(2002)2Derek ArmstrongFew action movie titles are as conceptually confusing and ill-equipped to sell tickets as Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. At least audiences weren't missing out on much of a movie. Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu, and director Kaos try to make something from a nothing script, but the film doesn't come close to the visual panache of Liu's other chop socky collaboration with a single-moniker whiz kid (McG of Charlie's Angels). (To be fair, the director's full name -- Wych Kaosayananda -- might have been even more difficult for American audiences than the title.) The plot may not be easy to follow (or worth following), but the action is simple enough -- Liu pops out of hiding, numerous henchmen open fire on her, and she dispatches them with a combination of karate, fighting sticks, and missile launchers. These sequences would seem good opportunities for the director to shine, but his only visual contributions are a few interesting stunts, most memorably, an above-angle shot of a falling body demolishing a car. Most of the rest of the running time involves Banderas brooding, Liu simmering, and typecast villain Gregg Henry smirking. That's too bad, because Ballistic introduces a seemingly cool assassination device with ominous potential, then forgets about it until the very end, failing to explore its possible uses. There should have been something to sustain the patient viewer until the end credits.
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