We don’t ask for much from explosion and chase movies, just some cool explosions and chases, plus some attitude, a couple of lines of snappy dialogue, an interesting bad guy, and a plot that doesn’t get in the way. This movie fails in every category.
It’s always a bad sign when a movie can’t make up its mind what its title is and so goes with two. And it’s an even worse sign when both titles are as dumb as these.
Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu play Ecks and Sever, two brilliant agents who start out on opposite sides and then end up on the same side. There is some assassination device and a kidnapped child and a wife who was supposed to be dead but may still be alive. But mostly, the movie is about shooting and hitting, an endless barrage of bullets and bazookas to a point that is way past mindless fun and on the brink of being pornographic. The dialogue is not quite up to the level of awards-show cue cards, and the score is generic, bass-heavy techno-punk.
“Ballistic” is more video game than movie, though video games have more interesting characters. There is not much dialogue, and what there is is unforgivably dumb. Ecks sees Sever’s warehouse-sized collection of weapons and asks where she got it. She responds, “Some women buy shoes.” In addition to the pretentious fake-clever dialogue, we have pretentious fake-tough and even fake-meaningful dialogue that is even harder to sit through. And there are also endless shots of Lucy Liu shooting huge guns in slow motion, with her hair artistically flowing, plus even more of the usual magically bullet-proof characters who constantly run into gunfire without getting hit but manage to hit the other side every time they fire. It even has the unfathomably stupid cliché of the adversaries stopping in mid-battle to drop all of their hardware on the ground so that they can have a “fair fight.”
Parents should know that the movie has constant graphic violence and brief strong language. The only real strength of the movie is its portrayal of minorities and women as strong, smart, brave, loyal, and honest.
Families who see this movie should talk about the choices people must make when they are faced with enemies who do not follow the rules. How do you fight them without becoming bad guys yourself? Can someone be an agent without putting his or her family at risk?
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy better films like “The Transporter.”