Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever

"Unbearable"

Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever Review


Pay good money to see Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever and you have nobody but yourself to blame. The signs, after all, shine so bright in warning you about this waste of brain cells that Stevie Wonder sent me an e-mail earlier this week telling me Ballistic would stink on ice.

Heck, even Stevie Wonder jokes are fresher than the Ballistic script. Blessed with the most ridiculous title in recent memory, Ballistic pits icy cool Antonio Banderas against smoldering hot Lucy Liu and watches the sparks fly. And fly. Then explode. And then fly some more. Liu, as rogue DIA agent Sever, kidnaps a child who's unknowingly carrying the latest invention of an unidentified shadow government. The device turns soldiers into flawless assassins. Eager to get their own hands on the device, the FBI blackmails former agent Jeremiah Ecks (Banderas) into stopping Sever and retrieving the boy.

First-time director Wych Kaosayananda prefers to go by the shortened Kaos. It's pronounced "chaos," and now we know why. Someone test this man for attention deficit disorder, for he can't go ten minutes without destroying something. And not just lighting it up ... I mean full on decimation. Ballistic has three or four unrelated, pre-planned action set pieces, and screenwriter Alan McElroy receives the thankless task of connecting them with the thinnest of plot threads. Needless to say, he doesn't do a very good job.

Not that I was expecting a Jane Austen period romance, but a little plot with my C4 goes a long, long way. Kaos does avoid using tired Matrix gimmicks to spice up his action, preferring an old fashioned slow motion shot. These almost provide Ballistic with a quaint retro feel characteristic of international spy thrillers circa 1975, when burned out heroes banished to rain-soaked foreign locales (really Vancouver) raced against a gaggle of anonymous government cells to save the planet.

Few actors could pull off Ecks, and Banderas reminds us that he's one of them. Played like the evil twin to Gregorio Cortez from the Spy Kids franchise, Banderas buries every other line of dialogue underneath a wet blanket of boredom and disdain. He's the lone treat in Ballistic, but even he grows tiresome before long. Liu never breaks a sweat or shows emotion, making it difficult to care about her existence. In addition, her backstory takes a back seat to Ecks' history, even though his makes less sense as the movie moves along. References are made to a family she lost, but we're never sure how or why.

Ballistic also needs better baddies. Roger R. Cross, playing the criminal mastermind behind the convoluted central scam, is a poor man's Gary Busey, who's a poor man's Robert Mitchum himself. And Ray Park without any sort of make-up just isn't scary. Girls could kick his tail, and in Ballistic, a girl does.

It's impossible to single out the one or two things that went wrong with this masochistic game of one-upmanship between the director and his inner demon. In reality, nothing works. Thirty minutes into Ballistic, I scratched my head at the muddled plot and stuck my fingers in my ears. Sixty minutes in, I wanted to pull Kaos' well-worn copy of Hard Boiled out of his VCR and beat him senseless with it. After ninety minutes, it was time to leave. One more minute and I would have gone ballistic myself.

If you really want to try your patience, check out the bonus feature on the Ballistic DVD: an Ecks vs. Sever version of rock-scissors-paper! Yes, now there's a way to settle those bar bets, civilized-style.

Feel Antonio's close shave!



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $19.9M

Budget: $70M

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures, Franchise Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Wych Kaosayananda

Starring: as Agent Jeremiah Ecks, as Agent Sever, as Robert Gant, as A.J. Ross, as Rayne Gant

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.