Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, Ray Park
Directed By:
Wych Kaosayananda

Where do I begin? Ecks vs. Sever is the first, and hopefully last, American made feature film by director "Kaos" (Wych Kaosayananda, famous for making the highest-budgeted film in the history of Thailand, Fah). It stars Antonio Banderas as agent Ecks; a former FBI agent who quit after his wife was killed in a car explosion 7 years ago. Lucy Liu is agent Sever, a former DIA operative who goes rogue when her boss, Robert Gant, kills her family. She has kidnapped Gant's son, and agent Ecks is asked to re-join the FBI to find agent Sever and Gant's son. Agent Ecks' won't help though, until his former boss claims to have proof that his wife isn't actually dead, but will only give him that info if he helps their case. Confused yet? It gets worse. Inside the son is a microscopic robot that can be injected into someone's bloodstream, then inject a serum that can cause a heart attack (redundant, eh?). Mr. Gant wants that robot back, because he believes it will be the ultimate assassin, devoid of all emotion, or some such nonsense. Antonio Banderas soon finds out that his wife is still alive, but married to Gant, and the son in question is actually his. He decides to join Lucy Liu to once and for all end this nightmarish plot, but unfortunately that isn't until the last 20 minutes of the film.

But lets forget about plot for a minute, no one goes to an action movie for plot, right? We go to see bullets flying, cars exploding, and cool martial arts scenes! Unfortunately, Ecks vs. Sever comes up lacking in the action department as well. Each action scene in the film is completely devoid of any, well, action. We see tons of bullets fly, lots of glass crashing down, slow-mo pyrotechnics and shell casings ejecting, all set to a thumping techno soundtrack, but it's lifeless, emotionless and boring. The car/motorcycle chase is the least thrilling chase scene I have seen in almost any film. Even what should have been the most promising fight scene (Lucy Liu vs. Ray Park) is wasted; you really don't care who wins, just that the damn scene ends.

Overall, there are only two scenes worth seeing in this movie. One involves a S.W.A.T. team member falling from the top of a building down onto a car, the camera following the stuntman throughout the entire fall and the crash onto the car below. It's a very well done shot, making you wonder how they did it without killing the stuntman in the process. The other scene is the end credits, letting you know that the movie is finally, mercifully, over. There is no sense of urgency in this film, Gant is a horrible villain, and you never actually care about anything that happens to anyone. Even if you are a huge fan of action films (as I am), you will find little to enjoy in Ecks vs. Sever. Wait until video to see this, or at the most catch a matinee show.

- - Darken Rahl

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