BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER
Devastated by his beautiful wife’s apparent death in a car bomb explosion, former Defence Intelligence Agent Jeremiah Ecks (Antonio Banderas) drowns his sorrows in a Vancouver bar and resists overtures from his former boss to lure him back into action. Ecks is finally seduced when told that his wife Vinn is still alive and that her son has been kidnapped by Sever (Lucy Liu), a martial arts and weapons expert who is ruthlessly engaged in her own deadly agenda and is gunning for Robert Gant (Gregg Henry), a power crazed sleazebag now married to Vinn and desperate to get his paws on an assassination device that can be implanted into a victim’s body to cause heart attacks.
Review by Keith Lofthouse:
Having read the synopsis you may have given up already and we’re here to tell you that you’ve made a wise choice. This is junk with a capital CRAP, directed by Wych Kayosayananda, a young Thai guy who likes to be known as Kaos…and if you’re curious enough to endure the agony you’ll understand why.
Banderas mopes through this hideous and unintelligible enterprise like a bloodhound with a hangover, while Liu elects to look cool in leather in lieu of a performance. Her single expression never changes, allowing the hapless viewer time to count the many freckles on her frozen face and maybe get to 37 before nodding off.
We are awakened by explosions and fire, fire, fire, rocket launchers, car bombs and sub-machine guns. The bad killers have exactly the same weapons of mass destruction, but of course they are lousy shots even at point blank range and hundreds die so that the good killers shall live. Kaos shoots much of the action in slow-motion and confuses it with “style,” but we’d have much preferred it if he’d set the motion to fast-forward. The film has no humor, no sense and no feeling and its title is the clumsiest in living memory.
It is also the most inaccurate, given that despite appearances, Ecks and Sever are really on the same side. The mandatory car chase is monotonous. It was clearly filmed on separate wet and dry days and is as fake as the travelling scratch on the hero’s cheek. Cliches precipitate like the frequent rain …the little boy clutches a stuffed white bunny, the smarmy one-dimensional villain aims a gun at his enemy and chooses to chin-wag rather than shoot, while the bigamous wife tells hubby number one that “you’re the one I love; I’ll never stop loving you.” Some films, mercifully, go straight to video, but this one shows no mercy.
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BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER (M)
CAST: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Lui, Gregg Henry
PRODUCER: Elie Samaha, Chris Lee, Kaos
DIRECTOR: Wych Kaosayananda
SCRIPT: Alan McElroy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Julio Macat
EDITOR: Jay Cassidy, Caroline Ross
MUSIC: Don Davis
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Doug Higgins
RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 6, 2003