Ballistic: Exks vs. Sever (2002) Kaos

Production Budget: $70 million
Worldwide Gross: $15 million

For crying out loud people!  Why do I do this to myself?  Sometimes I feel like such a movie masochist.  For example, I recently bought two (count em) TWO Scorsese box sets on the cheap and they have about four movies that I haven’t even seen yet.  Yet when it came to decision time for what I was going to see the answer was not “I need to see Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” the answer was “Man, Ballistic looks like complete shit!  I just gotta see how bad this it!”  Another example is that I rented An American Carol from Blockbuster to review it.  I popped the disc in and found the previous owner did me a HUGE favor and swapped the DVD inside for the much superior movie Ray.  Its as if he was saying “No one needs to see this movie.  I’m just going to sacrifice one of my better movies so no one has to be hurt by this turd stain of a movie.”  So what do I do?  I go back to the Blockbuster and GET A NEW COPY!  I went out of my way to watch An American Carol!  What’s next: a Tyler Perry film festival!?

But enough pissing and moaning and let’s get to the movie.  We follow Jeremiah Ecks (Antonio Banderas) an FBI agent whose hit the skids after his wife was blown up in a mob hit.  He is brought back for that infamous “one more job” to hunt down Agent Sever (Lucy Liu).  I find it funny that other plot synopsis list her as an NSA agent when she is called a DIA agent in the film.  Its like the people that wrote the synopsis didn’t even care enough to watch it.  Anyway, Sever has kidnapped a boy carrying a deadly micro-machine inside of it that can cause heart attacks and strokes in its victims, making it “Teh most perfect assassination device evah that is teh total untraceable!”  I personally don’t think a machine you have to deliver by dart gun is completely untraceable as an assassination tool and creates more problems than say poison would do but whatever.  Its one of the many plot holes.  There is also a plot line that maybe Ecks wife isn’t really dead.

First, as Roger Ebert pointed out, why not just call the movie Ballistic?  Why Ballistic Ecks vs. Sever?  Especially since Ecks and Sever work together to beat the greater villain.  I mean, yeah, initially they thought they were against each other but they became reluctant partners.  That’s like renaming Tango and Cash “Demolition: Tango vs. Cash”.  Another little oddity: how does Antonio Banderas and an Asian woman create a blue eyed Aryan baby?  Why is the entire Vancouver police department (Vancouver because its cheaper to shoot in Canada) corrupt?  We have entire squads willing to lay down their lives for…something.  Hell, I don’t know.  The writers don’t give me any motivations for anything.

The acting blows.  This is yet another example of people interpreting stoic and tortured with bored to tears.  The normally fired up Bandaras is hunched over with a sleepy glaze over his eyes and he droooooonnnnnes out his lines like he drank NyQuil and stuffed his mouth with cotton balls before his shots.  Liu similarly just walks around with a deadpan stare and gives a rare three word response to someone like “I’ll kill you” or “Pain don’t hurt”.

I am giving this plot way too much credit though for all I have written.  There are so many plot holes, unstated motivations, and damn confusing sh*t that you think the original plot was simply three words “Blow sh*t up”.  The writing for the action scenes are like a stoner version of Can You Top This.

“Hey, lets have a car jump over five cars and do a somersault through the air!”
“No way man!  Let’s have TWO cars do a somersault through the air at the same time and then blow up!”

You would think that a movie about endless action scenes would at least be mildly interesting but it really doesn’t.  Take one scene where Sever is surrounded by the entire Vancouver police force.  They have SWAT and snipers trained on her position waiting for her to come out.  Sever steps out into the open with her machine gun and proceeds to go all Terminator 2 and shoot all the police cars to pieces.  The police open fire ON A WOMAN STANDING IN THE OPEN and all miss her as she shoots down every police officer.  At the same time the soundtrack blares out annoying Techno music crap.  You would think Bandaras would do some of his exciting moves in Desperado.  WRONG!  The best we can do for him is have him in a static standing position shooting a shotgun.  That’s what I mean about this movie: its just lazy and doesn’t make use of its talent.  The action is not interesting, its stupid and with the music it gives you a headache.  The rest of the movie is an endless string of explosions and bad techno.

Is this movie worth watching?  Hell no.  Is this even watching in a “So bad its good” sense?  Hell no.  It doesn’t have the hammy acting or ambitiously bad writing you would expect from say an Uwe Boll movie to make it fodder for MST mockery.  Ballistic is just loud, dumb, and dull.  And I had to waste a Netflix on this f*cking movie.

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