Uttered with the proper degree of distaste, "Ecks" just about sums it up. An action film starring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu, Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever looks like a video-game promo, has a story that plays like the fifth episode of a struggling syndicated action show, and feels like a headache waiting to happen. The subtitle that looks like a jumble of Scrabble tiles breaks down as follows: Banderas is an FBI agent named Jeremiah Ecks, a heartbroken man pining for his wife, who apparently died in an explosion a few years back. Liu is Sever, a renegade from the shadowy DIA's "Orphan Class," a division made up of unwanted Chinese orphan girls "trained to do nothing but kill a thousand different ways." And kill she does, piling up a body count that would embarrass Don "The Dragon" Wilson. The film eventually explains away the pile of corpses by revealing that Liu was trying to save a little boy from danger, which pretty much says everything that needs saying about the humanity invested here. After spending half of the movie fighting each other, Liu and Banderas spend the second half fighting alongside each other, often in slow motion. Thai director Kaos (a.k.a. Wych Kaosayananda) doesn't come up with anything that hundreds of Hong Kong films haven't done before, but he does seem intent on doing it louder. There's scarcely a two-minute stretch without an explosion, usually cued by one of the characters igniting one of the dozens of bombs they presumably set up between scenes. For some reason, all of this takes place in Vancouver, so for those seeking a temperate climate, a reasonable exchange rate, and international intrigue, contact your travel agent today.

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