In moviegoing's olden days, something like "Ultraviolet" would be considered a "quickie": a genre flick that had nothing on its mind except tying together as many motifs as it could from other movies in its genre and making things move quick and dirty.
Maybe if you'd never seen "The Matrix," "X-Men" or "Kill Bill" (or their respective sequels), you might find "Ultraviolet" totally original.
Then again, if you'd never seen "Matrix" or "Bill," you might not be inclined to see "Ultraviolet" in the first place.
Incredibly, writer-director Kurt Wimmer's intent was to take the basic story line of John Cassavetes' 1980 chase thriller, "Gloria," and make a comic-book movie out of it.
So, to brace the story of a hard-boiled, pistol-packing woman outlaw and the child she's protecting, the movie creates a dystopian future in which humans are at war with mutants carrying blood that makes them faster, stronger, smarter and deadlier.
And none of these is faster, stronger, etc., than Ultraviolet (Milla Jovovich), a freelance angel of vengeance against all humans, especially the sneering authoritarian biochemist (Nick Chinlund) who's out to exterminate Violet and her kind.
Apparently, there are limits to Violet's own scourge mentality. When she finds out that a weapon she's stolen from the humans turns out to be a young boy named Six (Cameron Bright, who's fast becoming America's Creepy Kid), longburied maternal instinct kicks in, causing her to take the boy with her on the lam from fellow mutants and human cops alike.
Whether Six is a blessing or a boon to mutants or humans is one of the many things not clearly explained amid all the flying bodies, flashing steel and grinding metal.
To her credit, Jovovich carries out her action-hero duties with swagger and conviction that never get out of control.
Clearly, she's expecting a franchise out of this.
That worse things have happened isn't a good enough reason to anticipate a sequel.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sequences of violent action throughout, partial nudity and language
A Sony Pictures/Screen Gems release. Writer-director Kurt Wimmer. Producer John Baldecchi. Executive producers T.C. Wang, Charles Wang, Tony Mark, Sue Jett. Director of photography Arthur Wong Ngok Tai. Editor William Yeh. Music Klaus Badelt. Production designer Choo Sung Pong. Costume designer Joseph Porro. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
In general release.