Review: ‘Kill Hole’ a muddled thriller about war veterans

Leaving aside the rather unfortunate title that makes it sound like a far more ridiculous exploitation film, “The Kill Hole” is a promising debut for writer-director Mischa Webley, even as he often seems to get in his own way. Made up of four or five story ideas all crammed together, the film maintains a stop-start momentum at best that keeps it from ever hitting a solid stride.

Chadwick Boseman, soon to be seen as Jackie Robinson in “42,” here plays an Iraq war veteran named Drake trying to put his battle-scarred past behind him, but who is dragged into a mercenary mission to keep damaging information from his time over there from leaking out. Tory Kittles, also in the current “Olympus Has Fallen,” plays Carter, something of Drake’s spiritual double and a man who knows their shared dark truths. When the two men stalk each other through the remote Oregon woods, the film becomes a pared-down action thriller.

Billy Zane plays a group therapy leader in a series of scenes featuring real-life veterans, but their raw intensity sits awkwardly against the thriller mechanics of the Drake/Carter story. The film also teases an underdeveloped friction between private security contractors and regular military veterans. Scenes of Drake’s lonely life as a nighttime cabbie in Portland, Ore., knowingly lift shots and moments from “Taxi Driver,” while Carter’s story line points to “First Blood.” Though the film at times works scene by scene, Webley can’t quite tie it all together. A disjointed jumble, “The Kill Hole” can’t dig itself out.



“The Kill Hole.”

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes.

At the Rave Cinema, Baldwin Hills.


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