Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever

Warning! Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is not a movie. It is a merely a long action sequence full of bullets, explosions and death, punctuated by random moments of relative calm. Saying that it has a story is a gross exaggeration. Ballistic is all about style over substance, with the style part not that stylish. In an attempt to make it interesting, director Kaos (aka Wych Kaosayannanda, Fah) and writer Alan McElroy (Layover, Left Behind) sat down and said "hmm, action movies are not about the story, but about the action, so let's take out as much dialogue as possible!" The result is that Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu barely say anything throughout the course of the film. One action sequence gives way to another, all blending together like some really bad puree.

Naming the movie "Ecks vs. Sever" is not quite accurate, since for most of the movie, the two agents are working together. Jeremiah Ecks (Banderas, Spy Kids 2, Original Sin) is an FBI Agent who believes his wife was murdered over a decade ago. Sever (Liu, Charlie's Angels, Shanghai Noon) doesn't have a first name, and is a rogue agent of the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). She wants revenge against DIA boss Robert Gant (Gregg Henry, Southlander, Payback), who did something to her family. Gant also happened to marry Rayne (Talisa Soto, Pinero, Flight of Fancy), who just happens to be Ecks' wife, who believes he was murdered over a decade ago. Sever kidnapped Gant's son, who is carrying some nanotechnology that enables someone to, in essence, kill by remote control. Gant wants this technology back, and Ecks becomes involved when he learns that somebody in this large mess knows something about his wife.

The story (if one could call it that) is convoluted and full of holes. The fact that there is so little dialogue only makes any of the inane stuff that actually comes out of the actors mouths seem worse than it would be. Kaos is an appropriate name for the director, since that is what the movie is. Ecks' and Sever's motivations never make much sense, and Gant's even less. By focusing completely on the action, Kaos neglects any sort of character development at all. If anything, Banderas and Liu look silly just scowling and shooting constantly. Some of the scenes have some interesting fight choreography, but Kaos insists on overkill, opting for too many bullets, explosions, and taking everything a couple degrees more than it needs to go. Backlit shots, smoke, fire, and thumping techno music are nearly always on scene. Banderas walks around in a trench coat with an unshaven face and strands of hair sticking out haphazardly. Liu goes for the sunglasses and black leather, turning her head so that her hair swooshes in an arc like in some shampoo commercial. It's all ridiculous. It also brings to mind KAOS from the classic show Get Smart, which also concerned itself with spies. It's not a good sign when the movie is so loud that it is dull, and causes the mind to constantly wander Maxwell Smart, his shoe phone and Agent 99.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated R for strong violence.

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