***Official "BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER" Review Thread***

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick Sun, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    My one word review: Stupefying (as in "To dull the senses or faculties of")

    There is so little in character development in this film, that you simply don't care for any of the characters, and thus never invest anything emotionally/etc into the film.

    But, the film is loud, in an attempt to hide the absence of a decent screenplay.

    The stunts are so-so, with just a couple that were sort of different or cool. The action isn't all that great, the fights are okay, but they don't thrill the audience.

    Antonio Banderas mumbles his way through the film, and Lucy Liu has nothing to work with to make you feel much of anything for either one of them.

    I give it a grade of D (for dull) or 1 star.
     
  2. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    This film left me baffled. There were so many WTF moments and they weren't just unrealistic stunts that would normally warrant that response. The directing seemed so mixed and congested, like Kaos couldn't figure out whose style he wanted to copy so he just tried them all.
    The story had nothing to it. It just set up the next fight and chase and sometimes it didn't even set that up, it just skipped right to it. I never felt anyone, bad guys or good guys were in any sort of danger, even if there were bodies flying everywhere.
    I agree with Patrick in that you feel nothing for these characters. Aside from some nice bass in a few explosions this movie was a yawner. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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    Hmmm....I liked it, although Kaos is a little too in-love with SloMo. I was entertained.
     
  4. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Worst action movie since Universal Soldier II The Return. And this movie didn't have Jeane Claude Van Dam and Goldberg the wrestler dragging it down. Avoid at all costs. It isn't even good as a mindless action movie.
     
  5. LennyP

    LennyP Supporting Actor

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    I didn't wanna type my whole "review" that I posted on european TheDVDForums site, so I'll just paste it here, I think it clearly shows what I think of this movie [​IMG]
    ----------
    First things first:
    [​IMG] Ecks vs Sever Rules [​IMG]
    Wow. Wow! I was afraid I built and hyped myself up too much, first time for any movie since 1997's The Fifth Element have I ever been this excited in anticipation of anything!
    Edit: Scroll to end for synopsis.
    Edit II: Second viewing opinions added.
    I've waited for it for so long, I've been so happy, I go in to see it in my favorite theater where I've religiously went for the past 5 or 6 years now, and guess what, the movie starts and the sound is all messed up, the surrounds are too loud while central speakers are quiet so you can't hear most of the dialogue and special effects coming from the middle, and when there is gunfire or explosions, it sounds very weak, because guess what, damn subwoofers seem to be out too! And this is in the best, most luxurious theater in LA, which has the most private studio premieres (not counting the Mann Chinese). I guess I jinxed it by hyping it up in the other thread just prior to, or maybe that absentine supreme being though: "He's happy, I hate that, I'll screw up the sound for him", I don't know. I went out, I asked the usher to go fix it, he went, I went back to the theater, missing a bit of the movie, and I sit and don't notice any changes. I think everyone else in the theater is just too lazy or too stupid or both to realize that something is wrong. I was about to leave because I didn't want to see this movie that way, but I couldn't peel my eyes off the screen.
    It draws you in and doesn't let go. Basically, the way I viewed it was like watching a DVD with Isolated Score turned on, I barely heard any dialogue or even footsteps, usual sound effects coming from the middle, and STILL loved the movie. That's a BIG credit to its components, because if you take a part of some other film away, it all falls apart, but this one can be appreciated on many levels. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing because I was able to enjoy the wonderful score and beautiful cinematography. I will go see it again in another theater to experience the rest of the movie :lol:
    It seems short, it flies by very fast, and would benefit from another half an hour, even though it successfuly creates a unique mood and atmosphere. There are literally dozens and dozens of individual shots that could go into any art store frame. Action sets are amazing as well, Kaos the director opted for 70's style, more realistic, no blue screens or CGI crap, and everything happening at the same time just filmed with many cameras so that you feel more in the moment rather than filming the same 10 second action bit on different days from different angles and setups, then it doesn't feel as realistic.
    In one great scene, that train stations/factory scene near the end, we see one of the wagons explode and the camera pans around from the back of the characters watching it to the front, without cuts, so we see their real reaction to it, standing relatively close. Things like that make the movie even better.
    There are 4 major action sets, 2 of them very grande in scope, like the supermarket sequence where Ray Park's agent decides to capture Lucy Liu's Sever for his boss who've kidnapped his daughter. She ends up, and this is not a spoiler, to use an online gaming term, "owning" them single handedly with a picked up P90 and other weaponry. I love the shot where she drops her empty rifle and elegantly opens up her coat and takes out two extendable sticks and beats up the whole armored truck full of SWAT guys, then mounts its big ass machine gun and sprays the whole plaza and dozens of cars and cops and buildings. That was just beyond words.
    [​IMG]
    The cars flipping in unison is also shockingly great, I won't spoil that one. BTW, the trailer must be one of the best ever, it shows everything yet tells nothing, it very accurately represents the movie, though some scenes and dialogue were rearranged and do not appear in the movie in the same order obviously.
    There is also much more to the story than what's revealed in the trailer or synopseses (sp?), it's very touching and spiritual, and characters are all flawed and haunted. I like another scene where Banderas' Ecks is looking at a wall rack full of various weapons, yet there isn't any glamorization of that, no hip music and "lets load up and kick ass" Ahhnold attitide, but a rather sad, tired look on his face, and he notices a photo of Sever with her child. All of what they're doing is just means to an end. And killing 40 or so cops does not make her a bad person or a murderer. Like in Kiefer Sutherland's directorial debut Truth or Consequences been said, "Everyone knows the rules. They're the good guys, I'm the bad guy, it's their job to catch me, it's my job not to get caught, and I'll do anything..." The agents are on the job, it was their choice and if they die it's no one's fault, it's just a mini-war going on, they're victims, nothing more.
    I also liked seeing Banderas with his big bad long XM shotgun. You really don't see enough shotguns in movies. That reminds me of more cool scenes, all filmed so realistically, looking hurried and messy, but not in a bad way.
    Lucy Liu's subtle facial expressions and cute half-smiles make me sooo softy, she makes up for the lack of dialogue very well, expressing her character through other means.
    Besides the score, the songs used are also great, a couple of familiar ones that I noticed are BT's Smartbomb and Crystal Method's Name of the Game, but others I'll have to track down.
    Soundtrack CD comes out October 1st, but I think it's just the score, I'll have to get that.
    All in all, I've put a lot of expectations on Ecks vs Sever and even with one of the worst theatrical experiences I had this year it managed to deliver and more! That is incredible. I just cannot say enough good things about it. I'm sure all the other movies I see this week and month will pale in comparison.
    Looks like I'll have to make a spot for it on my Top10, I think Time:code will have to go as other 9 are not that replaceable.
    P.S. I didn't proof-read the above so ignore all typos and assume there are about 480 more "wows" and "perfects" and other praises of guns, Lucy Liu, and cinematography.
    [​IMG]
    5 stars out of 5. Will give 6 out of 5 when I see it in a proper theater.
    *****
    Yeah! I saw it for the second time today. It sounded SO much better with subwoofers and a proper sound setup, I enjoyed it enormously. This is pure, 100% exstasy!
    Some things I wanna add:
    The scene I missed last time was actually one of the best moments, as Gant the head of DIA confronts his employee that was responsible for transporting his kidnapped son, and gives him a gun to shoot himself. I won't spoil it either, but know it's great.
    Ecks' DIA laptop interface is basically the screensaver that is downloadable on the official site below.
    Roger Ebert's dig at Sever "killing 40 or so" cops and SWAT guys is not correct. First of all she's a perfect marksman and shoots very accurately, second, she never engages anyone or hurts anyone first. When they surround her in the shopping plaza, she only defends herself as needed. She runs between columns aiming at the cops behind cars and hurrying about but never shoots until is shot upon, and even then she returns fire to the cars and maybe a few into the hand or leg, to scare them off and put out of action. She barely really kills anyone, just self defense induced injuries and some from explosions. So, she's not a killer, she's a mother. [​IMG]
    Also, action is very nicely dispersed throughout the movie with calmer, quiet moments. I still cannot understand how could 30 explosions per second in XXX could get 50% positive reviews and Ballistic be acused of repetitive, numbing explosions and get 0%?!
    The action is very diverse, and there aren't any repetitions of the same explosions ten times from all angles in slow motion. In Ecks vs Sever it all happens very realistically quickly and leaves a much better feeling. I literally love every shot of this movie.
    Oh and those cool clothes Sever wears, and just the whole movie's wardrobe is designed by none other than Magali Guidasci, who did costumes for Besson's Leon the Professional and Subway! No wonder they're so great. BTW, I bought a Banderas' Ecks 4x8 feet theatrical banner and it arrived today, so now I have a pair of them, for each agent, will hang on either side of the home theater, it's gona be awesome!
    Synopsis:
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.
    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!
    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.
    Crawdaddy
     
  7. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    My friends and I laughed throughout the entire film. Take that as an endorsement if you like.

    Personally, I'm STUNNED that this one didn't go straight-to-video. (As in "Hey hun! Look! Here's one with Banderas and the Asian Charlie's Angel! Let's rent it!")
     
  8. Matt Wooten

    Matt Wooten Second Unit

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    well i finally caught this movie yesterday and first off i'll say this much.. i did enjoy it more than i did xXx. that being said though it did leave alot to be desired. i didn't quite feel the same for it as Lenny up here but i thought it was a decent movie to see. this is going to go down as a guilty pleasure on my part. the main problem i think with this movie was the fact that it really should have been alittle longer. maybe that way some of the plot could have been explained alittle better. i still can't get over the fact that Antonio Banderas is brought in and is about to be taken to jail for shooting Miguel Sandoval.
    granted i know that is just setting up the next action scene BUT STILL that makes no logical sense. i don't know if i agree with there being no cg at all in the film bc one scene in particular which needs no spoiler tag is lucy and antonio driving across the bridge at sunset. the close-ups on their faces clearly tell you that the background is cg.. but it LOOKS SO BAD that i can only figure that its supposed to have some kind of hidden meaning or something. OMG and the scar on Antonio's face during this part in the movie is so obviously make-up that you can actually see where it is applied. i haven't noticed something like this in a feature film in quite a while. anyways if i had to rate it on a scale of one to ten i'd give it a six as a film. although i'll still be getting this on first day dvd.. which shouldn't really be too far away. [​IMG]
     
  9. Bolivar G

    Bolivar G Second Unit

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    All I have to say is,
    I want my money back!!!
    Saw this on Sunday, Yuck
     
  10. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    I remember Ebert & Roeper slamming "Ballistic" when it was first released so I was in no hurry to check it out. Well, I finally got around to watching it on DVD last night. The first thing that came to my mind was,"Well, that wasn't so bad and it was at least as good as "xXx", which I had just viewed the night before. Reminded me an awful lot of Mission Impossible 2.

    Some of he action scenes were pretty good and others were a little goofy. Mind you I had just watched Arnold's "Commando" the night before which is the winner of the "10 guys with machine guns behind cover and they can't shoot that big dude standing there in the open?!" award. Ballistic seemed almost realistic in comparsion. After "Commando" I couldn't help but be desensitized to this action film fault.

    The scene with Mali and Ecks (no smoking, no staring, he got beat up by a girl) alone was worth the price of a rental.

    When I came here I was surprised to find there were less than 10 replies. This movie is far from horrible and at least as good as many others in it genre. Give it a shot.
     
  11. Dennis Pagoulatos

    Dennis Pagoulatos Supporting Actor

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    Not rocket science, but better than I'd been led to believe. Now don't get me wrong, the movie ended, and i still have no freaking clue what it was about...but some of the stuff was just so damn cool that I didn't care!
    It's worth a rental, especially to watch with friends and mock it in between the fun action sequences (which are too loud to talk through) [​IMG]
    Give it a try, and don't pay attention to the dialogue too much...and enjoy staring at hot Talisa Soto, I sure did...
    7 out of 10 (compared with other mindless action flicks)
    -Dennis
     

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