Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)
I've now tried to watch this mess known by the ridiculous title Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever twice and I still am not sure what all of it was about. I know that Antonio Banderas is Ecks and Lucy Liu is Sever, and that there is something about a kidnapped child, husbands and wives that are presumed dead, an injectible little machine that swims around the bloodstream, killing the unfortunate injectee, all of which is drowned in endless and awkwardly choreographed gun battles. Beyond that...
First off, I want to say that even the title can't figure any of it since it really should be called Ecks and Sever vs. Gant, named for the movie's real bad guy played by Gregg Henry, or something like that. Only for the briefest of moments are Banderas and Liu at odds with one another before realizing, 'Hey, the enemy of my enemy is my friend' or something. Anyway, Henry's son is kidnapped by Liu and Ecks is hauled out of a 7 year-long, alcoholic stupor to be told that he must find the boy and get the little robot device and that, oh yeah, the wife he's long thought was dead and who he's been drinking himself to death over is really alive and is Henry's new wife. No prizes for guessing that the kidnapped boy is really Banderas's son.
Well, after a couple of gun battles Banderas and Liu team up to fight Henry whereupon we are subjected to even more gun battles. We've got uzis galore, shotguns, grenade launchers and explosions of every severity, almost all of which are hurled at Banderas and Liu who, naturally, never get hit despite the fact that everything from glass to car tires to train cars get shot and blasted to smithereens behind them. Where did Henry get these guys? Craig's List? And for a movie so in love with guns, rockets and grenades, Henry is eventually defeated not by bullets, fire or falling debris; no, you see, he got injected with the little device (remember that?) and Liu just pushes a button giving him a massive coronary. Banderas is reunited with his wife and son and he and Liu act as if they are convinced there will be a sequel in their future.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever does the unusual feat of being completely confusing and stupifyingly simple-minded both at the same time; so much kinetic energy is on the screen for not very much of a purpose. It also doesn't help that there is barely enough dialogue within its 91 minutes to cover a 10 minute short. What dialogue there is onhand barely has enough function to propel what little story there winds up being. Along with the low energy script (mired in the hyper-energy editing and explosives) is the flat blank performances by Banderas, Liu and Henry, none of whom hardly blink let alone change facial expressions. Truly a low point for them all. They should've taken the fact that such nondiscriminating actors like Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone and Vin Diesel all ran as fast as they could away from this screenplay as the terrible omen it was.
In any case, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever was such a colossal box-office flop that it sent its director, credited here with the lame abbreviation 'KAOS' back to Thailand from whence he came, and even then he hasn't been let near a movie camera again for close to a decade. Cinematic justice is, sometimes, served.