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Review: Kill Switch

Kill Switch
06.12.2017
5 10

PLOT: In the future, a pilot (Dan Stevens) working for a cutting-edge energy conglomerate, must battle his way through an imploding world in order to prevent an earth-bound catastrophe.

REVIEW: In a bid to appeal to gamer culture, Hollywood, every now and then, tries to make first-person adventure films, even though these projects almost never work. Recently, we had HARDCORE HENRY, which amped-up the sex and violence to Rockstar Games-level, but it wound-up being a pricey flop. Enter KILL SWITCH, which aims for a more cerebral approach than HARDCORE HENRY, but has a lot of the same problems - namely that for most of the movie you feel like you’re just watching someone playing a video game.

It’s crazy that Hollywood hasn’t figured out that it’s the immersive aspect, where you control the action, that makes video games so popular. A movie such as KILL SWITCH can’t help but be passive, and in order to work it would have needed to tell a much more ambitious story than it does here - with the premise being pretty old hat.

Much is being made about Dan Stevens, who just had a smash hit with BEAUTY & THE BEAST and is already a fanboy hero thanks to THE GUEST, being the lead. While indeed, he does play the main character, you rarely see him. Rather, we follow his perspective as he runs through a sci-fi battleground, which is supposed to be a kind of Earth copy in decline thanks to the shady dealings of the energy firm he works for.

The only time you really get a sense of Stevens’s charisma, which is absolutely apparent, is during the occasional flashbacks, which show how he was recruited for the project and his family back home. Basically, he’s there for the cut scenes. Otherwise, we just follow his avatar around on various missions, shooting at drones that look plucked from any PS4 shooter. Bond-girl Berenice Marlohe shows up both in the cut scenes and during the extended action sequences, but she makes far less of an impression playing against Stevens’s avatar than she does the real thing in their handful of actual scenes together.

To give the filmmakers credit, KILL SWITCH, which was probably made on a relatively low budget, looks good. Shot in 2:35:1, the production values are high, and had they not opted to shoot it the way they did, it might have been a fun B-grade thriller. That said, it’s doubtful they would have been able to get an A-lister like Stevens with that kind of time commitment, so the shooting style is economical in a way. At least it’s a fairly quick watch, running only ninety minutes, but once the novelty wears off boredom quickly sets in. You could probably just watch someone’s recorded video game playback and get the same charge out of it that KILL SWITCH provides. It’s an interesting experiment, but not much more than that.

Source: JoBlo.com

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