Going Ballistic

Ecks vs. Sever suffers from XXX disease

The son of a fascistic intelligence agency boss (Gregg Henry) is kidnapped by Sever (Lucy Liu), a ruthless, mysteriously hooded killing machine. The only one who can retrieve the boy is Ecks (Antonio Banderas), a former FBI operative who has been on the skids for seven years, ever since his wife was allegedly killed. There are several elements lifted directly from John Woo's Hard Boiled, but the plot is even tougher to follow, in part because of Banderas' accent and partly because it's tough to keep track of just who's working for whom, and why, and even where. In addition to the plot problems, the movie suffers from what might be called XXX disease: Ecks survives such insane physical abuse so early in the film, with barely a scratch on his grizzled frame, that it verges on the supernatural, removing any possibility of jeopardy and hence of suspense. Not that action fans will necessarily care: Director Kaos and his stunt people have contrived some very clever shtick and executed it with dazzling visuals.

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