Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever

A Film Review By Michael Haley

Rating:R for lots of pretty pictures of things going ka-blooey. 
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Lieu, Ray Park, Taliso Soto, Terry Chen. 
Directed By:Kaos (or Wych Kaosayananda, whichever you prefer.) 

Final Grade: 

I’ve always been an avid reader of Roger Ebert’s film reviews, and when good ol’ Gene Siskel was alive, enjoyed listening to the two critics’ bickering. Somewhere throughout the years I ran across Siskel’s question to ask of every film, and that is “Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the filmmaker’s eating lunch?” Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, although Jackass: The Movie would have been a more appropriate title, is a colossal failure on every level, and makes Kaos’ eating habits seem like Citizen Kane in comparison.

he film stars Antonio Banderas as Ecks, a retired FBI agent, who’s had it with the business (sound familiar?) He mourns the death of his wife and chain smokes, drinks, and a bunch of other stuff that comes straight from film noir (and brutally rapes film noir in the process). He’s brought back in, and has to look for Agent Sever (Lieu) and kill her or something. Kaos never really gives us a clear cut reason, or even an abstract one. After the first half full of car crashes, bullets fired, and pointless destruction, we find that Eck’s wife is alive (and thought that he was dead, in a ridiculous flashback) and remarried to the villain who wants Sever dead so he can have his kid back. I neglected to mention the kid earlier, to give you a sense of how jerky the plot is. Then the second half begins, and proceeds exactly as the first. I won’t tell you how it all turns out, but hopefully, you won’t care.

’m going to be honest here…Ballistic is one of the worst movies of the year, and a hot, steaming pile of one hundred percent grade A bullshit. It’s one of the worst action movies ever made, and that’s saying something. It’s one of the sorriest excuses for film ever produced, and you will not only be dumber after viewing this, but $7 short as well, not counting snack money. So why is this thing so horrible? Surely Antonio and Lucy, fairly big stars with noticeable appeal, could recognize such an awful script (that took three people, Kaos among them, to write!) had no potential? That the lines are purely expository with no character development, drama, comedy, or intelligence? To make matters worse, it has some of the worse exposition uttered thus far in an action flick. The gifted writers crank out such sparkling dialogue as “Run,” “She’s not a killer, she’s a mother” (after she kills countless people) and “We need to find her!” Director Kaos lives up to his name by giving us nothing but brutal carnage with no purpose, and fails to make his action even remotely entertaining. The real kicker is that Antonio and Talisa Soto, whom are both of foreign descent, somehow make a kid who’s a 100% white All-American.

I’m getting sick of reviewing the film itself, because it doesn’t work as anything and is giving me a headache thinking about it. No, my question to the audience is “Why do you continue to patronize this crap?” Countless people are blown to bits and die horrible deaths in the film, but not Ecks or Sever, whom survive every fight with “style”…why is this entertaining? The cityscape, inhabitants, and honest members of law enforcement are all sacrificed in the name of entertainment. Dammit, I’m sick of this people. This film doesn’t give a damn about these characters, their lives, or the lives they are destroying at the moment…Sever’s got a brand new, high-tech missile she just gots to fire! Kaos merely uses everyone and everything as tools to achieve something that’s going to be “cool,” which not only fails as being hip and cool, but fails on a human level. Why are honest films like Frailty or One Hour Photo cited as being “creepy” and “disturbing” while the American public swallows this tripe down their throats, when the characters are more violent, more chaotic, and mass murderers? Because Antonio’s too sexy! And Lucy kicks ass girl style!

I’m not saying violence should disappear from film, but only the callow attitudes that inspire it. While Kaos gets so excited about a shot that follows a guy as he plummets from a rooftop and falls into the top of a car, no one in the audience even cares to think that “Wow, someone just died,” because Kaos doesn’t allow them to care…it’s cool! It’s exciting! Not only is this ironic (assuming Kaos knows what irony means) detachment from reality completely ridiculous, but naïve as well. Don’t give us movies from a director who doesn’t care about the people, not characters, he is filming, and whom is more concerned on whether or not the shot has substance before style.

I know what you’re probably thinking…“Lighten up, dude, it’s just an action movie. You knew what you were getting, and this movie delivered. All that death rocked man.” First off, there are action films that are better than this…Face/Off and True Lies come to mind…simply because they take the time to give us people instead of failed hipness. However, I say to those of you for which this is just another “harmless action movie”…this film is basically about mass murderers who love to blow things up, apparently because they can. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE to waste your time on this movie, regardless of how many things you thought looked good in the preview, or if you liked a star or whatever. The film is an abhorrent, ridiculous, vapid failure, and doesn’t deserve your time, thought, or amusement. It makes Serving Sara, which also got a failing grade from me, look respectable. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever gets only one thing right…it ends. 

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