HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever

Critics live for credits like this: "Directed by Kaos." Thai director Wych Kaosayananda makes his American debut with Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, and proves that he has little control. Okay. Enough cutesy critic stuff. What you want to know is: Do things blow up good?

Despite the presence of enough gasoline to run an Arco for a year, no. Things blow up. They blow up here, there and everywhere. And not a single explosion makes any dramatic impact, though occasionally one forms a yellow fiery backdrop for characters to walk in slow motion. Even then it's a mistake, not just for the cliché, but because it dims the smolder that is Antonio Banderas' sole expression in this film.

Since Banderas isn't much of a hand to hand fighter, he gets to carry a rifle around a lot. We know from Desperado and the upcoming Once Upon A Time In Mexico that he does this well. And yet, Kaos manages to somehow consistently blow the cool of Banderas.

The other person who stands surprisingly well with a gun is Lucy Liu, as the stone cold killer Sever. It's a good thing, too, because when all else fails Kaos in an action sequence, he resorts to having her stand stock still with a machine gun/grenade launcher and slowly, slowly take aim.

Yes, rather than let us get caught up in the kinetic action, Kaos takes everything slowly. Even a motorcycle chase occurs at a sane and sensible thirty miles per hour. When Banderas wipes out on his cycle, Liu politely waits for him to regain control before she continues fleeing. Say what you will about Ecks and Sever; they're terribly courteous enemies.

Except that they're not really enemies, either. In an attempt to make Sever more mysterious, the script by Peter M. Lenkov and Alan B. McElroy throws so many twists into their loyalties that describing who hates who and why could cause spontaneous aneurysms in laboratory rats.

It all has something to do with Gant (Gregg Henry, with all the rubbery expressiveness of a Bogglin). This Aryan mastermind leads some sort of shadow government that may be called the DIA. Early on, the film implies that this organization is American in origin, but it recruits Chinese orphan girls as its assassins (shades of Batgirl!), has a Cockney second in command known as The Prince of Darkness (Ray Park), and apparently has its headquarters in Vancouver. At least the movie has just enough respect for us to admit that Vancouver is actually Vancouver, and not some alternate universe Washington, D.C.

Gant has a seven-year-old son kidnapped by Sever, a rogue DIA agent with an agenda of her own. The FBI brings in Ecks because he's good, and because Sever might also have information on the wife he thought was dead. (Seven years after her death, in a random cellphone sweep, they pick up her voice telling someone that she's going to be late. Add up the clues in this paragraph and figure out another surprising plot complication.)

Sever, too, once had a child, accidentally killed by Gant for reasons never really supplied. At least three characters also previously had other identities. It's like Dynasty with kung fu.

Actually, that's another thing that gets bobbled by this movie, and badly. You don't cast Ray Park for his acting abilities (sorry, Ray). And yet, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever waits until the last ten minutes for the guy to actually throw down and get some action. When he does, the camera manages to always hit just the right angle so that you really can't tell what he did.

At least near the beginning, Lucy Liu gets in some good fighting, proving that she has what it takes to be an action star. This just isn't the movie that will break her through. Seriously, I sat through this movie trying desperately to figure out what superhero she could play, because she would totally kick butt. Perhaps if they age Batgirl a bit?

Later in the movie, she takes on Banderas in some serious hand-to-hand fighting, but the focus switches to the bad guys (or maybe they're not) watching the fight.

Such lapses in logic aren't the worst crimes this movie commits. Time and time again, exposition grinds it to a halt, particularly in a peculiarly emotionless confrontation between Ecks and his ex. Later, this same ex-wife makes sure that she falls right into the villain's hands.

Of course, there's just something weird going on when your heroes stage their final confrontation by luring the bad guys to their own base of operations. Does Batman purposely let The Joker come and mess up the Batcave? (It's an apt comparison - much of Sever's character seems stolen from The Dark Knight.)

To be fair, the commercial for this movie gets a five out of five. But that's a commercial's job. What it covers up is a direct-to-video actioner that somehow suckered in some high-profile talent. If you see it late at night on USA, you'll be satisfied.

Do not run to the theater to see this, and if you have to walk, by all means, please do it in slow motion. You'll look much, much cooler that way.

What's It Worth? $1.50

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites