Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 31: Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever (2002)

R, 1 hr. 31 min. Directed by: Wych Kaosayananda. Release Date: September 20, 2002. DVD Release Date: December 24, 2002. 

Regulating my sleep schedule has been a problem for several months now. I streamed this movie at about 1:30 this morning, after about two hours of staring at my ceiling in an attempt to fall asleep. I saw this movie several years ago and knew full well that this had the potential to stupefy me to sleep. In this case, that didn't happen, so I ended up watching this whole and several episodes of Farscape before I finally started to drift off as the light from my windows changed to gray. The real fun is that I'll probably go through the same routine tonight, even though I'm currently operating on about three hours sleep.

That is how I celebrated the end of the first month of this project with such a lackluster movie. January's been fun. I've seen a few good movies and quite few bad ones. What's surprised me is the number of movies that I assumed would be terrible that just… weren't. Hopefully, February will provide more entertainment and fewer bad flicks.

My first problem with this movie comes straight from the title. None of it seems to apply. While lots of bullets are haphazardly fired by just about everyone in the cast, there is no discussion of ballistics. A man who sounds (and looks) like Antonio Banderas is probably not going to be named Jeremiah Ecks, which in my mind seems to smack of Germanic breeding, not Latin. "Sever" is the moniker given to a woman who uses a bladed weapon for approximately 20 seconds and severs absolutely nothing. Even the versus is questionable, since there's only conflict between these two for a few minutes. This is only the first problem I had with Ballistic; there are more forthcoming.

Now, if you're a fan of mindless action sequences in which Lucy Liu looks crazy hot and Antonio Banderas looks middle aged and as if he's getting slightly pudgier as the story warbles around aimlessly in the background, then you might just like this, because, well, all of those things happen for approximately 75 minutes. There are a few decent explosions and some pretty nice action sequences. The bent on these sequences seems to be that despite the implications of the word "ballistic," no one having been trained by a super secret government agency can shoot. I've played Duck Hunt a time or two and I could have accidentally hit more people with an automatic weapon than these field operatives managed to hit after time to aim. There is SOME attempt to do fight choreography, and it's enough that between this piece of crap and the slightly more effective Charlie's Angels franchise, that I'm half convinced that Lucy Liu is part ninja.

This could have been halfway decent. Someone could have added twenty minutes of back story to provide a decent setting for the actions going on in the film's present. But, that might require so much as a half-hearted attempt to cobble together a cohesive story. It does generally take more than explosions and badly choreographed twists and red herrings.