an unpopular stance on the film “UltraViolet”. I like it! Was it great? Certainly not? Was it entertaining? That depends on the individual. Was it thought provoking? Absolutely! However, the critics, for the most part, detested everything about this film. Maybe I just liked it because I always root for the underdog. Maybe I love it because I love sci-fi. Maybe I liked it because it was a slightly different take on an age-old story. Whatever, the reason, I liked it.
Supposedly this movie is based on the 1980 movie “Gloria” starring Gena Rowlands. It was remade in 1999 with Sharon Stone in the lead. For those of you who may not have seen that movie it centered on a young boy who witnessed his family being killed by the Mafia. Because of that, obviously the mob wants him dead. Gloria, a former gun moll and seriously tough cookie, somehow ends up as his protector. While there is a similarity to that film in that “UltraViolet” becomes the protector of a young boy, that is basically where these respective movies part company.
This film, which supposedly takes place in the 21st century, creates a world where a virus has turned a large part of the earth’s population into diseased-modified humans called “hemophages.” These vampire-like creatures have heightened speed, strength, dexterity, and intelligence that frightens the remaining population. They have, therefore, been ostracized and forced to live in hiding. The fascist government, intent on stamping out these mutants, has developed a weapon that will supposedly rid them of the hemophages. It is protected by the evil leader Daxus, played by Nick Chinlund. Violet, played with finesse by Milla Jovovich, is considered to be the only hope of the hemophage. She, determined to fight for her people, decides to steal the weapon and destroy it. Once she has it in hand, however, she opens it to find a young boy, played beautifully by Cameron Bright. This supposed weapon is actually a dying clone that goes by the name of Six. Now Violet who was forced to terminate her own pregnancy years before, because of her mutancy, finds her maternal instincts kicking in. She is uncertain whether the lab-created boy is the secret to the eradication of the hemophage or, in fact, their salvation. Either way, Violet decides that she must project him (which explains the correlation between this movie and the film “Gloria.”) There is, of course, the requisite climatic duel in the dark between good and evil (Daxus and Violet) which ultimately leads to the true message of the movie; that of Hope.
Violet is obviously an angry young woman; angry at the loss of her humanity and for the loss of her child. And Violet’s anger makes her dangerous which seems to key in her a change of hair and eye color at will. She is a sword-fighting, gun-toting warrior who, incidentally, wears skintight leather, which she can also change in both color and style, seemingly at her whim. This is actually one of the most interesting things about the film; hoaky, yes, but visually stunning. The role of Violet is perfect for Jovovich who has become the ultimate sci-fi super heroine in roles like “The Fifth Element” and “Resident Evil.” She plays this sort of role easily; perhaps too easily. All of these roles have basically called for an expressionless, almost soulless, performance, which might make one wonder if this is all that she is capable of doing. Still, it was right for the role of Violet so I have to give her props here.
This movie is tailor made for action fans raised on Japanese anime and video games as well as those who don’t have a problem with a stunning young heroine leaving a path of destruction in her wake. There are some eerie similarities in theme and style to other pop-culture films like “The Matrix” and “Aeon Flux.” But the film’s look, which incorporates a brightly hued, soft-focus environment constructed entirely with computer generated Imaging (CGI) which is more like “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” However, that is where the parallel between “UltraViolet” and these films ends. I personally preferred some of this movie’s special effects to that of the others simply because I was impressed with the visual beauty of the film. Being a visual person, I tend to notice these things and appreciate them. I realize that other people with view the movie in a totally different way and I respect that as well.
Kurt Wimmer, who wrote and directed this film, certainly had an interesting, albeit shopworn, concept and the world of CGI at his fingertips with which to work. Still, he couldn’t, for whatever reason, quite give the film what it needed to propel it into the realm of good sci-fi. It is a bit too predictable, especially with regard to special effects. We’ve already seen a lot of this before. That, coupled with a generic techno-bombast soundtrack and a comic book styling, ruined what could have been a wonderful experience. The potential in this film was simply never realized.
I repeat that I liked this film BUT keep in mind that I love a lot of B films that most people would automatically ignore. For that reason, I leave the decision up to you. I think it is worth a look, but if you are not a big sci-fi fan, it might not be your cup of tea. I give it 2 and one-half stars (out of five).
“UltraViolet” is a Screen Gems production. It is 94 minutes in length and carries a PG-13 rating for violence.