Review: Computer graphics were turned all the way up in ‘Kill Switch’


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.

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.


‘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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