Michael described it best: an hour-and-a-half-long German techno video with badly translated Japanese one-liners for dialogue.
Seriously, that was the worst movie I have ever seen.
I’m not sure I can convey the badness, but in the interest of saving you all the price of a ticket, here’s a recap.
The movie starts with some lovely animated establishing shots and an unnecessarily long voiceover. Five bowling balls fly out of a stealth plane and roll into a highly secure facility, where they unroll into armored soldiers, whip out their swords, and begin tearing up the place. No, I don’t know how you store a sword inside a bowling ball. After killing everyone in sight, they converge in a rotunda, where they are surrounded and picked off by faceless men in black. Ooh. It was a trap.
Milla Jovovich’s abs, accompanied by her ass, break into a highly secure facility guarded by faceless men in black so that she can recover a case that looks like it might be either a clamshell iBook or a futuristic bedpan, or possibly both. She’s informed that she is under no circumstances to look inside the case, so of course when she’s dispatched a sufficient number of faceless men in black, she does. What’s inside? A twelve-year old boy. No, I don’t know how you store a twelve-year-old boy inside a bedpan, but that’s beside the point.
What’s the point, you ask? Why, the boy’s a weapon! Or, he might be merely the son of the powerful dude who seems to own these highly secure facilities. Or, he might be neither. But at this point we’re already so confused that it really doesn’t matter; the real point is that both the vampires and the humans want him.
Did I mention there are vampires in this? And Milla’s one of them. It’s a disease. Which might have a cure. Or not. But never mind. Look! Her hair and her jacket are changing colors for no discernable reason! I think the pretty colors are supposed to distract us from the incoherent script, but it’s not working. And the Sky Captain-style post-processing is just making everything look blurry. Although her gravity-defying gizmo would be kind of neat, if it made the slightest bit of sense.
Onward. Milla spends the next twenty minutes alternately dragging the kid around by one arm through improbably crowded places and bonding with him by the gentle glow of fireworks. And if that sounds corny, I’ve been far too generous to this portion of the film.
She introduces him to William Fichtner, who deserves better. He stumbles over some heavy-duty exposition, and fails to deliver the longing looks that would set up the romantic subplot that will be thrown at us later. Ah, William. You were so good in Contact! What the hell happened?
The boy has a tracking device on him! Or in him. Or something. Oh noes! Off they go, because William Fichtner is doing some unexplained but Very Important work and they can’t let the humans find him. Whatever. Milla and the kid are on the run again. She takes him to yet another improbably crowded place, whose purpose is vague (is it a mall? a train station?), and sends him off to buy snacks with her credit card. He knows she’s really just ditching him, though, and says “goodbye” in what I think was supposed to be a forlorn voice.
Of course, she has a change of heart and goes back to get him. Because he only has nine hours to live! And they should be joyful ones! Or something. I’m not clear on why she was ditching him in the first place. But they go play around on a merry-go-round, and of course after having a great time for fifteen seconds he falls over in the grass and dies. Milla cries over him as black helicopters hover and faceless men in black, plus Powerful Dude, arrive to take his body. Oh, and they shoot Milla as they leave.
But it’s OK! Because William Fichtner is a kick-ass surgeon and brings her back to life. But wait! She wanted to die! Why did he bring her back? “Isn’t it obvious?” he wails. Well, no, William, you failed to sell that subplot, remember? Not that I blame you, given the script you’re working with here.
Some video footage of Milla and the kid ends up on television, and this gives her the will to live again. Let’s agree to just go with it at this point rather than try to make sense of it.
She gets dressed up to break into an even more highly secured facility than the ones we’ve already seen her break into. Sigh. There is a faintly amusing moment when she walks through the metal (or whatever) detector and the computer says in a sort of surprised voice, “Weapons… many!” Oh, wait. They lifted that from The Matrix. Never mind.
Milla dispatches the faceless men in black in a lobby sequence we don’t even get to see, then proceeds to the Powerful Dude’s inner sanctum, where some guy in a hazmat suit is about to take a buzzsaw to the frozen corpse of the kid. Milla, of course, dispatches with everyone in the room without breaking a sweat, in the movie’s fifteenth fight sequence whose choreography wasn’t even close to looking believable… and then she turns to face… DUN DUN DUN… Powerful Dude. Who pulls a sword out of his ass and squares off.
The ensuing fight is so ludicrous that I’m going to skip to the part where she flicks some of her blood onto his face. He pauses and says something to the effect of, “you have infected me with the disease!” And then he intones, “It. Is. ON.“
At which point every single person in the theater burst out laughing.
Then he turns out the lights, because… oh noes! He was already a vampire! And most of them can see in the dark, but Milla’s adaptation left her “only mildly photosensitive.” So she can’t see what he’s doing, until she taps her sword on the floor to make it burst into flame.
I wish I were kidding.
So of course his sword catches fire as they fight, because don’t your metal objects burst into flame with no fuel source? And of course, even though he seems to be winning, eventually his entire body catches fire. This allows Milla to slice him in half vertically, starting with the crotch. I wonder if that would hurt less than sitting through the rest of this film?
Milla carries the kid onto the roof, and not only has he thawed out during the fight, but he can now be awakened just by the sound of someone’s voice. Turns out he wasn’t dead; Milla’s tears infected him with the vampire virus back at the playground, and now’s he’s like her. Or something.
We were stunned into silence (punctuated by bursts of giggling) through most of the credits. By the time we regained our powers of speech, the logos of various companies were rolling by. Michael intoned, “and these are the companies that would like to apologize for this movie,” which set us off again.
If you appreciate Milla Jovovich’s body, it might be possible to enjoy this film by renting the DVD and watching it with the sound off and your techno MP3 collection blaring in the background while you do something productive, like picking the gunk out from beneath your toenails. Maybe. But why bother when you and I both know that you already own The Fifth Element? And if you don’t, you can buy it for a lot less than it’ll cost you to see Ultraviolet in a theater.