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March 04, 2006

Ultraviolet

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Kurt Wimmer - 2006
Screen Gems 35mm movie

The aesthetics of Ultraviolet are primarily from comic books and video games. The film is a lively piece of eye candy which takes bits and pieces from John Woo, Tsui Hark, Luc Besson, the Matrix series, Blade Runner, and Zatoichi. Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer, the film was shot in China using a crew from Hong Kong action films. That Ultraviolet looks like a Hong Kong film, especially in the filming of the action sequences may be due to such talents as Sung Pong Choo for production design, and Arthur Wong's cinematography. Ultraviolet is also similar to Sin City and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, having actors perform in front of green and blue screens. There is probably not a single frame that was not digitally altered.

The one part of Ultraviolet that is an unqualified success is the title sequence. Even though the film is based on Wimmer's original screenplay, the title character is given a kind of mythical status with titles that are incorporated onto various comic books with Ultraviolet on the cover. The styles range from vintage to more contemporary artwork. In keeping with the pastiche of various comic artists' styles, Violet is constantly reimagined as well. If only the rest of the film was as terrific as the opening.

The film is about a post SARS, post bird flu future involving a war between uninfected human beings and those with infected blood called hemophages. The hemophages have modified vampire teeth, and were the subjects of medical experiments. Violet is a hemophage whose mission is to kidnap a young boy who may be a biological weapon. The film is mostly an excuse to see Milla Jovovich in tight outfits shooting, kicking and sword fighting her way from one scrape to the next. In this vision of the future, guns samurai swords pop out of nowhere in the manner of Yosemite Sam. I was quite reassured to see that coffee-makers will remain the same.

Posted by peter at March 4, 2006 12:01 AM