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Antonio Banderas plays Jeremiah Ecks, a former FBI Agent who quit after the death of his wife in a car bomb. Ecks is spending a quiet night in a bar when an FBI colleague informs him his wife is alive and in return for tracking down mysterious assassin Sever (Lucy Liu), he will be given the location of his wife. Sever isn’t exactly what he is told she is. She is currently in possession of a young boy who is the son of Gant (Gregg Henry), a man who is trying to get his hands on a micro device that can be injected and shut down bodily functions from the inside. How does all this fit together? Who in the world knows?

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Ballistic is a very silly film which hardly makes any sense. Even the title doesn’t make any sense because Ecks and Sever are on the same team! They may believe they are against each other for a short period, but the title for the film is just wrong. The film moves very fast so it is very easy to lose track as to what is going on. There are also more holes here that in Swiss cheese (horrific cliché I know). For starters, Ecks is hired to track Sever, so he sits, pops pills and listens to a radio and as soon as a shot is reported fired he just goes ‘that’s her’ and guess what...he’s right! Huh? Nice tracking skills.

The action sequences are also far from remarkable. The film opens with a head-scratching scene where a group of bodyguards are knocked off by Liu, who seems to just walk casually up to the heavily armed men who for some reason simply don't notice that she is coming. Following that is a sequence where Liu unleashes the big machine guns outside a mall. How is someone standing there firing a gun, then moving a few steps to the left before firing again exciting? Although it is pretty cool when she hijacks a giant rifle on the back of a truck, and a shot of a guy plummeting off a building onto a car is also pretty well done, but otherwise, the action scene are unremarkable with thousands of bullets and unexplained explosions.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
The film also looks like it’s trying not to upset anyone. That really does not work as this movie is full of machine guns and knife fights, yet it is so tame. With all the bullets that went flying in this movie, did anyone ever actually get hit by any of them? With the exception of a few bad guys, everyone seems to just fire at people who don’t die or at least fall down. The only people who do actually get knocked to the ground are those hit in hand-to hand combat scenes. Really, are we supposed to believe that Lucy Liu can unleash several machine gun rounds on an army of bad guys and not actually hit anyone? Everyone in this movie seems to have Star Wars Stormtrooper syndrome.

Also hard to get into are the performances. Lucy Liu isn’t really too bad as her character wasn’t meant to have too much emotion anyway. Watching Antonio Banderas however is an absolute laugh riot. From his opening scene where he tries to interrogate a man in a bar whilst trying to look relaxed and cool is simply funny, and he looks so bored for the rest of the film they could have built a robot that could have had more character. Bad guys Gregg Henry and Ray Park try to be good villains but just look ridiculous. The performances overall are all pretty much terrible.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Funny enough, this film really could have worked. The plot of the miniature weapon is actually not too bad, but thrown into a movie where nothing seems to make sense. So much here is unexplained, like where do the bad guys get their army from? How does Ecks know that if he listens to the radio, Sever will just pop up? How do the bad guys all of a sudden know where Sever’s hangout is? This movie is so silly that you can’t even call it a ‘leave your brain at the door’ flick because you may need your brain to tell you what may have happened in those few minutes where you lost interest, or make up stuff for those gaps the movie has in them.

Ballistic seems to have been made with the best intentions. It seems director Kaosayananda just wanted to make a fun movie. He does not take into account that fun movies also have to make sense otherwise they are not fun. Perhaps this film will work out better for an early teenaged audience who don’t care about coherence and just want to see guns and explosions, because that’s all there is here, guns and unexplained explosions that go off for no reason. Oh, and there are two fairly big stars in it too. If you want a loud movie, you got it. If you want a good loud movie, look somewhere else.

Video
Ballistic is presented in its original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio. This is a very clean and crisp transfer which has virtually nothing wrong with it. The colours are all well separated and very vibrant with some nice blue washes in some scenes. There are no problems with grain or pixilation. Skin tones also look great. There is the occasional strike of the film-artefact which is hardly noticeable, but otherwise, the video transfer is very nice.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Audio
There is only a Dolby Digital 5.1 English track. Much like the video, there isn’t much wrong here. This movie is all guns, crashes and explosions, so each speaker is very well used. The surrounds provide a nice emphasis on all action sequences and the music, but they do remain pretty much dormant in other scenes. The sub is also nicely used in shootouts and car-chases, as well as those bass lines in the music. The audio is nice and clear with all sounds from dialogue to backgrounds being nice and clear. Everything is in sync and there are no clicks, dropouts or anything of that sort. A nice audio experience where it counts.

Extras
First up we have a documentary, which runs at thirteen minutes. There is a short interview with the writer, who talks about how he was thrilled to get the cast he did. The documentary is mostly just cast talking about action sequences they had to take part in with Lucy Liu doing most of the talking. Funny how even she didn’t seem to know where half to explosions were coming from. It’s short and plays out almost like an extended trailer. Make sure you’ve seen the movie before watching this because it gives away pretty much the whole movie.

There is also the film’s trailer, which is very nice, and a list of principal cast and crew. No bios, just a cist. A pretty lame effort here; very unsatisfying indeed.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Overall
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is full of flaws and holes. The film makes so little sense even the title seems to be confused as to who’s on whose side. If you want just a random compilation of action sequences, this may be for you. But if you want a good action movie that you won’t scratch your head all the way through, get pretty much anything else. Despite the poor quality of the film, the DVD is actually very nice with a very nice video transfer and an explosive surround track. Extras are very much neglected here however. Rent it if you’ve seen everything else, otherwise stay away.


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