6.5 out of 10
Release Date: 27th June 2016 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Steven Gomez
Cast: Vanessa Kirby, David Ajala, Thure Lindhardt, Mike Noble, Tom McKay, Kelly Gough, Osi Okerafor and Bentley Nalu
Writer: Steven Gomez
Trailer: KILL COMMAND
Steven Gomez’s debut is one of the better original sci-fis out there at the moment. Doing wonders with a smallish budget it rivals a lot of bigger films for ideas. Kill Command smuggles some interesting ideas into a standard ‘men on a mission’ template. So it delivers top notch action as well as giving you pause to stop and think too.
A small team of soldiers are summoned to an island on a training exercise. What begins as a routine skirmish with some drones and self-automated weaponry, someone somewhere wants to see how some new advanced robots work in a simulated combat situation. Alongside the group of soldiers is a cyborg observer (VANESSA KIRBY – JUPITER ASCENDING) who programmes the robots at assmebly line stage. When the new robots begin to pick off the soldiers in a series of ambushes, the cyborg comes under suspiscion as being in league with the tech.
The soldiers are a basic lot, but most of the boring ones are picked off in rough order of interoduction on the helicopter ride in. This is where the film flounders, characterisation is minimal before the shit hits the fan. Only three of the 8 soldiers are given anything to do besides die promptly. One is characterised by having a robot eye implant (BENTLEY NALU) to make him a better sniper, but that’s hardly depth. Thure Lindhardt (THE BORGIAS) is the sarge but he makes zero impact. It’s down to David Ajala (FAST AND FURIOUS 6) and he gets the most interesting character out of the humans. He is inquistive about the cyborg because he’s never worked closely with one before and he’s genuinely interested in the place technology can take the human race, as opposed to the other ‘techist’ squad members. The cyborg is a complex character, who was born without full use of her body until the ‘company’ offered to complete her if she worked for them. She has a natural affinity for how the malevolent machines work and she could be the only one with the key to saving her squad.
The new robots look like a deadly, giant version of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, but despite this they are menacing. Remember Ed209‘s malfunction? Well when the characters go up to sleeping robots to download / upload / fiddle you feel the urge to hold your breath. They are characterised with some eerie sound bites like repeating the word ‘Error’ before going batshit.
Kill Command works as a good, sleak action sci-fi and it has a nice bit of icing on about the nature of sentience in man-made tech. But it doesn’t try to be Bladerunner or Solaris. So whilst a longer cut may have allowed for some characterisation and depth to be sketched into the lesser members of the squadron, it still works well. The robots are fantastic too.
6.5 out of 10 – Slick, action sci-fi with very cool special effects and some interesting side stories. Thin characterisation almost ruins it. Recommended for the best low-budget sci-fi of 2016 so far.
Review below by Matt Usher
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Vanessa Kirby: Bone In the Throat, Genius, Me Before You, Everest, Queen & Country, Jupiter Ascending The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, The Rise, About Time
- David Ajala: Brotherhood (2017), Starred Up, Jupiter Ascending, Fast and Furious 6, Offender, Payback Season, Adulthood
- Thure Lindhardt: Despite The Falling Snow, The Bridge (TV), The Borgias (TV), Fast and Furious 6, Brotherhood (2009), Flame & Citron, Into The Wild, Pelle The Conqueror
- Mike Noble: Bachelor Games
- Tom McKay: The White Queen (TV), Wrong Turn 3
- Kelly Gough: The Fall (TV)