3 out of 10
I will confess upfront that I do not have any familiarity with the comic book series this movie was based on, set in a future world of medical oppression due to a fear of hemophages (people suffering from a mutated vampire virus). What I was surprised at was that afterwards I couldn't imagine how the comics could be more shallow, 2-dimensional and uninteresting than Ultraviolet the movie was.
What really drives a stake through the heart of 'Ultraviolet', like all too many others films, is a bad script and no development of the characters. I didn't even feel any connection to Violet herself (played by Milla Jovavich of "The Fifth Element") and her decision to save a mystery boy (somehow locked inside a flat case!). Violet rarely talks and when she does she comes out with atrocious lines like 'Because these beautiful moments turn evil when they're over' (turning down a pass made at her by a nice guy).
The villain Daxus, played by Nick Chunland (Detective Sullivan of the TV series 'Desperate Housewives') is even more a blank than the heroine. You get no impression of him except he's a self-controlled and deadly creep, and the meant-to-shock revelation in the climactic showdown between him and Violet doesn't shock. The remaining characters have even less meat to them and barely registered on my mental radar screen.
All the fights in "Ultraviolet"are stylized in a vaguely Matrix-like way and several appear to be virtually the same fight. Violet is surrounded by baddies, Violet fights multiple baddies, Violet wins easily. Most annoying of all, Violet apparently kills most of her multiple opponents extremely rapidly without suffering a scratch. How can she be a heroine if it's all so easy? And what was with the incredible combat technology and comparatively poor medical technology in a society apparently obsessed with a medical problem?
The point of a science-fiction or fantasy film nowadays is apparently to have great special effects, which effectively means great CGI. Since "Ultraviolet" has nothing going for it but CGI (and Milla Jovavich in tight outfits and changing hair colors) you'd expect really great CGI but the effects are only so-so and somehow unappealing. There is a gravity-defying motorcycle and helicopter chase that reminded me of a modernized Tron (itself not the most gripping movie ever made) and a bunch of sterile and lifeless cityscapes form the backdrop for the uninteresting fights.
Kurt Wimmer is the director of this 88 minute dog, and more might have been expected of the director of the cult film Equilibrium. I don't know why he didn't add a few more minutes with a scene or two designed to flesh out the story. He could have shown a medical concentration camp for suspected hemophages, or hemophages stealing blood in order to survive, or even people cheering a hemophage's brutal execution. If Wimmer is smart, he'll blame the result on studio interference because he's rendered a poor vision indeed. Incidentally, Wimmer pulls a Hitchcock and makes a brief appearance as Speak-No-Evil Phage, a sidekick of Nerva (Sebastien Andrieu) who Violet is working for and whom she ends up killing.
This one is strictly for DVD-rental, and I would not recommend 'Ultraviolet' even then. You are throwing your time and money away seeing it in the movie theatre. It suffers even more in contrast in comparison with "V for Vendetta", a movie also based on a comic book (sorry, 'graphic novel') about a future rebel in an oppressive society which is currently out in the movie theatres. Vendetta's hero has a cause; Ultraviolet's heroine has no cause and no clue.
Film Critic: Douglas A Gunter