Film / Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever

"It is, it is, it is unusually bad."
Roger Ebert; this is one of the films on his most hated list.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, a 2002 action film directed by Wych "Kaos" Kaosayananda, stars Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu in the titular roles.

Sever (Liu), a rogue Defense Intelligence Agency operative, kidnaps the son of the agency's director, Robert Gant (Gregg Henry). In response, the DIA calls in former agent Jeremiah Ecks (Banderas) to find Sever and save the child.

It is probably best remembered for appearing on many "Worst Films Ever" lists. It boasts the most reviews for a 0% rated film on Rotten Tomatoes. The game also had two adaptations for the Game Boy Advance. Both First Person Shooters, the first one, simply titled Ecks vs. Sever, was based on an earlier draft of the script. The sequel, carrying the film's full title, follows the story of the film more closely.

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Sever
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: The Big Bad tricks a lackey into killing himself by giving him a backwards-firing pistol.
  • Big Bad: Gant
  • Blatant Lies: The movie is titled Ecks vs. Sever, but though the two have a very brief scuffle after a chase scene early on, they never truly face each other as "enemies". They even end up fighting on the same side by roughly the halfway point of the movie.
  • Car Cushion: A DIA sniper meets this fate after Sever knocks him off his perch with a grenade launcher. Landing on the car causes its wheels to fly off and knock down some other DIA agents, for some reason.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The movie makes a valiant attempt to run on this trope.
  • Dual Wielding: Sever does this with a pair of telescopic batons.
  • Gambit Pileup: And how. There are a grand total of five subplots, each equally confusing and misleading as everyone in this story has their hand in everything else.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gant's plan revolved around using a nanobot that can cause heart attacks. However, by the end, he gets shot by a bullet prepared with said nanobots and dies.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Or rather, "Just Taser Sever!" An early action scene relies on the idea that the Defense Intelligence Agency is not allowed to actually shoot Sever in their attempt at apprehending her. (She's the only person who knows where she stashed a kidnap victim, so they need her alive.) As a result they try to shoot around her to pin her down so they can apprehend her. Needless to say, she escapes with ease. If just one person in the DIA had remembered that tasers exist, or tranquilizer darts, or tear gas, or even had simply aimed for her legs to incapacitate her then the movie would have been over right there.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Ecks eventually finds out that he has a son — Michael.
  • Mama Bear: Sever wants revenge on Gant because he killed her husband and daughter.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Ecks
  • Nano Machine: A microscopic robot injected into a person's blood via a dart — and can subsequently induce fatal medical conditions — serves as the film's MacGuffin.
  • Plot Hole: Plenty of these exist in this film.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The final act of the film, set at a rail yard, would give Michael Bay a run for his money.
  • Television Geography (Averted)
  • Versus Title: Ecks vs. Sever. Except Ecks and Sever only fight each other once. Once!
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Sever guns down dozens of DIA agents and security guards over the course of the film, and not only does no one seem to care, but in the end, someone says of her, "she's a killer" — which prompts Ecks to reply, "she's a mother".