Awfully Good: Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever

Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever (2002)

Director: Kaos
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, Ray Park

After a young boy is kidnapped by rogue special agent Sever, a former operative named Ecks is brought in to track her down and recover a dangerous weapon. But in an unbelievable twist, not everything is as it seems!!!!

BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER is remarkable for many reasons. For one, the unnecessarily complicated title is just laughable. "Ballistic" is clearly a generic action-related word the producers pulled out of thin air once they realized the title characters meant nothing to general audiences. ("Add in something related to guns so everyone knows there's shooting in this movie!") And even the ECKS VS. SEVER subtitle is misleading. Sure, the title characters fight each other…for about five minutes of the movie. They spend the rest of the time working together against the real enemy. The whole thing is just confusing and an immediate indicator of gross incompetence yet to come.

"Why, God?What have we done to deserve this"

The film also belongs to the exclusive club of movies that managed to earn a 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes. (In fact, given the large number of reviews, it could be considered the worst reviewed film of all time.) Additionally, it's remembered for being the first film in history to be adapted from a Game Boy video game. Although a little research indicates that the game itself was actually based on an early version of the ECKS VS. SEVER script and just managed to be released before the movie even came out. Though I never played it, apparently the game is pretty good. That means Nintendo managed to make a better product out of the screenplay than the filmmakers did with a $70 million budget.

Can't wait for the sequel from Pandemonium.

Yes, $70 million. I'm assuming the majority of that money went towards unlimited hookers and blow for the cast and crew, because it sure as hell isn't on the screen. ECKS VS. SEVER looks more straight-to-video than most movies deemed unfit for theaters. Directed by a guy named Kaos (clearly hired because the studio execs thought his name sounded promising), the film is a showcase in how NOT to shoot action. There are explosions, gunfights and hand to hand combat—all miraculously without any style, tension or excitement. Lucy Liu goes from beating up guys with batons to firing a giant machine gun to blowing stuff up with a bazooka and it's all so boring it barely registers with your brain. There's also a laughable low-speed motorcycle chase where you can see a city bus keeping up with the action, as well as a car crash where Lucy Liu's vehicle flips in a hilariously slow and safe manner. Even the film's obvious money shot, where the camera follows a stunt man as he falls off a building on to a car below, will leave you saying, "Why did I just see that?"

Usually I'm exaggerating when I say an actor sleepwalks through a role…

I'd feel bad for the cast of this movie, but they clearly weren't trying either. Antonio Banderas is barely conscious for his scenes, keeping his eyes closed for extended periods of time and attempting to whisper all of his lines dramatically. It doesn't help that his character isn't very good at his job, not knowing how to ride a motorcycle and at one point attempting to use a land mine device during a standoff but only succeeding in injuring himself. Lucy Liu's Sever is at least more effective as a secret operative, but she barely gets any lines in the entire 90 minutes, instead spending every scene yawning while firing a weapon or blatantly trying to remember fight choreography. Even Darth Maul himself Ray Park, a henchman with the embarrassing nickname the Prince of Darkness, barely has anything to do except stand around and wait for his one disappointing fight at the end.

"No, seriously… what does happen to a toad when it's struck by lightning?"

The script for BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER, written by the guy responsible for SPAWN and the LEFT BEHIND movie, is a marvel for the sheer magnitude of failure it contains. They somehow manage to turn a simple, cliché spy story in to an epic written clusterf*ck where you have no idea which characters know each other, anybody's motivations for anything they do, or even the basic mechanics of the plot. Here are some highlights:

- Banderas and his wife each think the other one is dead. This occurred when they were across the street from each other and saw their cars simultaneously explode. Neither investigates, looks for a body, or does anything a normal human would do. Instead, Banderas becomes an unemployed alcoholic and his wife immediately marries his best friend (who of course is the man responsible for faking both their fiery deaths). Also, she was pregnant and let the other man raise Banderas' son. When they're finally reunited, Mrs. Ecks explains her actions by saying, "I only became his wife in name." I don't know what that means.

- Lucy Liu was an unwanted Chinese orphan trained by the US government to kill. (Apparently there's an entire government program dedicated to this.) She kidnaps the villain's son (actually Banderas' son) and you're supposed to think it's revenge for the time when he previously killed her son because she was a secret agent and secret agents aren't supposed to have families. In actuality, it turns out the bad guy infected his own kid with nanobot assassins, and Liu only kidnapped him to protect him. So she's supposed to be a good guy the entire movie—except for all those times she killed innocent cops and civilians.

- Yes, you read that right. The film introduces the concept of nanobot assassins, but never does anything with them. It's the most disappointing MacGuffin in cinema history.

It was easy to spot Lucy Liu's stunt double.

- When Ecks and Sever finally do meet, they engage in the saddest fight ever, an awkward, slow dance that looks like they're both struggling to remember their moves. You can watch it in the Best Parts below.

- The FBI boss has a casual, friendly conversation in public with Ray Park's terrorist henchman (The Prince of Darkness, remember?) and it's no big deal. They exchange the following super serious dialogue: "You're sweating." "It's been raining."

- Antonio Banderas dramatically warns his soon-to-be-dead boss to get out of harms way via walkie-talkie, only in the next shot it's revealed that he's literally just a few feet away from him.

- When she learns her son has been kidnapped, the wife says, "You promised me this would never happen!" Yes, I promised you that our son would never be stolen and used as a pawn by warring government agencies. It was in our wedding vows.

- One line of dialogue accidentally gives away the fact that they're filming this in Vancouver, which means the entire movie takes place in Canada. Why would the FBI have full jurisdiction and resources readily available in another country? Did nobody else think this through?

Why is there a scene with this lady and this porpoise? Why does anything happen in this movie?!

The final showdown takes place in a train yard where literally everything blows up. There are just constant explosions everywhere, even though it's not feasible that Ecks and Sever had any time to set up these devices. There's no real flow to the action, just nameless henchman walking in to explosions for the sake of explosions without any thought. That's actually a great metaphor for this film.

These range from funny (Eurotrash guy getting nutkicked) to sad ("NOOOOOOO") to sleepy (Antonio Banderas' performance).

A sampling of some of the generic action and fight scenes.

Not even close.

Awful vs. Good? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • A techno song plays over action
  • There's random choral singing
  • There's slow motion for no reason
  • Somebody pushes a button and something explodes
  • It looks like Antonio Banderas is falling asleep
Double shot if:
  • There's a paper crane on screen

Thanks to Billy and Sam for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com



Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Featured Youtube Videos