Even by dumb action-movie standards, “Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever” is a dumb action movie. It is yet another film whose director (Wych Kaosayananda) believes using slow-motion is enough to create excitement, and that fighting is the same thing as advancing the plot.
It is based on a video game, which I believe tells you everything you need to know. [Correction: Actually, the video game, released a year ahead of the film, was based on the screenplay. A second game was released afterward.] The story involves a bad guy whose son was kidnapped by his black-clad, butt-kicking employee, Sever (Lucy Liu), but she had good reasons for doing it. There’s nanite technology that enables villains to assassinate people with the push of a button, miles away, and somehow the bad guy, Gant (Gregg Henry), is involved.
Oh, and Gant is married to Vinn (Talisa Soto), who used to be married to FBI agent Ecks (Antonio Banderas), but then she thought he died so she married this idiot. But Ecks wasn’t dead, and now he’s been harassed back into active duty so he can stop Sever, whose good-intentioned mission seems to include a lot of killing.
Eventually, they realize they are on the same side and both want Gant taken care of, and so it stops being Ecks vs. Sever and starts being Ecks and Sever, which is kind of heart-warming, in its way.
There is no acting in the movie. All the participants merely behave really seriously and say their silly dialogue with straight faces. And a lot of things get blown up. I mean, A LOT of things.
“Ballistic” is a wan, pale imitation of an action movie. It looks more like a standard episode of some USA Network series that is light on brain and heavy on immature enthusiasm for mayhem. It has no flash or style or wit. It may not be the worst movie of the year, but it is almost certainly one of the most pointless.
D- (1 hr., 30 min.; )
In 2012, I reconsidered this movie for my Re-Views column at Film.com.