What makes an action film? Explosions, bullets, muscly dudes, big vehicles, more explosions and of course, the total babe that the most muscly dude of all saves at the end of the film, right? Well, sometimes, but if there’s one thing that no action film can survive without it’s a basic story that we, as the audience, can get behind. Explosions and really hard punches are awesome and all, but they can get tiresome (believe it or not) if we don’t believe, or even care, in what our hero is trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Tim Smit, and the team behind this year’s KILL SWITCH, got that memo.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t heavily research this film before I watched it. I rarely do because I want to go into a film as distanced as possible in efforts to be as objective and impartial as possible. All I knew was that Dan Stevens is in it, and he’s awesome (have you seen The Guest?), so I was good to go. As soon as I finished the film and began my research everything made perfect sense. Tim Smit is a visual effects supervisor. Ah-ha!
Literally the only thing worth noting about this film is the visual effects. That’s just about it. It is stuck in some kind of action-film purgatory between an apocalyptic epic and a first-person shooter video game. The video game aspect ultimately wins out, and unfortunately it wasn’t really revolutionary or executed well enough to be truly pulled off. Dan Stevens dialogue feels forced and purely expository, and having the co-stars stare directly into your face and yell their lines seems a little too invasive of your personal space.
To focus on some other aspects of the film, I often find myself getting confused while watching the film. I often wondered if I had missed some key plot point to help me understand what I was watching to only realize that they had yet to fully explain what was going on. Plot points would come at strange points throughout the film, often between Dan Stevens’ numerous concussions (is it even possible for someone to experience 5 within the span of a few hours). And when they were included they sometimes seemed forced, as if the writer forgot that they needed to explain why an astronaut was chosen to serve as a one man infantry unit against a military of drones and soldiers.
The film ultimately proved to be a bit tiresome and drawn out. Looking back on it, it felt almost like Tim Smit was using it as an excuse to have a 90 minute long effects reel to show off where his true talents lie. All that said, I didn’t necessarily hate it, but as far as a solid action film goes, this one was way off the mark for me.