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Computer graphics were turned all the way up in 'Kill Switch'

Computer graphics were turned all the way up in 'Kill Switch'
Dan Stevens in the film "Kill Switch." (Saban Films / Lionsgate)

Imagining the imminent end of the world has been boring for years now in movies, and the low-budget sci-fi thriller "Kill Switch" is no exception. The near-future set-up is the implementation of a game-changing new power source, created by a secretive corporation called Alterplex, in which a second, identical world is created from which to draw energy.

When the experiment misfires, they send new hire Will (Dan Stevens), an ex-NASA pilot, into the "echo" universe to disable the beam-emitting tower of energy. What Will finds is a situation hairier, and more nefarious, than he realized.

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Writer-director-palindrome Tim Smit, an effects guy making his feature debut, has a germ of an idea for a nifty chase scenario that mixes paranoia, parallel-world fizziness and apocalyptic action. But it's an illogical, simple-minded mess in which Stevens is primarily a disembodied voice in a first-person-shooter-style video game movie, designed to showcase interface graphics a la "Minority Report" and digitally altered urban skies.

When the occasional non-POV flashback tries to establish the emotional center of Will's life — home scenes with Will's sister (Charity Wakefield) and nephew (Kasper van Groesen) — they feel obligatory rather than organic. You can sense Smit itching to get back to an exploding drone or an ocean liner sucked into a hole in the gray clouds rather than parse the finer points of a narrative built around mirror realms.

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'Kill Switch'

Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Rated: R, for language and some violence

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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