Toronto After Dark 2016 Review: KILL COMMAND, A Promising Debut From FX Supervisor Steven Gomez
KILL COMMAND Proves Steven Gomez's Ability For Effects Heavy Cinema
An elite squad is sent to a remote island for a dull and routine training session. A techie, a cyber enhanced human, Mills, is assigned to the group to monitor the team and investigate mysterious line of code in the facility’s operating system.
The grounds are patrolled by military robots run by the facility. The first round of training goes to the squad as they easily hand the patrolling robots their shiny metal asses. Mills however detects something is amiss and discovers a larger robot deep in the woods, monitoring the first strike, studying the squad. That night one of the team members goes missing and when they discover the body the next morning the team is systematically ambushed the exact way they ambushed the robotic squad the previous day. Someone is taking their tactics and using them against them.
Now the squad must fight off an evolving robotic death squad before the scheduled pick up. If Mills can find out how these robots are adapting so quickly perhaps she can save the lives of the rest of the squad.
During the deconstructive chatter outside the cinema after the screening we all agreed that Steven Gomez's Kill Command is very much like Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers. Very much. Elite squad goes into the woods, are hunted down by a superior force until their numbers dwindle to a few, and stage a desperate last stand where they find a way to beat their foe. That should be more of a compliment than anything else because Marshall’s film is held in high regard in genre film circles.
What Steven Gomez achieves here with his low budget feature length debut is an okay action film that seamlessly blends in great looking special effects. That is due to Gomez’s background in special effects over the years. If you love military tech and killer robots the production design are top shelf.
The cast is good. Vanessa Kirby points those blue eyes at the screen so much you would expect to see into her soul. The squad themselves are your mix of archetypes and personalities. Some are tough, hardened killers. Some have a bit of a mouth. One character, Goodwin, whiffs of Bill Paxton’s Hudson from Aliens, in that ‘we’re in it over our head’ kind of way. But despite the American patch on their uniforms this squad is still very British in the way they conduct themselves, civilized if you will, in this UK made action thriller.
Despite the hailstorm of bullets and hardware descending upon them at any given moment the squad still maintains a measure of composure that is distinctly British. If someone made time for a cupper I would not have been surprised. Keep Calm and Kill Robots.
This is a good calling card for Gomez. As an introduction to his capabilities as a director Gomez shows he can do flashy. Our concern for him is the same for anyone that can pull off a good looking film on a minimal budget, that it will be expected of them every opportunity that they are given. If this is how Gomez chooses to eek out a living that is fine, he has proven that he can do it. If he would like to put something away for a rainy day and work on bigger budget films that is up to him to choose his next projects wisely and gradually build up that resume so he gets bigger pay days.
We would very much like to see what Gomez can do with a better story. The storyline in Kill Command is simply a template that allows Gomez to display his skill sets to a greater audience. Kill Command should garner the attention of projects that need someone with the knowledge and experience working with effects ladened productions. Steven Gomez could be that person.
- Steven Gomez
- Steven Gomez
- Vanessa Kirby
- David Ajala
- Mike Noble
- Bentley Kalu
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