DVD
Ultraviolet

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlund, William Fichtner, Sebastien Andrieu
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment UK
RRP: 15.99
CDR36206
Certificate: 15
Available 30 October 2006


In the mid-21st century, a virus has turned part of the earth's population into hemophages, vampire-like creatures with heightened speed and dexterity, and a fascist government is intent on stamping them out. Enter Violet, a hemophage determined to fight for her people. Her battle takes an unexpected turn, however, when she finds herself protecting Six, a mysterious young child who was raised in a lab...

Ultraviolet Violet stars Milla Jovovich as a vampire with a mission. Set in the near future, the movie revolves around the after effects of a laboratory created virus which has escaped into the outside world. Those that come into contact with the virus, which is generally passed on through the blood, turn into hemophages. Those that are infected take on various powers, but the most common side effect is the lengthening of teeth - leading them to be known as vampires. Along with their increased powers, the hemophages also suffer from a much shortened life cycle.

Okay, so that's the background to the movie. The film opens with Jovovich's character, Violet Song jat Shariff, breaking into a secure base to steal a weapon that the humans plan to use against the hemophages. And it's here that it suddenly dawns on you that the movie is just going to be a collection of rather large fight sequences tied together with a very flimsy storyline. In fact, after the ridiculously overly long fight sequence that opens this movie, I was starting to get a little bored. Yes, it all looks great. Yes, you'll never have seen any of these moves before in a movie. But for goodness sake how much fighting can you take in one sitting before you start to think: "Oh, okay. Now what about some plot?"

The look of this movie is amazing. Every frame is like a beautifully crafted work of art - serious attention to lighting and the sets makes this look like a labour of love. It's just a shame that director Kurt Wimmer forgot to spend a little more time concentrating on some sort of story.

Scratch at the surface and the tissue thin plot is exposed as total nonsense. For starters why are the humans and hemophages fighting? The hemophages don't actually appear to have lost their humanity - they're just a little peed off that the rest of humanity have shunned them. Oh, and I suppose there's the little matter that they have very short life spans - hence humans not wanting to become infected.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the powers that be to find a cure? Actually, as this movie unfolds you'll realise why a cure wasn't found, but surely other scientists or drugs companies would have developed a cure. But stop thinking about that! Here comes some more fighting! Knives... guns... and guns with knives in them!

Extras include an audio commentary with Milla Jovovich; UV: Protection - The Making of Ultraviolet (31 minute featurette that could have been a lot more in depth); Deleted Scenes (12 minutes of scenes which really help you understand the movie a lot more); and trailers for other releases.

I wanted to make a quick observation about the commentary. To be honest it's not overly interesting. Jovovich doesn't really provide much insightful information. However one comment made me do a double take. There is a scene in the movie where Violet switches on the auto guide system so that the car will drive while she can do other things. Jovovich gets a little excited about this and comments that there are are so many things she would love to do if her real car had auto guide. These include putting on her make-up, fiddling with the radio, eating and... "Playing with my puppies!!!"

Now, before you start e-mailing my editor with your complaints on how I am a sexist pig, it wasn't just me that picked up on this. Our reviews editor, Heather, said: "Pardon? Playing with her puppies? I assume she means dogs and not her breasts!"

The Deleted Scenes are also noteworthy these show how Violet became infected, as well as explaining that she only has 36 hours left to live - something that was never fully explained in the finished cut of the movie. Not only that but Violet's connection to Six seems so stupid in the movie. Why would she risk everything to save a human child... but wait. What's this in the deleted scenes? Oh, an explanation that Violet was once pregnant but lost her child. Suddenly the child bonding issue makes total sense. So why on earth was it cut from the finished movie?

Yes it's beautiful. Yes it's groundbreaking. But the final edit leaves out so much that you'll be left wondering what on earth is going on - unless you pay attention. And, as this is really only going to appeal to teenagers who want to see some cool acrobatic fighting, the heart of this movie will be totally lost to the majority of viewers.

I heard on the grapevine that the director didn't get the final say on the cut of this movie - that the studio cut it down to a shadow of it's intended self. If that's true I'd wait to see if a Director's Cut is released - one that has a plot... and a plot that actually makes sense at that.

Nick Smithson

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All prices correct at time of going to press.