IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Ultraviolet’ is a lightweight thriller to skip

One of the worst films of the year thus far
/ Source: The Associated Press

Another Friday, another abominable movie that wasn’t screened for critics before it opens.

Seemed like it couldn’t get much worse this year, following “Grandma’s Boy,” “Underworld Evolution,” “When a Stranger Calls” and “Doogal.”

But it has. And it’s called “Ultraviolet.”

The movie is intended — and we’re not making this up — as a futuristic, comic-book re-envisioning of the 1980 John Cassavetes film “Gloria.” It is overstyled, deafening and incoherent.

Milla Jovovich stars as Violet, an angry young woman who’s lost her husband and her baby after being infected with a blood disease. This has turned her into a “hemophage.” Or a vampire, or something. Whatever it is, it’s made her and others like her a target for the pureblooded humans, led by the obsessive-compulsive government honcho Daxus (Nick Chinlund). And it’s given her mind-bogglingly complex martial-arts skills.

Writer-director Kurt Wimmer, also responsible for the visually and thematically similar “Equilibrium” from 2002, says he created the role with Jovovich in mind. The L’Oreal spokeswoman is admittedly a spectacle to behold in her low-slung pants and perfect lip gloss — but she’s impossible to take seriously.

Anyway, Violet’s maternal instincts compel her to protect a young boy named Six (Cameron Bright) who’s actually a clone designed as a weapon that could wipe out all of humankind. Or something.

With his moon-shaped face and enormous blue eyes, Bright possesses an otherworldly look appropriate for the role. But he’s also a really poised, intelligent young actor, much more so than “Ultraviolet” would indicate. He more than held his own with Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall in 2004’s “Birth”; you should also check him out later this month as Aaron Eckhart’s son in the hilarious “Thank You For Smoking.”

Violet drags Six around as she brawls with government thugs, twists and flips through the air in slow motion — something we’ve all seen so many times before — dodges bullets and fires off untold amounts of her own. Watching scene after scene of her taking on dozens of men at once, with techno music pounding in the background, quickly becomes repetitive. It’s also dreadfully self-serious, with none of the self-knowing sense of humor that made similar sequences in the “Kill Bill” movies so much more fun.

“Ultraviolet” wants desperately to be a provocative, high-concept action thriller. It is apparently trying to say something about fear and terrorism, paranoia and racism. But it looks more like a shampoo commercial.