Kurt Wimmer certainly isn't a "made man" in Hollywood. You wont' see "A Kurt Wimmer Film" in TV spots for his latest flick, Ultraviolet, but that doesn't mean that he's not a known man in many circles on the Internet and elsewhere. Many of these circles even worship the man, who used to be just a screenwriter, with such credits to his name like Sphere, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Recruit. But ever since his 2002 flick Equilibrium, an astounding picture, he has accrued a cult-like fan base, which includes me. Wimmerites finally get their follow-up to Equlibrium in Ultraviolet, a movie that doesn't quite equal the greatness of his prior flick, but certainly ensures that this futuristic visionary is here to stay.
Like Equilibrium, Ultraviolet is set in the presumably-near future, where oppression and tyranny are old hat. But instead of emotion, Ultraviolet's iron-fisted government takes aim at this breed of vampire called Hemophages. The irony is that the government basically created them, after finding an obscure virus that they used to create a more powerful army of faster and smarter soldiers. But, something went awry and they were unable to control the Hemophages anymore, so they set out to exterminate them. Leading the resistance against this movement is our title character, Violet (Jovovich), a Hemophage with an attitude, and with good reason: she used to be a human. She got the virus from her husband, and when they killed him, along with forcing her to abort her unborn child, she swore revenge against those who made her that way, and anyone else who gets in her way. Unfortunately for her, the Hemophages are almost extinct, and the humans have created a weapon to get rid of them once and for all. So, of course, Violet intercepts it, only to realize that it's a human boy named Six (Bright), and sets out to find out what they did to him, and if he holds either the cure for her disease, or the poison, or both.
Mila Jovovich, who Wimmer specifically wrote this role for, is fairly solid in the title role, but I was a bit surprised by that. Her performance looked wonderful in the trailer, but it really wasn't as consistent as I hoped and thought it'd be. She shines in the inventive action sequences, and as the bad-ass chica she's supposed to be. But, when she gets too attached to Six, it really doesn't seem that authentic, and she keeps trying to hard to play the bad-ass with a heart. Bright, who is basically the male version of Dakota Fanning, doesn't do too bad here, but there's not much burden on his role. He basically just has to have this half-frightened, half-sublime look on his face and not say too much, for about 85 percent of his screen time. Nick Chinlund, who almost exclusively pays his rent playing a baddie, gives a very good performance here. In past performances, he looks like he's having way too much fun being a bad guy, and it comes off as unauthentic. Here, he hones his baddie ways very well, in a much more realistic and meaningful performance than anything he's ever done before. William Fitchner has the only other role of note here, playing another member of the resistance, and he's pretty good, but his screen time is fairly limited.
For an 88-minute movie, this flick sure does take it's time. Wimmer's script definitely takes a while to get its wheels rolling. He does set up the beginnning fairly nice, with some decent background on the world as they know it, but most of the middle of the movie doesn't grab you as much as intricately-written Equilbrium did. The dialogue is very well-written here, but he just doesn't get us real excited about the set-up. It seemed like he stuck too much to formula here, with brief plot points thinly strung together and sandwiched between amazing fight scenes, seemingly just to fill up the time. However, it's all worth it in the last half hour of the flick, as everything gels together rather nicely, and makes the whole experience worthwhile.
Wimmer's direction is really worth the price of admission here. For one, he invented a whole new style of gunfighting called Gun Kata for Equilibrium, and he uses, according to IMDB, a more authentic version of that style for this flick, and it's just phenomenal. It's almost a mixture of martial arts and gunfighting, putting yourself in an optimal position to evade bullets while at the same time using that position for maximum effeciency for your own gunfire. While it would help to see Equilibrium before this movie, to be more familiar with this style, it's not entirely necessary, and it'll be very fresh to see on the screen for the first time, because there has really never been anything out there like this before... ever. I don't think he did as well a job with Jovovich as he should've, but that's almost moot since the action drives this movie and it's just amazing to see on the big screen.
Ultraviolet is a flick that shows us a possible future, with tons of style, insanely good action and a story that, while it isn't as fluid as I'd expect, pays off in the long run. Sure, you can say this flick is basically Blade meets Resident Evil. I won't deny that. And if you weren't a fan of Equilibrium (I honestly haven't met that many, really), this isn't for you either. But, if you want some insanely innovative action, with a futuristic twist, Ultraviolet is right up your bullet-dodging alley.