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Jonathan Ecks, an FBI agent, realizes that he must join with his lifelong enemy, Agent Sever, a rogue DIA agent with whom he is in mortal combat, in order to defeat a common enemy. That enemy has developed a "micro-device" that can be injected into victims in order to kill them at will. Written by
"It's the ultimate in infiltration. The maximum in lethalness." According to the blurb on the back of the box, anyway, and assuming you're a 14 year-old boy with blood lust and still miss watching Neo and Morpheus in "The Matrix" then chances are, you're interested. The rest of you will be wondering if "lethalness" is actually a word but in a strange way, it perfectly sums up this wretched action movie. It promises much but is actually a disappointingly childish mess of a movie, offering little in the way of originality, plot, acting or excitement. Should have paid more attention to the lack of positive quotes from other reviewers on the back instead.
Antonio Banderas plays Jeremiah Ecks, a washed-up FBI agent recruited back into the fold after being persuaded that his long-dead wife is actually alive (best not to dwell on the details too much). His mission: to track down the rogue DIA agent Sever (Lucy Liu) who has kidnapped a small boy unknowingly carrying a prototype nanobot assassin. But as the body count rises and the explosive set pieces get ever noisier, they realise they must work together to defeat the sinister Robert Gant (Gregg Henry) who has played both off against each other. You, meanwhile, struggle to fight the forces of boredom...
It may well be "a bullet-ballet of action" (according to the box) but "Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever" is a shockingly bad admission to the overcrowded action genre. Despite the blink-and-you'll-miss-it duration and the frequent kabooms of carefully planned explosions, it's actually rather boring. The plot gets needlessly complicated between the gun fights, like "Eastenders" with an AK47, and what little story is there is ruined by performances that can only be called "crap". Banderas does little more than mumble like Michael Madsen whereas Liu hardly has any lines at all. Not so bad if she was wearing a Trinity-style cat-suit but she ain't! This film badly wants to be "The Matrix", even slowing down the action to be modern and funky. But it slows down the wrong stuff - people running through puddles is not exciting, no matter how slow it is! I really am struggling to think of something to like about this film and excluding a 15-second shot of a guy falling to his death in slow-mo that's kinda cool, I can't think of anything. So that's 15 seconds worth watching out of a movie that lasts 90 minutes or so. Or, if you prefer, slightly less than 0.25% of this movie is cool. The rest is absolute proof that big names can still make real, horrendous clunkers.
I'm trying to find the phone number for Trading Standard because, quoting the box again, this isn't anything like the "furiously entertaining all-action ride" I was promised. It may have "wall-shredding street battles" (which means what, exactly?) and "a steel-and-fire rain of boxcars" (again, what now?) but that doesn't stop "Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever" from being a disgracefully bad film. I personally blame director and "Hollywood first-timer" Kaos for allowing what might have been a half-decent movie to descend into a teenage boy's fantasy film but even they will struggle to enjoy this. It's boring, poorly made and ultimately... well, it's rubbish. Given a choice between this and "The Matrix", I'd rather roll naked across broken glass dipped in Tabasco sauce than watch this embarrassing film again. But here's a tip - when I took this back to Blockbusters today in exchange for credit, they told me that due to a high volume of trading, only DVDs of a certain value were being accepted and all others were being destroyed. They didn't say how - I have a mental picture involving an industrial furnace and a bulldozer - but take your copy in and have them reduce the disc to its component atoms! Trust me, that's all this film is worth.
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