Eye For Film >> Movies >> Kill Command (2016) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
In a near future world, a group of soldiers is airlifted to an island for a training exercise. Their task is to try and avoid surveillance drones and to hunt down and kill robotic practice targets. But something has gone wrong. After one of their number is killed and it becomes clear that the robots are fighting for real, the routine exercise turns into a battle for survival.
You've seen this film before. It doesn't try to hide its multifarious origins, lifting the odd line directly from the Terminator films, but it has more in common with late night CBS Action fare than with the classics it aspires to imitate. Nevertheless, for a small budget UK production it looks good. The drone design may be silly (they have to stop and open up like flowers so that we know what they're doing, rather than operating in the far more efficient manner of real world drones) but it makes an impression, and most of the robots are patterned after very effective existing models. They look a lot more dangerous than the humanoid foes in much such fare.
Providing a physical as well as existential human-robot interface is Mills (Vanessa Kirby), modded human who has built-in internet access and can hack some of the island's computer systems. Her ability to look up their personal details makes the troops wary of her, a tension best exploited in an early scene in their transport, and as things start to go pear-shaped some of them wonder which side she's really on. There seems to be an attempt at implying she too is troubled by this, and thereby to give the film depth, but despite her capable performance it doesn't really work. This is not a film for thinkers, it's a film for people who like to see lots of running about and things exploding. In this regard it's functional enough - it just needs a little more variety.
Fans of Seventies science fiction television may feel a twinge of nostalgia at the creation of futurescapes out of disused industrial buildings. The film badly needs more charismatic acting, though Bentley Kalu and Kelly Gough both acquit themselves well. It also needs more plot, struggling to pad itself out to an overambitious 99 minutes, and one gets the sense that the editor was overly sentimental about what had been shot. Consequently, it's a natural fit for straight-to-VOD, which is a shame, because there's the seed here of something that could have had a much bigger impact. Maybe next time.Reviewed on: 26 Jun 2016