Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever (2002), or Assaulted By Boredom

4 10 2009

Does anybody vaguely remember this film? Anybody? The trailer ran rampant in the ’02 cable television schedule right up until the release, promising some sort of divine action movie sent from on-high that angels created for the explosions-and-car-chases crowd. I remember looking at the trailer and saying, with the sarcasm of a teenager, “Eh…”. But now that I’m a man, lifting heavy things, bathing in cologne and musk to mask the scent of slow decay, and taping wigs all over my body so that my hair loss will not be so dramatic when it happens, I looked on the internet’s amazing milestone of what’s considered bad for this generation, the Rotten Tomatoes Worst of the Worst: The Worst 100 Movies of the Decade, to see that long-forgotten Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever topped the list somehow. A flicker in my brain erupted into a blanket of light, and suddenly it occurred to me that perhaps I might need to watch this to truly ascertain its bad-itude.

And indeed, after sitting through this wretched piece of Canadian baloney, I can certainly say that this one was the weakest titles to come out of the ’00s, I couldn’t see anything that would lead me to believe I was watching the worst movie of the decade. If anything, it’s probably the most boring film on the list, and that’s damn impressive when considering this is supposed to be an action movie. Let me put it like this; I’ve seen The Adventures of Pluto Nash, sir, and this is no The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

It’s about two secret agents who want to kill each other but find that they share a common enemy. Agent Ecks (?!?!), who comes out of retirement for this special assignment, is tasked by the FBI to find the missing son of a man named Robert Gant, who is the head of the DIA, or the Defense Intelligence Agency. Ecks discovers that missing son Michael was kidnapped by former DIA agent Sever, who wants revenge on Gant for killing her son in a failed raid. And he discovers that Gant has gone rogue, and has his own agenda, because he had developed a super-espionage weapon that could threaten the world’s security. And he ALSO learns that his wife, who he thought was dead, is actually alive and is married to Gant, who set up a double fake-death so that Ecks and his wife would believe the other had died, even going so far as to hold double fake closed-casket funerals (!!!). AND HE ALSO LEARNS THAT MICHAEL, THE MISSING SON, HOLDS THE KEY TO THE SUPER WEAPON… IN HIS BLOOD STREAM!!!!!

He learns a lot of stuff! But once that part is over, it’s all about Ecks and Sever, two agents with two opposite agendas, kicking and shooting the hell out of each other for the possession of Michael Gant and the chance to kill/apprehend his father. There’s a bevvy of fights between the two, and while I’m not sure about the meaning of “Ballistic“, they sure nailed the “Ecks Vs. Sever” aspect of this.

Boy, that sounds fun, huh? What do you mean it doesn’t? Well, honestly, you’re right, because it’s zero fun. It is boring. It is the epitome of dullness. The film is shot in the spectrum of navy-blue to shit-brown, which didn’t help to ease my spirits. The principal actors, Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu, who play Ecks Vs. Sever respectively, displayed a pitiful range; if they weren’t having “intense” secret agent relay conversations or shooting at something, they’re useless. I wouldn’t even call that one-note; that’s half-note acting, or, as I like to call it, “the check has cleared so I don’t really need to worry about how good I am” acting. And the music is an insipid and texture-less mix of “dunh-dunh-dunh-DUNH-DUNH” action score nonsense and alternative hits from 2002 like Crystal Method’s immensely over-played “Name of the Game” that should have gone on a compilation called “Songs To Blow Shit Up To Volume 5”.

The writing is passively dumb, but it boggles the mind the more one thinks about it. Everyone likes to bring up the fact that the FBI is featured here doing large-scale operations, and yet this takes place in Canada. Oops! I don’t know who dropped the ball on that one, but I think that MIGHT be an international incident waiting to happen. And other logic problems arise from this scenario, the most striking for me being the whole double closed-casket funeral idea. Isn’t that just a LITTLE complicated? I know he works for the government, and its in his nature to over-complicate the situation at times, but blowing up two cars at two different times and faking two funerals just to get his hands on Mrs. Ecks? Couldn’t he have just faked a mugging and bludgeoned the guy to death in an alleyway during his morning jog to the park? This stuff is just superfluous, unnecessary, and just downright odd. Just like the name Ecks. You mean X? Can spelling out the sound a letter makes be technically considered a name? If so, I’m totally changing my name to Dubbul-yoo.

But this isn’t the aggressively bad picture that deserves the title of Worst of the Worst. It’s annoyingly bad, it’s outrageously bad, but it’s not bad enough for me to have to take up drinking like Gigli or Delta Farce (YEARGHHH!). It’s just lackluster and generally uninteresting, with brief moments of jaw-dropping idiocy. I’ll have to disagree that it’s the worst movie of the ’00s, but I can’t deny that this one was a train-wreck. It was hard to sit through all 90 minutes without growing lethargic, and I’m pretty sure this is the worst thing I’ve seen Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu in. But, on the bright side, the director was stopped dead in his tracks from ever directing in this town again, and it was quickly forgotten about by everyone involved (except the studio, who lost out on almost $60 million. Burn…). So I give Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever a respectable 2 dubbul-yous out of 10. Yay…

Tomorrow I attempt to sit through all of Heaven’s Gate. Will I believe the hype? We’ll find out!!!

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4 responses

6 10 2009
Jenni David

never heard of it….the trailer makes it seem like a good action…tooooo bad!

6 10 2009
goregirl

2/10 is damn generous! This movie sucked hard. I was pissed I paid new release rental price for it. I actually like both Liu and Banderas, and I don’t think either of them deserved this vomit sandwich.

6 10 2009
cinematronica

I like Liu, but not Banderas. He’s just too self-aware and BANDERAS! And I like your verbage, Goregirl; vomit sandwich! LOL! I dunno, I guess I just wasn’t as offended by its stupidity than most. But Jenni, please trust me when I say NOT to watch this movie! You will not enjoy it!

11 10 2009
Jenni David

I TRUST YOU

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