Kill Command (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 7-Sep-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Trailer-x 4 for other Eagle Entertainment releases
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(34:58)
Featurette-Making Of-(5:34)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 99:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steven Gomez
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Thure Lindhardt
Vanessa Kirby
David Ajala
Bentley Kalu
Mike Noble
Tom McKay
Kelly Gough
Osi Okerafor


Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Stephen Hilton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In the near future robots have taken over many functions previously performed by humans. Medical and scientific advances have also allowed the creation of Techs, humans who have been implanted with a chip which allows them to integrate with robots / computers, becoming almost robots themselves, although the technology is so expensive only a few have been implanted.

     As Kill Command starts a squad of elite marines led by Captain Bukes (Thure Lindhardt), an experienced and calculating leader, are sent to an off-shore training facility for two days to hone their combat skills against robot adversaries. When a Tech, Mills (Vanessa Kirby), accompanies them, Bukes and most of the squad including Robinson (Bentley Kalu), Cutbill (Tom McKay) and Goodwin (Mike Noble) don’t trust her and are hostile, although second in command Drifter (David Ajala) is more open minded, hoping to learn from her. Almost immediately after they are dropped off on the island all communications with the outside world are lost. The marines carry on with their training and move into the forest; they are watched constantly by drones but manage to ambush and destroy a group of robots. But then suddenly the training turns real; the robots learn and fight back and squad members are killed as the hunters become the hunted. The survivors retreat towards the base but as the robots close in their survival may depend on just which side Mills is on.

     Kill Command is a fabulous low budget, non-stop action film by first time writer / director Steven Gomez. He has, however, an extensive background in visual effects and shared an Emmy in 2008 for Inside the Living Body. With Kill Command he uses this experience to full effect as the CGI is outstanding and would put many huge budget Hollywood pictures to shame. The military transport and the various robots look wonderful, and very real, with every scratch, rivet, light source or dent beautifully rendered; you do believe they are there! The film does have a sub-text about the dangers of technology and artificial intelligence, but first and foremost it is a full on action film, part Predator, part Terminator plus any number of war movies! After a short background sequence the film arrives on the island and gets into the action, which seldom stops. The first half of the film is set in a forest with gunfights, explosions, barely seen enemies in the trees, smoke and Predator like “cricket” sound effects to add to the tension until the fighting again suddenly erupts. The second half of the film is set inside a bunker while the climax in an abandoned factory complex against a horde of enemies and a seeming unstoppable robot builds to an explosive, and unsettling, climax.

     Kill Command looks and sounds expensive. It is exciting, loud and explosive, with well-staged action sequences but it still makes time to develop some interesting characters, especially Bukes, Mills and Drifter. And did I mention the wonderful visual effects . . .

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Kill Command is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the original ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Steven Gomez mentions in the extras how they made the decision not to shoot hand-held but to use dolly tracks and fixed cameras and the result is lovely firm detail throughout the film. Colours are glossy and natural although in many sequences a lot of the colour has been reduced, the sky more grey than blue. During the forest scenes it is dull under the trees, the leaves a muted green, while in the bunker and deserted factory the colour palate is also grey. However, the shots and explosions are a bright yellow/red. Blacks and shadow detail are very good, brightness and contrast consistent, skin tones natural.

     There is some noise reduction evident in a couple of dark sequences, but otherwise artefacts or marks were absent.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.

     This audio is a loud, active and enveloping track. Dialogue is mostly clear, although there are some mumbled lines when subs would have helped. Outside of the action scenes the surrounds feature music, insects, engines and Predator type “clicks” which do a wonderful job of building tension before an attack. During the fighting the surrounds and rears are full of gunshots, bullet hits, debris and explosions, including directional pans. The sub-woofer fully supported the explosions, bullets, general mayhem and the music.

     The synthesiser Terminator like score by Stephen Hilton is outstanding, nicely building tension and supporting the action.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

     Trailers for Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2:20), Mythica: The Darkspore (1:40), Heavenly Sword (1:33) and Lost in the Sun (1:48) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Interviews (34:58)

    Writer / director Steve Gomez and cast members Thure Lindhardt, Vanessa Kirby, David Ajala, Tom McKay, Kelly Gough and Osi Okerafor individually answer screen text questions. The Gomez section is the longest at over 14 minutes and he talks about the film’s synopsis, working with various of the actors, the forest location, the decision not to film handheld and the extensive VXF used in the film. The cast members all talk about their characters and acting in a VFX movie while some add comments about the sets, working with other the actors and the director. The whole collection is OK but rather superficial.

Featurette (5:34)

     Short featurette hosted by writer / director Steve Gomez with film footage, some before and after green screen comparisons, on set footage and a look at the SFX department. Gomez offers a brief synopsis of the plot, talks about his background and the visual effects. This is interesting and far too short!!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The UK Region B Blu-ray of Kill Command includes a behind the scenes (14 min), instead of the 5 min one we have, and a VFX featurette (11 min) which, given the heavy VFX in the film, would be interesting. It misses out on our interviews; this is a hard choice but I think the VFX featurette would give the UK version the edge.

Summary

     Other than making the soldiers US Marines when the actors’ accents suggest few had been born any further west than East London, writer / director Steven Gomez has got things right. Kill Command is a treat for action fans and absolutely belies its limited budget with jaw-dropping visual effects, well-staged action sequences and interesting characters. Check it out – you will not be disappointed.

     The video is very good, audio loud and enveloping. The extras are light-weight, but worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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