The worst part about Ultraviolet is that it has THREE genres of movies to compete with. People will compare it to the blockbusters of Sci-Fi movies, Martial Arts movies, and Heroine movies. It will have a tough time trying to stand out when people will inevitably compare it to HUGE movies like Crouching Tiger, The Matrix, Kill Bill, Underworld, etc.
Let's remember that Ultraviolet had a relatively small budget, and yet it did quite a bit with it. With all that said, let me say a few words, good and bad ones, on Ultraviolet.
Yes, the story in Ultraviolet is its weakest point. The problem is in the lack of emotional attachment to the characters, the odd choice and delivery of lines (although you can't deny how great the "It is on." line is), and the strange dream-like stuff it goes into at times.
A lot of the themes in this movie are very fleeting, maybe because they've just been done so often, they need no emphasis. There's one particular story element that you might miss ENTIRELY if you didn't pay attention during one shot. That's how little emphasis there is on story in this movie. The plot is also a little hard to follow at times because it jumps around.
It's strange to see so little emphasis on the story when we know from Equilibrium that Kurt Wimmer is very capable of writing a good story. It makes me wonder if the lack of story was intentional or not, but the unfortunate bottom line is that it hurts this movie.
So what saves this movie? Why 8 out of 10? If we were interested in movies only for their story, we wouldn't be interested in movies at all...we would all read books instead.
Yes, a movie is defined as picture and sound. In that case, Ultraviolet is quite an amazingly interesting picture and sound.
Ultraviolet sacrifices story for a very visceral picture and oodles of style. I haven't seen a movie that looks this COOL in a long time. It really reminds me of the type of style that 60's sci-fi movies were going for- very robust in color and costumes, but modernized and expanded for our time. It's certainly a very nice departure from the typical and BORING space station/stainless steel/green look of modern sci-fi.
The action is kick-ass, applause-worthy at times...although I'll admit that I've seen a bit better from similarly-budgeted movies ("Versus" comes to mind). They could've had some more variety to it (like maybe some better/badder foes), but considering who and what they were working with, I think they did a good job.
Another big strength of the movie is the very cool concepts. Color-changing outfits, gravity belts, disposable paper cellphones, crazy ninjas that drop out of planes like giant pinballs, and entire weapon arsenals stored in wrist devices. All of it with designer-quality fashion to it. You can tell where the budget went in this movie. Like I said, it's an older, weirder, more stylish sense of sci-fi that you don't see very often these days. In fact, a lot of this movie can be defined as set-pieces more so than a single flowing experience.
True, their ability to execute some of these ideas (specifically, the motorcycle chase) is limited by their budget. I think it can be overlooked, though. Some rough edges on CG never hurt anybody...anybody that wants to whine about the graphics really doesn't want to appreciate the movie for what it is.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie, more so for its visuals, music, concepts and set-pieces than for its story or characters. It's really quite interesting to look at. There are more moments in this movie that make me think 'awesome!' than in all of The Matrix trilogy. If this movie isn't a success, then I hope it at least inspires the movie that does get this particular formula just right.