Directed by: Tim Smit
Starring: Dan Stevens, Bérénice Marlohe, Tygo Gernandt, Charity Wakefield
Run Time: 1h 31min
2 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
Kill Switch stars Dan Stevens as Will Porter. He’s introduced to us as a normal family man who’s excited about watching a spectacular event with his family. At the start of said event, a rocket of some kind taking off, we’re with him then he’s inside of a cockpit all of the sudden and he’s disoriented. Suddenly, the film becomes Hardcore Henry meets… I don’t know, Logan Run, Resident Evil or anything in that ballpark. As he tries to discover what’s going on, you are, too. This is not necessarily a good thing. It’s not all bad but too much of it becomes the larger problem the movie will ultimately face. There’s potential but halfway through the movie, you wish you had some sort of kill switch of your own. Sadly for Smit, you do… your off button.
Through many flashbacks and flash forwards, the story, mostly told from, literally, Porter’s POV, the story unfolds. Porter gets an invite to work for a company named Alterplex. The pay and bennies are good so why not. Well, here’s the tricky part. They want to create a duplicate universe; an entire copy except for all life so that they can harness its energy to store it for use on ours. This will outshine fossil fuels, solar, wind and nuclear power. After signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement, Porter learns more and isn’t too crazy about his part of it but; why not? What could go wrong? All they want him to do is jump into it, reach the base of the tower and plug the thing in! Maybe he’ll be home for dinner?
Through the crazy amount of flashbacks and such, that I previously mentioned, he sees that they were able to achieve their goals of creating this universe but it now wants what it lacks. Hmmm… Is it thinking now? If it was programmed right, why would this happen? Porter sees a portal hovering above the city. It’s sucking things into it and maybe, just maybe, he can do something to stop this! Well, he and a band of rebels who knew that what Alerplex was up to was no good in the first place. Luckily he finds a friend there and they head off to save the world.
First-time director Tim Smit is smart by choosing Stevens to star in his film. A versatile actor, in such things as Beauty and the Beast, Downton Abbey and Colossal, he’s getting better with each project. Right now, he’s all over the place so why not here? Since the film is based on Smit’s short, he needed a name and Stevens was the right choice to get the film going and to garnish the attention it needed to bring an audience sniffing around. However, some shorts really should stay that way. This wild first-person perspective, FX heavy narrative where you’re stuck inside someone’s head for the entire length of the film was maddening at times. Watching a first person shooting game isn’t as exciting as the experience of playing that game yourself. When it’s a 360-degree film, we’ll be onto something that’s worth exploring and I’m sure it’s coming but until then, I hope this trend ends. Kill Switch, as appealing as some of the visuals are, I’m sad to say, isn’t captivating enough to hold your interest for the ninety minutes needed to get through it… you find yourself looking at your watch rather than paying much attention to the movie itself. Loved Hardcore Henry? Give it a look on video. If not, it’s a skip. I’ll give Kill Switch one thing, though. The ending was something I didn’t see coming and I really liked that.