Bad vs. Really Bad
This movie was fairly universally panned, the bandwagon quite full from all the jumping-on of critics. So, that masochistic side of me that wants to see just how bad a movie can be simply required that I find out.
The dominating question in my mind was "why?" - both in terms of what was going on in the film, but also why the piling on. No, it's not actually an undiscovered gem, and I'd never argue it was even a good film. But the depths of something like Glitter or Battlefield Earth? Hardly. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is merely bland and tepid.
There's a story of agents and double-crosses and families in the crossfire. Ostensibly the point of all the brouhaha in the film is the fate of an advanced assassination device that has been smuggled into the country, a kind of implant that can trigger death at will. It's yet another example of how the movies don't really understand technology. Why would there be just one device? The methods employed here are completely at odds with how such a device would come to exist. Is this unusual for a Hollywood movie? No. It's silly and makes the world less believable, but it's not why the film doesn't work.
The pacing prefers action over words, feeding us enough hints that something is going on, but not enough to make any real connections. The characters seems to know things for no apparent reason. Ecks (Antonio Banderas) looks over the scene of a battle and declares that she (Sever, played by Lucy Liu) isn't finished. And sure enough, Sever comes back with some well placed gunshots before running off.
The barrage of machismo violence never really pays off. I never cared about the characters really, though I knew why I was supposed to. The most interesting aspect is the mishmash of seemingly divided loyalties. The struggle underneath the conflict is worthy of a film, just not this one.
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