If you’re expecting another “Robot Overlords” then you’re in for a bit of a treat. “Kill Command”, the debut feature from writer/ director Steven Gomez avoids starry names in favour of impressive special effects and a tight, muscular narrative that keeps things lean and mean.
In the not too distant future, a group of Marines are disappointed to learn they’ve been selected for a training exercise. Accompanying them on the mission as an observer is a cybernetically enhanced officer of the Harbinger Corporation. But the observation is a cover for her to investigate a programming anomaly in the training facility’s AI units.
Plenty of recent films have explored the benign side of the technological singularity but “Kill Command” returns us firmly to the threat posed by artificial intelligence. Utilising his background as a visual effects supervisor, Gomez makes impressive use of CGI and special effects to get the most from his modest budget. While there’s nothing especially unique about the story elements, they’re brought together and explored in an efficient and skilful manner, using the island setting to provide a sense of isolation and urgency. The design of the self aware weaponry is one of the film’s real strengths as they look both realistically extrapolated from current technology and yet different enough to feel uneasily alien and alive.
The cast is pretty solid for this kind of low-budget independent sci-fi action movie and while a couple of the performances tend towards cliché, Vanessa Kirby provides complexity and ambiguity amidst the soldiers v robots bouts of flying bullets and crashing machinery.
Evocative of both “Predator” and “The Terminator”, “Kill Command” delivers the requisite action along with some intelligent ideas about where technology, the military and AI could take us.