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Categories: Movie Reviews

And it’s got some of the worst dialogue in recent memory.

killcommand

One thing that I almost always enjoy in a film is when it can effectively incorporate a popular social or political issue into its very plot and dialogue. This is the main reason I was so intrigued by Kill Command after watching its trailer and digging a little deeper into what the film was actually about. While my hopes weren’t exactly high going into the film, I still can’t help but feel disappointed; the writer and director Steven Gomez missed an opportunity to drive home what is actually a very interesting idea.

The plot of Kill Command on its own is brilliant and kept my interest throughout the film. The story starts as generic as any other military action film, revolving around your classic diverse and charismatic marine squad. They are then paired up with our main protagonist, played by Vanessa Kirby, who, of course, they initially don’t like due to her being the black sheep of the film since she’s some form of cyborg. However, where the story gets interesting is when they are sent to a training facility far away on an island, testing against the most recently made military-funded artificial intelligence.

With complex AI being a common, controversial subject amongst politicians and scientists alike at the moment, it’s a great time to release films touching on the very issues that are being discussed, as well as to capitalize upon the fear surrounding the subject itself. While watching the film it becomes clearer that it’s working off of one hypothetical event known as the Technological Singularity, in which AI would be capable of extreme self improvement by progressively redesigning itself up to a point of a runaway effect, at which point their intelligence would surpass all human control and understanding. Now you would think that this controversial, complex issue would draw with it interesting and thought-provoking dialogue, but sadly the dialogue in Kill Command, in addition to the rather poor delivery by the cast, is actually the biggest obstacle to enjoying the film.

killcommand2

After finishing Kill Command my first instinct was to look into the director’s previous work, thinking it would give me some insight into how some of the dialogue and its delivery could have come out feeling so sloppy and generic. While I must admit I wasn’t expecting much, I certainly wasn’t expecting only one other directing and writing credit for a short sixteen minute film from 1996. I would imagine most film fans would agree that one key part of its production, that can also make or break a film’s success, is the director. I would also hope they would agree that experience is a rather important part of that director’s own success as well, and that maybe you start out writing something small like a sitcom rather than a film touching on the controversial subject of complex AI and where its limits should stand. Without being too hard on Mr Gomez, I must admit that the action scenes themselves are actually pretty fun to watch, and the visual effects are what make the combat so eye catching. Sadly, though, flashy firefights and believable visual effects aren’t enough to recommend this, especially when a lot of the film feels as though you’ve seen it all before.

A common character that seems to accompany these types of sci-fi, horror, action films is the cyborg or highly-altered humanoid. I personally have nothing against it, and when it’s done right, for instance like Michael Fassbender’s performance in Prometheus as a highly advanced android, it can be a really creative look at our future. However, in the hands of a less experienced actor what ends up being displayed comes off as less a highly intelligent being with a lack of complete social boundaries, and instead more of a sedated socially and possibly mentally inept bore. I haven’t seen any of Kirby’s previous work, and after watching her command a starring role I really don’t feel the need to. So not to single out her performance alone, I will say that the rest of the cast’s performance isn’t any more believable, and I often felt that even I could deliver the formulaic banter between the soldiers better than they. However, with terrible zingers like “I took inspiration from your apartment, dipshit” when jokingly asked if they decorated a dark tunnel, I might find it just as hard to make it sound non-rehearsed, especially when it feels like there should be an eighties laugh track added behind every corny quip. Again, though, this may have easily been avoided if directed by someone with more experience working with actors as well as writing for them.

If you’ve come to this point and you’re still not quite sure whether or not you want to see Kill Command, I would say that this would be a perfect film to watch when it’s streamable free on Netflix or some other service. I could see it being a good film to watch when having a bunch of friends over where you don’t want to fully invest all your attention on the screen. So all in all, while Kill Command may not win any awards for its complex and encapsulating view on the dangers of AI, but the action scenes will keep your friends’ attention long enough to fill any awkward silences at a party.

Kill Command is out now in select cinemas.

James P.W. Sinclair

A massive fan of all things pertaining to film, and an avid movie analyst, I have written reviews for my own pleasure for many years. As horror and comedy are my two favorite genres, I hope to one day produce a film that rivals the classic “Shaun of the Dead”. In the meantime, while taking a break from further education overseas I am filling my time with whatever writing comes my way, and revisiting a number of half-finished scripts that had long been forgotten.

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Posted on May 24, 2016

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