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Tim Smit
Dan Stevens, Bérénice Marlohe, Tygo Gernandt
Writing Credits:
Charlie Kindinger, Omid Nooshin

A pilot battles to save his family and the planet after an experiment for unlimited energy goes wrong.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 8/22/2017

• Audio Commentary with Director Tim Smit
• “Inside the Director’s Process” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Kill Switch [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 9, 2017)

Fresh off the enormous success of the live-action Beauty and the Beast, Dan Stevens returns with the direct-to-video thriller Kill Switch. Set in an unspecified near future, a business called “Alterplex” harnesses quantum energy via a large tower.

Alterplex manages this feat via the creation of a mirror world they call “The Echo”, one supposed to be devoid of living organisms. Physicist/former NASA pilot Will Porter (Stevens) gets the assignment to travel to the Echo with a device intended to balance the connection between the two locations, but he finds himself confronted with a much bigger, more dangerous task.

I can’t claim to know the first movie to use ample amounts of “first-person” photography, but that technique goes back at least as far as 1947’s Dark Passage. While that film – and many others – featured the method only part of the time, 2016’s Hardcore Henry went whole hog and gave the viewer the first-person POV for almost its entire running time.

Switch doesn’t go that far, as we get a fair amount of more traditional photography, but the majority of the movie comes straight from Porter’s perspective. This occurs for no logical reason and feels like a gimmick.

At least the first-person method made sense in Dark Passage, as story purposes required it to avoid shots of the character whose perspective we saw. No similar logic comes with Switch, as it seems to use first-person solely to give the flick a nutty video game feel.

This flops. Rather than immerse us in the action, the first-person POV just feels pointless, and it also forces us to suffer through an awful lot of narration.

Despite all sorts of action, Method often becomes way more “tell” than “show”. Porter blathers on and on about what he experiences and we tend to wish we’d get exposition and information via more natural methods.

Switch features occasional flashbacks to Porter’s life prior to his violent experiences in “The Echo”. These shots stand out as clumsy exposition in a film that never finds a narrative flow.

Still, it’s the first-person moments that grate the most, partly because we get stuck with all that narration. I think Stevens boasts talent but here he can’t muster a convincing American accent, and given how much we hear him talk, that turns into a distraction.

Speaking of which, Switch features Bérénice Marlohe as a corporate executive. That part I can swallow, but I can’t figure out why her character wears raccoon-like eye makeup and flashes so much cleavage. Is that supposed to be a trend in the “near future”?

Kill Switch comes with some decent action at times, and it sports reasonably good visual effects for a low-budget affair. Unfortunately, these pieces lack impact because the rest of the movie sputters so often. With a jumbled story, photographic gimmicks and a general lack of purpose, this becomes a disappointing excuse for a sci-fi thriller.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Kill Switch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered largely positive visuals.

Though usually solid, sharpness occasionally took a minor hit, mainly via wide shots from Porter’s POV. Other than some minor softness in those images, though, the film came across as pretty sharp and well-defined. No issues with jaggies or shimmering materialized, and I witnessed no edge haloes or source flaws.

To the surprise of no one, Switch opted for a heavy teal orientation, with some orange/amber in “flashback” shots. Within those constraints, the colors seemed fine. Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows presented nice delineation. Despite the occasional soft shot, this mainly became a pleasing image.

With a lot of action on display, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack used the different channels to fine effect. Various vehicles, gunfire, explosions and other elements cropped up all around the room and created a strong sense of excitement. They all blended together well and formed an immersive setting that served the film in a compelling manner.

Audio quality was satisfying as well. Effects played the most prominent role, and they sounded clear and accurate, with deep and firm low-end.

Music presented good range and clarity as well, and speech was crisp and concise. I felt satisfied with this solid soundtrack.

Only a couple of extras appear here, and the prime attraction comes from an audio commentary with director Tim Smit. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, visual effects, sets and locations, music, editing and various other areas.

Smit went the Robert Rodriguez route on Kill Switch and wore many different hats. That means this should become a fascinating look at the “one-man show” nature of the production, and occasionally Smit does give us some strong notes.

However, the track never quite clicks into gear. While we get a reasonable amount of information about the film, Smit also tends to narrate the action too often. This becomes a decent but somewhat disappointing chat.

The Visual Effect: Inside the Director’s Process runs four minutes, 51 seconds and provides more info from Smit. He covers his sketch notebook, designs, concept art and storyboards and visual effects. Smit crushes through a lot of topics in a short period and makes this an effective little piece.

The disc opens with ads for The Assignment, Come and Find Me, The Girl With All the Gifts, Hunter’s Prayer and Cell. No trailer for Kill Switch appears here.

Between its annoying first-person photography and its muddled story, Kill Switch fails to achieve its goals. Though the sci-fi premise shows potential, the movie can’t come together to succeed. The Blu-ray offers pretty good picture along with immersive audio and a few bonus materials. Despite occasional glimmers of life, Kill Switch doesn’t connect in a meaningful manner.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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