Only weeks after the deplorable “Aeon Flux” comes a super-heroine-of-the-future flick that makes that glitzy but slow and stupid movie look almost good by comparison. “Ultraviolet,” an unholy combination of comic book and video game, is so awful that you’d swear it had been directed by Uwe Boll. But the culprit this time is Kurt Wimmer (“Equilibrium,” which was marginally better), who exhibits his extraordinary ineptitude by not only helming the mess but scripting it, too. He also takes a small role in front of the camera, making him a triple threat in the worst possible sense.
Milla Jovovich, who’s top-lined this sort of garbage before (see “Resident Evil”), stars as Violet, the erstwhile victim of a plague whose carriers (hemophages, they’re called, which one takes to mean vampiric, even though they apparently suffer none of the usual traits apart from a couple of prominent incisors) were imprisoned or executed by a dictatorial regime; and in the process her husband and unborn child were killed. She survived, however, to become the typically svelte, leather-clad, sword-and-automatic-pistol wielding resistance fighter who can off hundreds of Storm Troopers at a time in hand-to-hand combat. (No shrinking Violet she.) Assigned by her scientist friend-smitten lover Garth (William Fichtner) to steal a hemophage-destroying “doomsday device” from the Arch-Ministry presided over by smirking autocrat Daxus (Nick Chinlund), she finds that the supposed device is actually a young boy called Six (Cameron Bright, the dull, single-expression, glassy-eyed kid from “Birth” and “Running Scared”), whom she rescues not only from the clutches of Daxus but from the none-too-tender intentions of her hemophage associate Nerva (Sebastian Andrieu); he intends to off the youngster, whom he believes to be carrying some antigen fatal to their kind. What little plot there is consists of an elongated chase, not unlike a really bad Road Runner cartoon, in which Violet tries to save Six from both nefarious sides and recovers her humanity in the process. It’s punctuated at regular intervals by long, clumsily choreographed battle scenes in which Violet inevitably triumphs, even though we’re not shown how: she simply strides into a room filled with opponents, does a few gymnastic jumps, and is suddenly surrounded by corpses.
There isn’t a single redeeming element in “Ultraviolet.” The script is puerile and incoherent, with dialogue that sounds as if it were translated from some foreign tongue to be used in a bad dubbing job; and the actors are unremittingly atrocious, sounding as though they’re reciting the brainless lines phonetically. Chinlund is especially annoying, coming across like a bargain-basement of Joe Izuzu (remember him?), but the stone-faced Jovovich and nearly-comatose Bright aren’t appreciably better, and Andrieu has so much difficulty getting his accent around those false teeth that you almost feel as sorry for him as you do for yourself. Wimmer’s direction is barren; the only thing he seems interested in is catching the admittedly well-toned Jovovich in as many alluring poses as possible, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it doesn’t a movie make. And unlike “Aeon Flux,” the picture doesn’t even look good. The futuristic production design is hideous, with glaring, clashing colors, and the CGI work is simply atrocious; the swooping camerawork, meanwhile, could best be described as nausea-inducing. Then there’s Klaus Badelt’s score, which makes you feel as though you’re actually trapped inside the drum he pounds on so insistently.
About the only interesting thing about “Ultraviolet” is that its heroine apparently has the ability to change the color of her hair, and her garb, at whim. If you should do go a theatre to see it, try to make sure it’s a multiplex that will allow you to change auditoriums with equal ease. Otherwise, just hope that the projectionist takes Daxus’ instructions to heart when the villain says at one memorable point, “End her.”