Ultraviolet

I didn't heed the warnings. I didn’t see the writing on the wall.

I. Watched. Ultra. Violet.

A movie is a balancing act, and a good one can have a few bad elements. Ultraviolet, on the other hand, is nothing but bad elements. The opening sequence sets the stage, with stills of comic book covers featuring a character that we don’t actually care about yet, and never will. balance

Kurt Wimmer, the mastermind behind the totally great 1984-with-ninjas-concept movie Equilibrium, got a little big for his britches and made what is likely the worst action movie of the decade. The film features Milla Jovavich as Violet, and Milla Jovavich’s abdominal muscles . Seriously, they should get second billing. They’re in almost every scene, because some tool-shed costume designer didn’t put his foot down and say “An invincible-super-ninja-vampire would not wear a mid-riff baring shirt.”

The movie starts out with a terrorist faction of government-made vampires being launched via some sort of ball-bearing delivery system into an office building. So far, so good. The ball-bearing-ninjas get owned by the local security after chopping up (with no blood spatter) some scientist. Then we introduce our heroin, and little too late for anyone to care.

She narrates the amazingly stupid plot for a little while, and to her credit, she tries really hard to sound serious. It almost works except for phrases like “and so began the blood wars.” We meet the world’s germaphobic ruler Vice Cardinal Ferdinand Daxus (Nick Chinlund), who is so scared of germs he even keeps his personal sidearm hermetically sealed, and begins the movie-long of trend of characters not actually talking like people. That wouldn’t be so bad if it was well written, but it’s not. Daxus actually says “A courier is retrieving to bring here to the arch ministry as we speak.” That’s verbatim, I swear. Hurts, doesn’t it?

The movie is pretty much one long action sequence that demonstrates the Inverse Ninja Law. One ninja is unstoppable, but two or more might as well be Dodge Ball champions facing off against a battle-mech. The five Ball-Bearing Ninjas get owned by corporate security, while a lone warrior ninja kills everyone and everything that stands in her way.

Violet nabs a dimension-bending Macguffin that’s actually full of that Creepy Kid who always plays a Creepy Kid in everything he's in (Cameron Bright ), and who may or may not hold the key to killing all the vampires. Or he's the key to killing all the humans.Or the he's key to really great lobster bisque. I really have no clue. What I do know, is that the main character uses “flat space technology” so she can wear skin-tight clothing at all times and whip out a goddamned arsenal without it having to make sense.

More action ensues as Violet attempts to bring an end to the reign of the Grand-High Germaphobe. Some crappy gun-kata rip-off happens, and the credits roll. This movie is like a bad relationship, you feel like a bad person because you tolerated it for so long.

That being said: CAVALCADE THE HELL out of this picture.  It deserves everything you can throw at it. Mock it, make lewd shadow puppets on screen, it has it coming. Pair it up with Fist of the North Star for a Dystopian Double-Up.

Most importantly, AVENGE ME!

Drive Angry 3D

A few days ago, my father asked me if Nicholas Cage was able to make a good movie anymore.  Having recently watched trailers for Next (2007)Knowing (2009), and The Sorceror’s Apprentice (2010), I immediately responded with no small amount of sadness, “no.”

Then I saw Drive Angry.

Now, like Zarathustra taught us the Ubermensch, the Cavalcade teaches to you the Drive Angry!

John Milton (Nicholas Cage) has broken out of Hell in a sweet muscle car.  This is a completely different concept from Ghost Rider (2007), in which Nicholas Cage is possessed by a demon hunting other demons on behalf of the Devil with a sweet chopper.  His purpose: to stop Satanic cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke) from using his granddaughter in a sacrificial rite to bring Hell to Earth.  In between Milton breaking out of Hell and [Spoiler Alert] stopping King is nothing short of glorious.

Brought to us by the writer/director team Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier who have brought us epics like Jason X (2001) and My Bloody Valentine 3-D (2009)Drive Angry’s primary goal is showing as many car stunts, bodily mutilations, and gratuitous nudity as humanly possible in 104 minutes.  Gentle readers, you have to understand, the marketing for this film is deplorable.  Remember those commercials with Cage shooting people in a hotel room and dodging an axe thrown at his head?  What the advertisers do not want you to know is that Cage is actually having sex with a completely naked woman the entire time!

I do not have the space or the legal rights to list every incredible action stunt in the picture.  But I can tell you about the performances featured in this film because they are all gold.  Cage is surprisingly restrained here.  There is maybe one Elvis-ism, no screeching, and no quirkiness for quirkiness’ sake.  Cage plays it straight and it works perfectly.  Lussier takes full advantage of Cage’s ability to go from zero to BROODING in .0005 seconds flat.

Amber Heard is plays Milton’s sidekick, Piper.  Having only seen her previously as “406” in Zombieland (2009), I did not expect much.  This actress is phenomenal.  She is essentially Elly May Clampett if she were metal.  Billy Burke’s ability to work leather pants and puffy shirts while simultaneously making any semi-religious nonsense sound like the Gettysburg Address firmly cement him as the heir-apparent too Billy Drago.  Our esteemed screenwriter, Todd Farmer, makes a cameo doing exactly the same thing as he did in My Bloody Valentine 3-D.

However, the man that steals the show is William Fichtner.  Playing “The Account,” the Devil’s bounty hunter, Ficthner joins the “Why didn’t anyone think to give him superpowers before?” list.  Said list includes Christopher Walken after The Prophecy (1995) and Robert Forster in season two of "Heroes." Fichtner glides through the movie as the entire world is his amusement park.  Drive Angry Fun Fact: It is!

The thing is, you all have to go out and embrace this film in the 3-D in which it was intended.  If you don’t, we’ll never get another one.  And we need another one.  This is a film that gives Nicholas Cage license to say with complete seriousness that he will not drink a beer unless it is the skull of his mortal enemy.

Wanna guess what he does before the credits roll?