Kill Command – Review

From the clips, trailers and posters, any Sci-Fi buffs, and most importantly Battlestar Gallactica fans, will be fighting their way into theatres for this one. Just don’t expect anything that will completely wow you.

Upcoming director Steven Gomez’s Kill Command initially conjures up an edgy Sci-Fi with a sinister twist, only to be let down by cheesy one liners and a stereotypical “man verse machine” plotline. Subtle classic references point to definitive films of such a genre, alongside some ground breaking effects for such an independent film. However, half of the time is spent quickly reverting to every failure of a TV show that SyFy has ever had.

Of course – credit, where credit’s due: To tackle such a genre whilst creating unique and sublime landscapes and aesthetics supplied by brilliant special effects gurus, Kill Command successfully creates an authentic looking universe that wee can all become lost in and, strangely, it doesn’t feel too far from home. Enter Captain Bukes (Thure Lindhardt), a rather confused man at first as he and a team of soldiers are sent on a mission to an abandoned training facility, with nothing but Mills (Vanessa Kirby), an enhanced human if you will, to make sense of the situation. Part of the thrill here is the suspense and wonder of what is exactly going on here and Mills plays a big part in that.  Vanessa Kirby brings a certain charm and awkwardness to her robotic Mills whilst the rest of the team are distinctly human.

Tracking down a robot that has literally gone rogue and is killing everything in sight, this training facility has transformed into one hell of a Bear Gryll’s survival test (just with the added obstacle course of set-to-kill robots). As the scary thought sets in that this facility was originally put into play to test robots for the armed forces, this become very real for the team.  Current social traits, such as our ever growing reliance on advanced technology crop up here. The wonder of such inventions as well as the fear of them going wrong, or worse over taking entirely is all too close to reality and Gomez does a solid job of bringing that through in this robotic run futuristic landscape. Epic gunfire sequences and impressive CGI for such a project counterbalance the fact that all these characters seem to do, bar a few, is just mess around and naturally blame the super human hybrid for everything that is happening to them.

As we remain as clueless as our lead characters; imagination takes hold but inevitably so does a big cloud of doubt. Doubt that the writers didn’t really know where they were going with this until the last nano second lets any wonderment vanish just as quickly as it appeared.

That being said, Kill Command is an engaging Sci-Fi. Although one can’t help but think what this could have become minus the army banter and every clichéd sci-fi trope in the book.


 Kill Command hits selected cinemas on 13th May 

 

 

The Seventh Fire – Review

Culture.

It’s an important part of who we are. It comes from a long history bestowed onto us from our parents, their parents and so on. Culture is there as an amalgamation of the past and the present. It allows us to remember who we once were whilst still evolving to how the world is now. Culture is so fruitful and vibrant – each country has different subsections that gift our lives with this understanding and love. There are also bad cultures – drug, crime and violent groups that have perforated through history.

Despite this, a lot of the good side of these groups would and should continue thriving to this day. At least, that would be the case if one certain Empire didn’t spend years trying to twist or destroy other cultures. One such community is that of Native Americans. Pushed to near extinction, the traits and history of the Natives, who were ruthlessly cut down by settlers, has left many with this archaic view on the dwindling group and therefore drench them in stereotypesI’m starting this review as such because the terrifically astute and eye-opening documentary The Seventh Fireperhaps places the audience into a subsection of culture they simply forgot about – and allows them to understand the people in the heat of it all.

The Seventh Fire, directed by Jack Pettiebone Riccobono in his first feature, revolves around Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader who lives on a Minnsesota reservation and is facing his fifth stint in prison. As part of the Ojibwe community, he must come to terms with his responsibility and how he abused it, bringing a violent drug culture and introducing it to everyone he knows. Amongst the community is Kevin – a seventeen year old “protégé” who wants to be the biggest drug dealer, following in Rob’s path.

Presented by Terrence Malick and with Natalie Portman as Executive Producer, in its own redolent and alluring way, The Seventh Fire is a necessary watch. The title comes from an old adage of that after the destruction of a culture, the youth will rise in its place and return the community back to the roots and tradition. A title which captures the visceral vein running throughout this film as you urge the young Kevin to change his ways before it’s too late. By no means is this an easy watch – the almost cocksure attitude surrounding drugs and violence will cause you to shuffle in your seats. But these are people, fully fleshed out in front of the camera, that despite their degenerate ways, they have ambition, hope and personality. Rob even regales text and literature which gives depth to a documentary narrative that has been strung out before – drugs, crime, and gangs.


By no means is Jack Pettibone Riccobono is wielding his camera to judge – this isn’t Benefit Street or Ross Kemp and Gangs (which, by the way, isn’t the metaphor I really wanted either but the first that came to mind). The director is aware of how easy it is to implement a story that causes you to tut or lament about the people at the centre of it – which is what steers away from. It’s without a specific agenda other than to showcase the community of the Ojibwes honestly and with all their problems – self-inflicted or imposed. It’s with this narrative that The Seventh Fire opens to its audience and allows you to engage with Brown and Fineday and their whole community as observers rather than criticize. All the while, this does not silence your thoughts and you’ll leave mulling over the situations and the pseudo-gangsters who, in some way, try to immortalise pop culture icons (there’s even a Scarface poster above them at one point which is very indicative to how they believe their drug empire should’ve gone).

There are times where the film drags with no coherent aim, especially the beginning but as the real-life characters of Rob Brown and Kevin Fineday are introduced, the film comes into it’s own. Without this conscious thought, it’s bloody difficult to ease yourself into it. However, when you do – the film burns with this story of almost redemption? Certainly it has this element of understanding and captures a piece of America which has never before seen on screen. And despite the issues here within the Ojibwes “tribe”, it is a film about humanity still  and how, even now, it could thrive with hope once more.


The Seventh Fire is out May 13th 

Cabin Fever – 30 Second Trailer

Out in Hollywood somewhere, nestled in the sunny streets of LA, locked a filing cabinet somewhere there is a list. A black list, if you will. On this list, there are scripts that haven’t been produced but should be produced, you know? This is the crème de la crème of writing. And some don’t even get made.

That’s the top tier of writing. Just a handful of unmade stuff. Then there is a million of scripts that no one even sniffs at. So imagine there is yet another remake of Cabin Fever. Another version of a horror film that has had its glory.

Think of that next time your original idea is panned.

If you don’t know the original, or anything about this one, Cabin Fever revolves around a group of teenagers who go to a cabin (because nothing ever went wrong in a cabin) and find themselves exposed to a deadly flesh eating virus that easily deteriorates anyone who comes in the slightest of contact with the illness.

Here it is, thirty seconds of the nonsense…. That’s all I’m going to say.  Thirty seconds of nonsense.


Cabin Fever is out 13th May

Queen of Katwe – Brand New Trailer!

You know, it’s that time of year where Disney release a live-action film that isn’t a Marvel film and is always based on an inspiring underdog story. It’s a very niche market for the studio who is literally raking in the pennies from The Force Awakens but has been a staple of our cinematic lives. The Mighty Ducks, and, more recently, The Million Dollar Arm – they’ve all had varying levels of success.

Now there’s Queen of Katwe, which looks to smash the expectations of Disney’s non-superhero, non-Star Wars, feature films.

Based in the slums of Uganda, the impoverished 10 year old Phiona lives a determined but struggling life. Her mother Harriet is fiercely trying to keep her family with a roof of who sell vegetables in the markets, When Phiona stumbles upon a chess team and their training, she is invited by Coach Robert Katende to develop her skills in concentration, strategy, and risk taking.  Through her success is chess, Phiona is opened up to the world of learning and education but as she begins to break away from her family, her mother is reluctant to let her go.

The film has stars Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo as well as introducing newcomer Madina Malwanga. So with such a stellar cast, the film has a lot of promise. But can it rise above recent inspiring movies that have panned?


Queen of Katwe has no official UK release but is out  September in US.