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(Unrated, Extended Cut)

When a film’s opening credits consist of a montage of comic book covers, one can pretty much guess caliber of film that is to follow. ULTRAVIOLET ($29) is a live action comic book, nothing more, nothing less. Sure, the plot is completely two dimensional, as are the characters, but ULTRAVIOLET is mindless fun, nonetheless. Set in the somewhat distant future, we quickly discover that an engineered virus to create super soldiers has infected a large portion of the populous, imbuing them with vampire like symptoms- light sensitive, yet incredibly strong and fast. Unfortunately, the infected victims, known as Hemophages, also find themselves with greatly reduced life spans. At first, the germophobic general population shuns the Hemophages, but then they are rounded up and taken off to camps for supposed "treatment." However, there is no treatment and the Hemophages never return.

As the film opens, we introduced a remaining Hemophage named Violet (Milla Jovovich) as she breaks into a secured facility to steal the secret government weapon designed to eradicate the rest of her kind. However, once Violet has her hands on the supposed weapon, she opens its packaging to discover it to be a boy (Cameron Bright), whose blood may or may not be a cure to the virus that will eventually end her life. Until Violet can confirm just what the boy may be, she finds herself protecting him from both sides, which sets up the majority of the film’s near continuous action sequences. The cast of ULTRAVIOLET also features Nick Chinlund, Sebastien Andrieu, Ida Martin and William Fichtner.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made ULTRAVIOLET available on DVD in a serviceable 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The image quality is quite good, but not phenomenal. I would imagine that much of the film is synthetic- i.e. green screened with digital effects and backgrounds, so there is an inherent softness in these synthetic sequences. Organic portions of the film do appear sharper and offer better definition than the synthetic, but then again, just about everything has a rather stylized look, so the transfer appears to be a faithful rendering of the filmmakers’ intention. Colors are highly saturated and stable. Contrast is intentionally blown out in places, but the DVD handles these sequences quite well. The film elements are virtually pristine and free from blemishes. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

ULTRAVIOLET comes with a pretty potent Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The soundtrack provides just what you’d expect from a sci-fi / action movie; it’s big, noisy and mixed to take full advantage of all the discrete channels. Sound effects are nicely implemented during the big action sequences, plus there are respectable ambient effects during the quieter moments. Dialogue is crisply rendered and is always completely intelligible. Fidelity is strong, with the music a nice sense of presence, while the sound effects are pretty convincing. The bass channel is full, deep and packs quite a wallop. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English and French subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Actress Milla Jovovich is on hand to supply a running audio commentary. Additionally, the DVD includes UV Protection: The Making Of Ultraviolet, which is a thirty-minute look behind-the-scenes featuring interviews with cast & crew, plus numerous clips.

As I stated above, ULTRAVIOLET is a live action comic book, nothing more, nothing less. If your choice of comic books tends to favor hot babes dressed in tight leather outfits and kicking serious butt, then ULTRAVIOLET is your kind of entertainment. As for the DVD, it looks and sounds quite good, making a disc worth checking out.



Ultraviolet (Unrated, Extended Cut) (2006)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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