May 9, 2017
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002): a recap (part 5 of 6)
Previously on Ballistic: Ecks v. Sever: Benjamin Bratt’s wife did her eyebrows, and Lucy Liu gave Antonio Banderas a note.
So Sever gets a note with a number and street.
I was going to complain that the address doesn’t contain a city or even a country. There’s no reason for Ecks to believe that his wife is in Vancouver. But the very first result on Google is an actual house in British Columbia, so never mind. If it’s any consolation, it’s not the same house as the one in the movie. Also, it’s a forty-minute drive to the Vancouver Public Library, so that’s inconvenient.
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Gant is pacing around his waterfront mansion in Canada that he affords on a government salary when his men come in. Ross/Toad/Maul tells him that Ecks escaped and is working with Sever. He didn’t witness any of it, but he’s in tight enough with Vancouver PD that I’ll allow him this assumption. He says they have less than twelve hours.
Mrs. Gant/Ecks/Bratt busts into the study and has the same conversation with Gant that she did before. He claims to be working on it. He touches her elbow, she pulls away and tells him, “Leave.” I’m beginning to worry about the state of their marriage. She storms out.
Michael’s still hanging out in his cage where he somehow has gotten hold of a stuffed pacific white-sided dolphin (just remember this). Sever comes up the stairs, unlocks the door, and puts down a tray of food. She then leaves without saying anything, because Lucy Liu apparently charges by the word. But we know she cares by the fact that the camera lingers on the dinner and it’s specifically kids’ food.
Or does she? Let’s look at that tray:
By Grabthar’s hammer, that’s a terrible dinner. Mac and cheese checks out, but a Twinkie, Hostess Cupcake, Jell-O, and a brownie? That’s 160 grams of carbs and, like, no grams of vitamin C. This kid won’t die from the nanofrog. It’ll be a race between scurvy and diabetes.
We see a really nice car being driven up the coast, followed by another really nice car. That’s how we know they won’t blow up. Mrs. Gant drives to the aquarium. Ecks, following her, gets out of his car. And he’s still in the same suit, half-charred, dirt all over it, and somehow he’s still wet.
Whatshername stands quietly and weirdly alone, watching Helen, the pacific white-sided dolphin, at what I’m now sure is the real Vancouver Aquarium. Ecks slowly approaches his dead wife with a soft, “Hello, Vinn.” And let’s take a moment to appreciate that:
- Sever, as a DIA operative, knew Mrs. Gant.
- It was only after seeing the photo in the FBI database that she realized Mrs. Gant was the same person the crazy Spaniard was screaming about.
- But Agent Martin said Sever knew about Ecks’ wife long before Sever herself figured it out…
- …which means that Julio Martin was lying from the moment he first sat down and knew where Sever’s wife was the whole time.
- And Gant had to know things were going south as soon as his wife’s husband showed up at the library.
It’s like an Escher print of stupidity folding in on itself.
But the stupid is really just getting rolling. Ecks and Vinn (it’s Vinn from now on) reunite tenderly in front of Helen, the dolphin. Then, in a very confusing edit, they’re sitting in a café and he tells her that he’s taking a deep cover assignment. She begs him not to, but he says it’s his job. Gant walks into the room. And then… Vinn and Ecks are back at the aquarium with Helen. The conversation in the café was a flashback… probably?
Vinn asks Ecks why this happened to them. If you guessed the answer is exploding cars, you’re right. But you kind of cheated, because the answer to everything in this movie is exploding cars.
So we’re back in the flashback. Gant has entered the café and comes over to the table where Vinn, Ecks, and some other woman (Gant’s girlfriend or wife or tax attorney or something) are seated. Everyone greets him warmly. What is this other woman doing there? Was she there while Vinn and Ecks were having the conversation about him going undercover? Also, Gant is going by the name Clark.
Clark has already put in motion his plan to steal Vinn. I’ll describe it, but be warned: it has to do with exploding cars. After they finish lunch, Ecks goes to his car while Vinn goes to hers. As she’s watching him wave, Clark pushes a remote button and Ecks’ vehicle blows the hell up.
Vinn now thinks Ecks is dead. He’s not. He’s been knocked back but looks up just in time to see Vinn’s car explode.
So Ecks now thinks Vinn is dead and Vinn thinks he is, too. It’s not stated explicitly, but Clark must have then whisked her away in a car and told her that she was in danger. Then she probably said, “Grave danger?” And he would have answered, “Is there any other kind?” So she followed him to Vancouver. They changed their identities to Gant and, to stay under the radar, bought a couple million-dollar waterfront mansion.
And this plan worked. Ecks, an FBI agent, never bothered looking into whether anyone found his wife’s charred corpse or who, for that matter, would have wanted to explode her. Vinn immediately cut off all ties to friends and family and never once in seven years snuck off to the library to google Ecks’ obituary.
But the real stupidity is that Ecks had just told her he was taking a deep cover assignment. Did she not think for a second that the exploding cars were just a ruse to “kill” Ecks so he could go undercover? Apparently not. In seven years, she asked no questions whatsoever.
And the DIA seems to be good with this, because they’re still writing Gant checks.
So Vinn and Gant had a child and raised him as their own. That’s inconvenient. No problem; Vinn tells Ecks that she was already pregnant and Michael is his son. Also, she never loved Gant; her only true love was Ecks. Maybe, but Gant hung around her and raised her son, so even though the movie doesn’t want you to think about it, she and Gant definitely boned. She rode him at a gallop.
What is there to do now? Gant knows his little show is over. Ecks suggests that they run. They do. They run away from the aquarium. A helicopter is closing in and suspicious-looking cars are creeping up. The danger is palpable, until a really nice, non-exploding car screeches to a stop in front of them. The driver rolls down the window and you’ll never guess who it is. Yes, you will. It’s Sever. She says to get in, and after some intense staring, Ecks and Vinn do.
It’s nice of Sever to save them and all, but why couldn’t she have just driven Ecks there in the first place? Instead, she had to tail him for forty minutes to Lions Bay, then half an hour back to the aquarium, then drive around waiting for them. And Michael, the boy she’s “protecting”, has been alone with nothing but delicious Hostess brand dessert products the entire time.
Sever and her passengers take a very leisurely drive back to her lair. They’re being followed by a helicopter, a fact that Sever says she knows. So bringing Gant’s wrath down upon her is actually part of her plan. Seeing as Gant blew up her house with a damn drone, I’m not sure why she would expect to: a) have any time before an attack; b) have any idea where the attack would come from; or c) expect little Michael to survive it.
But this is Sever, so her plan goes perfectly. She brings Vinn and Ecks into her bunker/silo/whatever (we never see the exterior). She tosses Vinn the keys to Michael’s cell, and the mother and child are reunited. Also, Sever has made him a mobile of, like, ten paper cranes.
Ecks hangs a lampshade on the outright lunacy of Sever’s plan by telling her that he could have been killed on the prison bus. Sever smirks and answers, “But you weren’t.” Sure, Sever, you’re the Buddha of psychopaths.
Michael’s out of his cage and a little curious who the soaking wet, half-exploded man is. Ecks introduces himself with a nice, “Hello, I am Jeremy.” First of all, it’s not “Jeremy”, you Spanish schmuck. It’s “Jeremiah”. Second, you can actually hear Antonio Banderas’ brain sizzle as he tries to pronounce the J.
For reasons best known to Ecks and Sever, they lock Vinn and Michael in a freight elevator and send it to the top of the silo. Ecks says, “You’ll be safe in here.” Once again, Gant’s preferred method of attack is drone strike. Do elevators usually fare well in those?
In any case, Sever takes Ecks to a damn walk-in closet full of guns, and they both gear up.
But I’m pretty happy, overall, because we’ve finally reached the end of the plot. All that’s left is the shooting.
Coming up next: The ending, lots and lots of shooting, and, let’s pretend, a Bollywood-style dance number.