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Ultraviolet: Unrated Extended Cut

In the near future, a new disease is introduced to the world's population that turns its victims into "Hemophages." These hemophages have accelerated healing capabilities, are inordinately strong, grow fangs, need constant blood transfusions, and die after 12 years of infection (to the point that it can be timed). They've also been quarantined by the government and targeted for extermination. Violet (Milla Jovovich) was infected 12 years ago and has joined the underground hemophage resistance, mostly because the government took away her baby. Her latest assignment is to get a weapon away from the government: a device that threatens to destroy all of her people. It turns out the device is not a bomb, but a boy named Six (Cameron Bright), who might possibly hold the cure to the disease. But once she discovers what it is, both the government (led by Nick Chinlund), and the hemophages want her and the boy dead. In Kurt Wimmer's 2006 film Ultraviolet, all of this could be a fairly compelling narrative, but the end result is very beautiful nonsense that's redeemed by some repetitive but well-cut set pieces. The mechanics of the narrative are present enough to be followed, but the film seems stripped down to the point that the numerous crosses and double-crosses become nearly comic in their proliferation (such may be why the title sat in cans for over a year). That noted, the plot mostly serves as an engine to get to the next sequence where Violet takes on a room full of guys. Perhaps it was always a sci-fi jumble (there's lifts from Blade Runner, The Matrix and Wimmer's earlier Equilibrium in good measure), but the movie feels cut down to its core kick-ass elements. These series of set pieces do show Wimmer to be one of the best American action directors. He's also got a good eye: Even in the non-action beats, the film offers a gorgeous CG-rendered universe that is non-stop eye candy. In fact, what it most resembles is a early-'90s Hong King action picture in the way that some of the best Hong Kong films felt loopy and delirious (and it's not all that shocking the project was shot there). Jovovich makes for an acceptable ass-kicker whose hair and clothes change color on whims, and the choreography is top notch. This one might have even been a great guilty pleasure action flick, if it just made a little bit more sense. Sony's "Unrated Extended Edition" DVD release of Ultraviolet offers a solid anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include a commentary by star Jovovich, who offers long pauses and mentions that her two dogs are in the recording studio with her, and a "making-of" documentary (31 min.). Bonus trailers, keep-case.
—DSH



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