“Ultraviolet” is the CG movie-as-computer game, with a difference. While the best games demand replay, sci-fi/chopsocky specialist Kurt Wimmer’s latest isn’t likely to lure repeaters, except perhaps lonely young guys communing with an athletically trim Milla Jovovich on their bedroom tubes when this goes to vid, which will doubtless be soon.
Those who feel Sidney Lumet’s remake of “Gloria” was the worst possible retelling of John Cassavetes’ unusual action meller may reconsider in light of “Ultraviolet,” which, pressbook informs, Wimmer spun from a personal love of the film.
Jovovich’s vengeful Violet is a gal on a rampage who takes an innocent boy under her wing, but any resemblance to “Gloria” stops there. Pic is hermetically sealed in a synthetic wrapping that’s so total — Sony’s top-flight high-def cameras, visibly low-budget CG work, exceptionally hackneyed and imitative action and dialogue –that it arrives a nearly lifeless film.
After a zippy comic book-inspired title sequence that graphically mimics the dazzling intro of “Hulk,” Violet warns auds — all too accurately — that she was “born into a world you may not understand.” Infected with a blood virus first developed to build super soldiers, she is part of an underground group with enhanced physical powers.
Her nemesis is Vice Cardinal Daxus (Nick Chinlund), whose complete command of the hyper-high tech city where the action is set begs the unanswered question: Who can the Cardinal be?
Violet is ordered by underground leader Nerva (Sebastien Andrieu, slumming after Agnes Jaoui’s “Look at Me”) to retrieve an encased weapon. After mowing down an army of soldiers in her way, Violet discovers that the weapon is actually a child with special attributes named Six (Cameron Bright, far less spooky here than he was in “Birth”).
Seeing that everyone is out to get Six — whose blood may contain a cure to what ails Violet and her ilk — she protects him while suffering from her own bouts of illness, with some help along the way from doc friend Garth (a wasted William Fichtner).
Inanely grim, pic could have easily been a delicious genre spoof if made by a different writer-director. Wimmer’s filmmaking exudes geeky literalism and the absorption of many better chopsocky pics, but offers nothing new. Fight scenes, choreographed by Mike Smith, are repetitious, using the same ideas and moves over and over, while gunplay is “Matrix”-lite.
Jovovich builds her perf out of a series of poses, while real thesping is handled by ace character actor Chinlund.
Tech work is low quality, particularly in effects-heavy sequences that look like rough drafts rather than the finished product. Shanghai locales have inspired clean lensing by Hong Kong vet Arthur Wong Ngok Tai. Klaus Badelt’s score hammers aud ears into submission.