It seems odd that I liked Ultraviolet at all. Seeing how much negative publicity the film got after its release, I was easily ready to pass it off as a forgettable film, something that had no substance and wouldn’t stay with me after watching it. I gave it a shot anyway, somewhat due to me believing I’m more professional than I actually am, but also because I don’t trust the opinions of other people. So, in my quest to prove other people wrong, I decided to give Ultraviolet its fair shot. I was pleasantly surprised.
It was an okay film. There’s nothing to write home about, but also nothing to really hate. It’s a film that had some exciting action sequences, an attractive visual aesthetic, and an interesting plot, but also some unlikable characters and some lackluster acting and writing. It’s by no means a terrible film, and it is entertaining for the most part, but its problems are likely to make some people dislike it.
Said issues are primarily in its characters. Milla Jovovich‘s Violet is the main problem. Forced to carry the majority of the film by herself, Violet is an emotionless character. She doesn’t show any emotion or act like a relatable character. We learn that Violet has 36 hours to live, due to her being a “hemophrage,” or, as the media calls them, vampire. This disease heightens the senses, increases strength, but also decreases lifespan to approximately 12 years. Violet’s time is almost up, and instead of dying quietly, she decides it would be fun to go and kill some humans. She hates humans, as she tells us, and would like to see them all die.
After stealing a package from some humans, she ends up protecting a boy whose blood supposedly has an antigen with it. We are told that this antigen could potentially be reverse-engineered to cure the disease that Violet has been inflicted with. The child was originally intended to be delivered to other hemophrages, but Violet takes him and ends up on the run from both the hemophrages, but also the humans she stole him from. All the while, showing absolutely no emotional attachment to the world she will soon leave.
Even though Violet isn’t a great character, the main thing that you want to see in this film is the action scenes. In this case, the film achieves its goal. Violet has to shoot, hack, or otherwise get past hundreds of enemies throughout the course of the film. These scenes are fun to watch, and they don’t get boring. Violet can seemingly spawn guns or swords at will, so she always has a way to overcome her obstacles.
It plays like a B-movie but takes itself a slight bit too seriously at times to keep that tone up.
Another thing speaking to the film’s quality is the vision of the future director Kurt Wimmer gives us. It’s a futuristic dystopia, and if nothing else, it looks great. The visual aesthetic is superb, and it means that when there isn’t a fight scene going on, you still have something to look at. As a matter of fact, a large part of the second act is like this. There isn’t much action in this portion of the film, and instead, we are given the only attempt at realistic characters and drama.
This is where the film falls flat. It’s sad, but with characters this flat, there isn’t much to see during these segments. Sure, this is where most of the plot is explained to the audience as well, but when Ultraviolet tries to act like a drama, it fails. It needs to stick to the action, and when more than 20 minutes occurs between large-scale fight scenes, it gets boring.
There is a problem with the action scenes, and that problem is with the enemies standing in Violet’s way. They don’t pose any threat and end up being gunned or cut down with relative ease. She doesn’t seem to have any challenge taking them all out, and there isn’t any time in which you need to worry about her losing. The only enemy that seems to have any effect on her is time, something that she is quickly running out of.
Thankfully, Ultraviolet doesn’t stick around very long. You can’t dwell on the plot that long because the film ends before you get that chance. It lasts just around 90 minutes, and its quick pacing is helpful in making you overlook its flaws. There aren’t many times where it does try to develop its characters or story, and this is a good thing because they are the weak point of the film.
Ultraviolet‘s action scenes are what carry it. The visual style surrounding these scenes is interesting and makes for a great backdrop for some of the exciting fights that occur throughout the film. It’s weak in its plot and characters but doesn’t give you time to think about them due to its quick pacing. Ultraviolet is a fun little film. It plays like a B-movie but takes itself a slight bit too seriously at times to keep that tone up. Don’t expect a great film, but it is entertaining.
Conclusion: Ultraviolet is a dumb, but kind of fun, action movie.
Recommendation: If you like Milla Jovovich or dumb sci-fi, it might be worth checking out.