Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002): a recap (part 3 of 6)

Previously on Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: A “studio” brought a guy who made one film over from Thailand to helm a Hollywood action movie. And that’s going about as well as could be expected.

Ecks, learning that Sever knows about his wife, now has a reason to care about her. He takes off after her. Sever runs down an alley where some skeezy guy is moving hard on a woman. Lucy Liu, without breaking stride, punches him a couple of times and he falls over. She runs through the open back door to wherever they were.

“Our research indicates this is exactly how real humans behave.”

This couple needs their own movie. Literally feet away, police and US military guys are shooting up the public library in broad daylight. Whatever’s going on in their world, exploding cars don’t even rate.

As Ecks runs down the alley, briefly shouting at my favorite film extras ever, Sever drives through a closed garage door. Has anybody actually ever done this? You don’t know what the garage door is made of. It might just buckle and then you’ve ruined both a car and a garage.


Sever, by the way, is driving a yellow 1979 Ford Mustang DX. Then she throws a bomb (I think?) under a parked car. It’s the size of a car lighter, but whatever, in this world it’s a bomb. She tries to drive away, but Ecks has caught up with her. She drives straight and he runs over her car. Then he shoots out her back tire. The car next to him explodes, and not wanting to miss out on the action, Sever’s car flips and explodes, too.

“Exploding smoke bombs and an air piston under the stunt car. We’ve seen it, and we covered it: September 20, 2002.”

Banderas is temporarily on fire, a condition that causes him mild consternation as he beats at his pant leg. Hilariously, some DIA guy on a radio says, “Situation is too hot. Let the locals handle it.” Really, radio guy? Now the situation is too hot? The other fifty cars that exploded in flames, the hundreds of panicked pedestrians, the roughly four million rounds of ammo you aimed at a library—all of those were situations you could control? Now that Ecks and Sever are on foot with one gun each, Vancouver Police need to step in?

Sever survived the car crash and is running at full speed through an empty garage. Since it’s the middle of a work day, where are all the cars? Probably on fire somewhere.

Banderas pops out of somewhere, and yells for Liu to halt.

The next moments will be chock full of firsts. Lucy Liu gets her first full line, and the first ever Ecks/Sever fight takes place.

Sever: You kill me, you kill Gant’s son.
Ecks: I don’t work for Gant. I just want my wife.

Sever runs away, shooting some random FBI guy in the process (he’s okay, the bullet hit his vest). Ecks chases her out onto an abandoned roof.

Ecks repeats his question on the very real presumption that Liu is deaf. “Where is my wife? Where is she?” He then makes the tactical decision to throw away his shotgun. This gives Lucy Liu’s stuntwoman an opening to all-out attack Banderas’ stuntman. They stunt around for a while, intercut with close-ups of the actors’ faces. At no point does Liu give voice to the only reasonable question in my mind, “Who are you and who is your wife?”

“Kiss me, you fool.”

The DIA guys are all watching this, but they don’t want to interfere because the stunts were only blocked for two people. Liu jumps down one of those outdoor garbage chutes they have at construction sites. This should be a multistory fall to her death, but she lands in a dumpster so she’s okay. Ecks tries to follow her but gets caught up in the scaffolding.

As she runs away, Liu takes one last look at Ecks. I think she’s supposed to be regarding him with professional admiration,. However, it’s the same face she makes when Johnny Lee Miller hands her her coffee on Elementary, so I can’t tell.

That’s the face.

Ecks is now sitting in the house of the FBI guy who got shot in the vest. Despite taking at least a couple of automatic rounds, he’s fine. And so is his house. I don’t know what they pay FBI agents these days, but the money seems to go a lot farther in Canada.

Ecks, dripping wet and previously on fire, tries to light a cigarette. In a solid win for those Truth campaign people, the FBI agent’s daughter silently disapproves of the smoking before she goes to bed.

Look at the little cutie being cute. It almost makes me not want to kidnap her.

The FBI agent tells Ecks that nobody is running the investigation; they’re suspended pending an inquiry. That means that exactly nobody in this movie is acting within their jurisdiction. If we were in Seattle, though, some of this would at least scan. Vancouver looks a lot like Seattle, I’m just saying.

The head guy, according to this expendable guy who’s somehow still alive, will be fine. The bullet missed his heart by about a centimeter. To this, Ecks responds, “She doesn’t miss.” This is from the deep psychological profile of Sever he took as she blew up the car next to him, set him on fire, and kicked him in the face.


Despite the fact that there is no investigation, FBI Guy willingly hands over his laptop and case notes. Banderas is a rogue cop, playing by his own rules. Also, sometimes he’s on fire.

Back at Sever’s… hideout? …lair? …science camp? …she’s sitting in front of a whole bunch of machines and computers. Once again, she somehow was able to afford not only all this, but blue backlighting.

Well, this all looks official. And to think, Black Widow had to go to an Apple store.

She’s looking at some computer animation which shows the little frog injecting something and the host dying. I originally assumed that she just killed the kid. But he’s fine in his cage. She was just checking what would happen if the nanobot isn’t removed in a few hours. Why is this thing set to kill automatically? Shouldn’t it just run out of power and get flushed from the system? Shouldn’t everyone in this movie be doing something more productive with their time?

“Everything is great, everything is grand. I’ve got the whole wide world in the palm of my hand.”

Sever opens the boy’s cage where he’s still hanging out in the same clothing he was abducted in. She runs a Target price scanner over his arm. In the next scene, she’s preparing a hollow-point bullet with a little syringe next to it. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE UP WITH ALL THIS???!!!

I hate this movie so much. Here’s Sarah Michelle Geller in a 1981 ad for Burger King.

If that doesn’t brighten your day, then you may be dead inside.

We cut back to Ecks screwing around on a laptop. He’s trying to break into DIA records. And of course he’s a L337 Haxor. It’s a waste, though. He could have just called them. Still, it’s a massive moment in movie history. Here, for the first time, Lucy Liu’s character gets a name as Ecks mumbles, “Sever.”

What makes this moment so special is that nowhere on the computer screen does the word “Sever” appear. There’s some nonsense about her being Orphan Class (which we knew) and that she’s a threat to “SoftKill” (which we knew, but still don’t understand). And that’s definitely a picture of Lucy Liu, possibly the one on her driver’s license. Maybe we should just be able to look into her eyes and say, “Of course! Sever! What other name could she possibly have? She looks just like every Sever I’ve met!”

Lucy Liu is no n00b herself, easily finding Ecks’ file, which is far more detailed than hers. She also finds a picture of his wife, Vinn Ecks (Mrs. Law and Order residual checks). For reasons that will become painfully clear, the fact that an FBI agent’s wife’s picture is part of his file is just dumb.

Wait just a darn minute! That’s a picture of Mrs. Gant! Things are coming together!

By the way, “Vinn” is a boy’s name, and the 10.135th most popular in America. I don’t know how it ranks in the anglophone portions of Canada. Really, though, none of this matters. Why? Because we’re about to get a huge info-dump of all of Sever’s motivations. Lucky for us, it’s contained in one handy graphic. Ecks, googling around, finds this:

Dun dun dahhhhhh!

Sever was a mother of a little baby. That’s probably why she’s taking such good care of her hostage. The picture is not Liu’s real son. He wasn’t born until 2015, so he missed this insanity by 13 years.

Coming up in part 4: Ecks goes from versing Sever to vice-versing her, and Lucy Liu taunts the bad guy for no reason whatsoever. Also, we find out what happened to Lucy Liu’s baby.

This is Drew Barrymore, but you get the idea.

Jordon Davis

B.A. Political Science, SUNY Albany - 1991
Master of Public Administration, University of Georgia - 1993
Juris Doctorate, Emory University - 1996

State of Georgia - 1996
State of New York - 1997

Fields Medal (with Laurent Lafforgue and Vladimir Voevodsky) - 1998

Follow Jordon at @LossLeader on Twitter.

Multi-Part Article: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: a recap

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