- on Tuesday, 22 November 2016 08:41
- by Loron Hays
Writer/director Steve Gomez, in this his debut feature film, brings back the intelligence that is largely missing in most of today's science fiction with Kill Command, a violent meditation on the future dangers of artificial intelligence. While there has been a slight return to more thought-provoking material with recent offerings in the genre (Arrival), most entertainment in America drops the ball when it comes to juggling thought and action alongside genre. We seem to think that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
Leave it to the British then to get modern day science fiction right with a quietly intense film like this one.
Kill Command excels with its rather simple material because it confronts the action of a group of U.S. Marines caught by surprise when their own A.I. targets fire back with some real intelligence AND skill. These soldiers aren’t dunderheaded morons screaming “game over” either and, equally exciting, the A.I. intended for their target practice on this remote island, who have armed themselves with deadly weapons, aren’t without their own complications.
The humanization of these alternative forms of life is aided by the presence of Katherine Mills (Vanessa Kirby), a cyborg working for a rather loaded multibillion dollar corporation. She is the first to “see” the reprogramming abnormality and hitches a ride on the next carrier to the island of death. The soldiers – included among them are Captain Damien Bukes (Thure Lindhardt) and Drifter (David Ajala from TNT’s Leverage) – are a bit leery of her at the beginning of their 2-day training mission. Being a walking computer, she can “scan” all of them and know their entire history. Fun fact, though, most people don’t appreciate that. It isn't exactly a warm welcome.
They don’t learn to accept her until bodies are starting to pile up and even then it is a bit strained. Something is wrong with the programming amongst the island-bound A.I. because they are prepared to return fire with deadly accuracy. The sneak. The conspire. They adapt. Lasers and robots are firing and flying every which way and the soldiers fall back time and time again. The Wilhelm scream isn’t missed. Kill Command isn’t trying to be cutesy, but it is entertaining and, as a mystery is uncovered, rewards observant viewers with an unsettling finale.
With a bigger and badder mechanized presence lurking about in the woods, there’s another element at play in all the laser shots and explosions and it is one that elicits fear. Even the calm presence of Mills – whose computer-enhanced brain never powers down for very long – becomes a bit unnerved by the power that comes in the actions of the S.A.R. (Study Analyze Reprogram) units they find themselves up against.
Heavy on the use of EMPs and lethal forces, Kill Command is a deadly phaser blast of intelligent science fiction. It’s visually engaged, full of sleek lines and modern tech, but allows for its secrets to roll out in due time. It doesn’t hesitate. It doesn’t rush. Kill Command simply stuns.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 99 mins
Director: Steven Gomez
Writer: Steven Gomez
Cast: Vanessa Kirby, David Ajala, Mike Noble
Genre: Action | Horror | Sci-Fi
Tagline: You can't fight the future.
Memorable Movie Quote: "."
Theatrical Distributor: Vertical Entertainment.
Release Date: November 25, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: Set in a near future, technology-reliant society that pits man against killing machines.
No details available.