Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever

Ballistic: Ecks vs. SeverStarring:
Antonio Banderas as Jeremiah Ecks
Lucy Liu as Sever
Gregg Henry as Gant/Clark
Ray Park as Ross
Talisa Soto as Vinn/Rayne
Miguel Sandoval as Julio Martin
Terry Chen as Harry
Roger R. Cross as Zane
Sandrine Holt as Agent Bennet
Steve Bacic as Agent Fleming
Aidan Drummond as Michael
Eric Breker as Agent Curtis
Tony Alcantar as Edgar Moore

Summary:
“Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever” is a mindless 91-minute reel of explosions, slow motion and characters who you could care less for.

The Story:
A new assassination device has surfaced in the secret agent world. Microscopic and injectable, it lies dormant inside its victim until activated and then kills in an instant, leaving no trace. In the frantic race to obtain this device, only two individuals, sworn enemies, have the skill, talent and tenacity to succeed. One is an agent known only by the code name Sever (Liu). Lethally trained to be the perfect weapon, Sever is precise and relentless in her pursuit of a goal. The other is the brilliant and determined former FBI man-hunter Jeremiah Ecks (Banderas). Once preeminent in his field, Ecks resigned from the agency when his wife was killed in an explosion that left him a guilt-ridden emotional shell of himself. Now, forced back into service by his former mentor for the most challenging assignment of his career, Ecks prepares to face off against agent Sever, but when the rules change the two agents will have to work together.

What Worked:
This should be director Kaos’ first and last English action feature, even though it won’t be, but besides that there were a couple of things worth looking at in this film.

For starters, Lucy Liu’s mysterious character Sever was pretty interesting. Although she didn’t have too many lines, when she was on-screen Sever did everything very precise – no mistakes – and was able to make it through some incredible fights. It reminded me a bit of Liu in “Charlie’s Angels,” just cut about 90% of the dialogue.

The fighting was nicely choreographed. There’s several scenes where Lucy Liu faces off with Antonio Banderas and one with Ray Park that was particularly interesting. Having talked to Lucy Liu, these fights took quite a bit of training and it’s good to see that paid off in the film.

What Didn’t Work:
“Ballistic” is Franchise Pictures, Warner Bros. & director Kaos’ excuse to blow up everything from cars, buildings, train cars and more. It seemed as if about one-third of the film is spent on explosions, watching the fire of those explosions and then some. It got old real quick. How about letting the agents and bad guys do some other clever things besides just blowing everything up, or is that all they’re trained to do?

Another thing that was painful to watch was the slow-motion used in a ton of scenes. We see Ecks walking in slow motion, Ecks & his wife running in slow motion, Sever firing guns in slow motion, cars blown up into the air in slow motion. Come on, we get the idea, spent some more time on the plot. I found myself checking my watch several times which appeared to be in slow motion as well.

Peter M. Lenkov and Alan McElroy’s script really hurt this film. You don’t care about the characters at all, and the characters don’t really have much to do other than fight and, again, blow stuff up. Antonio Banderas just stands around the whole movie and the villains, played by Greg Henry and Ray Park, are just boring. If this mindless stuff is your cup of tea, then go right ahead and pay to see it in theaters.

I really had a problem with the music in “Ballistic”. Running this site and posting trailers on a daily basis I couldn’t help but notice that several key action sequences featured music from such things as songs used in “Spider-Man” trailers over a year ago. Granted, this music was not actually from “Spider-Man”, but the tunes are well-known now and it just sounded odd having them rehashed. Don Davis’ score was also nothing to write home about, nothing like the great work he’s done on films like “The Matrix” and “Behind Enemy Lines”.

Bottom Line:
I would recommend this film as more of a renter, some of the action scenes are fun but that about wraps up this movie.

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