[Movie Review] Kill Switch

Kill SwitchStarring: Steven Seagal, Isaac Hayes, Holly Elissa Dignard, Chris Thomas King, Michael Filipowich, Mark Collie

Director: Jeff King

Genre: Action

Cert: 18

Released: 2008

Bearing in mind that Steven Seagal is 57 years old I should probably cut the guy a bit of slack.  But one look at Bruce Willis (54), Dolph Lundgren (51) and even Sly Stallone (63) shows that you can keep yourself in great shape later in life if you try.  The star of “Nico”, “Hard to Kill” and “Under Siege” is a shadow of the man he used to be.  Well, actually in terms of shadow, he’s a far bigger one.  But when it comes to kicking ass it has just become a sham.  Let me explain.

“Kill Switch” starts with Memphis cop Jacob King (Seagal) dishing out brutal justice to sadistic murderer Billy Joel Hill (Mark Collie).  Although he apprehends Hill, the murderer is later released on a technicality as King is adjudged to have used unreasonable force during the arrest.

Meanwhile his attention turns to a serial killer whose calling card sees him leave an astronomical sign on the body of each victim.  As he searches for leads in the violent Memphis underworld, King’s efforts are being undermined by FBI agent Frankie Miller (Holly Elissa Dignard) who is critical of his strong-arm tactics.

Can King keep the FBI off his back, track down the serial killer and manage to re-apprehend the out-for-revenge Hill before Hill finds him?

Steven Seagal probably stopped being any good in the mid 90s.  I got a good kick out of “Under Siege 2” (probably because Eric Bogosian was so much fun in it) but whenever I’ve dipped in to his outings since (“The Glimmer Man”, “Ticker”) it has been a complete waste of time.  “Ticker” is actually possibly the worst film I’ve ever seen…and believe me, this one is crap.

A bloated Seagal
A bloated Seagal

Anyway I’m messing around with my usual review structure but I’ll make this succinct.  I said the movie opened with King kicking layers off the bad guy.  It doesn’t.  It actually opens with what turns out to be King’s character, as a child, witnessing his brother being killed in front of him by a man with a knife.  I’m not actually sure why that scene is there because it seems to have absolutely no relevance to the rest of the plot.

Then we see King having a somewhat cold relationship with Celine (Karyn Michelle Baltzer) who appears to live in his house and who I assume is his girlfriend or wife or something.  They share a few scenes together but never say anything of consequence.  It’s just…weird.

Then, finally, the fight scenes.  Whatever about the nonsensical script, Seagal’s movies were always about the great fight scenes.  The guy is a 7th-dan black belt in aikido and his massacring of bad guys was the reason to watch his films.  Sadly when you watch “Kill Switch” you aren’t watching him and that becomes painfully obvious.  The camera will do a close up of some tense facial expressions as he faces off a foe before pulling back to show him from behind putting down his enemy – or at least showing his body double (complete with bad wig) doing so.

I’m not sure what the reason for this is.  He’s definitely overweight but he’s been that way for years and is clearly unmotivated to get back in shape.  He’s not so overweight that he couldn’t do hand-to-hand combat scenes but his body double seems to do all but one of them.  It’s a real shame because in his pomp he was incredible.

“Kill Switch” is a washout.  It makes no sense, is utterly boring, poorly acted and – as made clear – is not even redeemed by the fight scenes.  And sadly, what appears to be yet another film featuring an imperious and flawless Steven Seagal character, was actually written by…Mr Steven Seagal.  Does every film for him have to be a vanity project?

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