October 1, 2014

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is a title you can't possibly say with a straight face. I know you thought To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar was a bad title, but it has been dethroned, and a new champion reigns. Those of you who are into the more obscure stuff might put forth Death Bed: The Bed That Eats as a contender, while those of you who murder prostitutes in your creepy basement might declare Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace to be the worst title of all time. Sadly, no. That title is held, and will always be held, by the one and only film that features a stone-faced Lucy Liu running around Vancouver shooting everything in sight for no discernible reason while AnTOnio! BANderas! takes the English language into an abandoned barn out back and beats it to death with a shovel.

"But Carl Eusebius!" I hear you inquiring, "How can a film possibly live down to a title like that?" Oh ye of little faith, I present to you Rotten Tomatoes' Worst Film of the 2000s. That's right, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever received exactly 0 positive reviews from a total of one hundred and eight major critics. Behold, some choice reviewer quotations:

"Banderas mopes through this hideous and unintelligible enterprise like a bloodhound with a hangover, while Liu elects to look cool in leather in lieu of a performance."

"The backyard battles you staged with your green plastic army men were more exciting and almost certainly made more sense."

"For years, people have joked about an action movie that might eliminate plot altogether and simply cut to the pyrotechnics. Someone has finally done it."

"[Let's] discuss the curious fact that both of these U.S. agencies wage what amounts to warfare in Vancouver, which is actually in a nation named Canada, which has agencies and bureaus of its own and takes a dim view of machineguns, rocket launchers, plastic explosives and the other weapons the American agents and their enemies use to litter the streets of the city with the dead."

"Sadistic: Gratuitous Vs. Arbitrary."

"Du grand grand vide que le nombre d'explosions n'arrive pas à camoufler."

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is the story of...things...happening...and shooting...and explosions, and then some cars driving, a few lines of dialogue, explosions, more shooting, people walking in slow-motion away from expanding fireballs, people who were government agents but aren't government agents anymore, more explosions, close-ups of Talisa Soto, even more shooting, even biggerer explosions, and people thinking other people are dead and then finding out they aren't dead but were only being hidden away by the FBI, or the DIA, or some damn thing.

Jeremiah(!) Ecks (Banderas) is a former FBI agent. Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in when they tell him his wife who died eight years ago was only resting. In fact, her son by her new husband Gant has just been kidnapped. Ecks, of course, doesn't give a shit because his wife is played by Princess Kitana, who was once rumored to have changed her facial expression some time in 1987. Eventually the director, a particularly articulate gibbon named "Kaos", tells him the plot needs to start, and so he goes about searching for his not-dead wife's child by another man. He soon determines the kidnapper is Sever (Liu). This determination is helped by Sever's machine-gun murder of about 300 police officers outside the Vancouver Library. See what happens when you hire your own cops, Vancouver? If you'd contracted with the Mounties, this never would've happened!

In fact, Sever tries to kill everyone in the city of Vancouver, including Ecks (with a grenade launcher), until she's about to blow his head off at point blank range with his own gun, at which point she inexplicably lets him go (??) and tells him his wife Kitana is alive and with Gant. (How does she know, and why does she care?) Gant not only orchestrated Kitana's fake death to fool Ecks, and Ecks's fake death to fool Kitana, but he's also responsible for killing Sever's husband and kid. Guy really gets around. This is why she's murdering Vancouver, to get revenge on Gant...somehow.

And that totally makes up for Sever blowing away dozens of cops and DIA agents, right? Right? Her kid was murdered! That means everything she does in pursuit of vengeance is morally justified! What, haven't you seen Princess Aurora? (Don't see Princess Aurora.)

Since the film is called Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Ecks and Sever team up to take down Gant and rescue Kitana's son who is (wait for it) not Gant's son after all, but Ecks's! Bet you didn't see that coming, eh? Eh? Ecks and Kitana are finally reunited in a scene set in the Vancouver Aquarium for no other reason than, hey look, it's the Vancouver Aquarium! Because when you've got an entire 85 minutes to fill, you got to pad out the running time somehow. Kaos, of course, can't control his raging boner for things blowing up real good, so Kitana has a flashback to the 'splosion that she mistakenly thought killed Ecks. It all ends in an abandoned railway station...somewhere. Sever refuses to return to the Dark Side, the bad guys all die, all the good guys make it out completely unhurt, and the audience harangues the theater manager for a refund.

Banderas can barely summon the energy to stammer out his lines, making me wonder how the casting director of Twilight, Part 4: Part 2 missed out on making him the stereotypical Latino vampire to round out the offensive ethnic caricatures that film paraded about like homophobia at a Tea Party convention. Darth Maul is kind of in the movie, but since he never busts out a double-bladed red lightsaber while "Duel of the Fates" starts up, I didn't care, and neither will you. Countless Canadians are killed, and no one cares about that, either. Vancouverites were more perturbed about the Canucks losing the Stanley Cup than getting machine gunned-to death by Lucy Liu. Director Kaos (really) certainly doesn't care, as he appears to treat his human characters with all the care and empathy the average 10-year-old has for his opponents in Call of Duty 29: Yeah, We're Doing This Again.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is the longest and most boring 85 minutes you've never spent with a title shat straight out of Satan's own asshole. No matter what kind of sin you commit in a single lifetime or how corrupt and bankrupt a person you are, when you get to the Pearly Gates and St. Pete asks why he shouldn't send you to Hell, pause dramatically and then say laconically, "Hey bub, at least I didn't make Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever."

Fuck this movie


  1. You make me laugh reading this except for the curse words. From being there in vancouver I can almost see the people standing there and saying wait what was that, oh who cares my potatoes are getting cold. How well it worked out that he was at first trying to find his cheating wife's child and maybe loose his own life but then he finds out his cheating wife is cheating but the kid is his. Now he'll have to pay child support which is maybe why he felt the need to blow stuff up.

  2. Now that I have seen the movie, I must say your review is funnier than ever. I can picture of your jokes. I would like to comment on Sever's very convincing kungfu moves which always seem to be on slow motion. And Darth Maul should never speak and simply focus on being the great stuntman that he is.

  3. PS i also heard someone comment on the blatant rip off from a few scenes in Blade Runner *)