Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival 2018.03: Kill Order

I'm not sure exact lesson to be learned from this Sunday was in terms of planning ahead - I didn't buy tickets to the Oscar documentary shorts at the Coolidge, figuring there wasn't necessarily any need for the early shows, even if they were in the GoldScreen. Well, not the case; I wound up getting to Brookline, seeing that the doc shows were sold out, and thinking that was a bit of a waste. Fortunately, I was able to get some errands done in that time, finish writing up the Oscar animated shorts, etc.

So that was a bummer. But it was also likely a bit of a frustrating day for people who made specific plans around the Sci-Fi Festival: The second show of Junkhead originally scheduled for the late slot was cancelled for a second show of Howl's Moving Castle, which sold out days ahead of time, but I don't know if 9pm is really a great slot to make it up in. Bummer for those planning to see Junkhead, at least until the 4:45 show, Blue World Order, was cancelled. It seemed like you had to be kind of lucky to find out about that, though, as I don't think the festival did anything other than post on Facebook. I was lucky to see that, and I only live a bit less than a mile away, but if I had to drive in or something I'd be ticked.

Fortunately, so far as I know, that was the only notable screw-up for the festival (aside from announcing movies for the marathon and having them disappear off the schedule), which is way ahead of their usual pace. And, most importantly, it didn't wind up disrupting my plans; I was able to get to the Kendall and catch the live action shorts with plenty of time to spare.

Kill Order

* * (out of four)
Seen 11 February 2017 in Somerville Theatre #2 (Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival, digital)

Kill Order is very close to the line between where one stops worrying about the actual quality of a script or the performances because it's the physical action that is going to deliver the return one's ticket price (or rental fee, or time that could be used for something else). It's dumb but occasionally lively, and the fights certainly have a lot more effort put into them than the average Canadian B-movie gets. It's on the wrong side of that line, sad to say, but one appreciates the effort.

It introduces the audience to David Lee (Chris Mark), a teenager living with his uncle Andre Chen (Daniel Park) in the sort of starkly empty apartment that screams "on the run", although from inside it's kind of hard to connect those nightmares with repressed memories and the seizures with brainwashing. He's met a nice girl, May (Jessica Clement), and he's doing all right. At least until a bunch of black-clad goons bust into his classroom to try and kidnap him and a martial-arts switch flips in his head, and then it's time to run.

There is, of course, a shady organization behind this, which for the sake of being cool and hopefully not too cryptic is just called "the Organization", and while that's not the entirety of what the viewer learns about it, the impulse to be generic doesn't do the movie much good. Donald Westlake could get away with "The Outfit" in his Parker novels because half the point was that the mob had become utterly corporate and bloodless, and the John Wick movies can avoid proper nouns because they provided a lot of other interesting details. Here the audience gets none of that, just a few affordable genre pieces put together, and maybe about half of what is going revealed before the movie stops, implicitly saying that a sequel or a series will pick up the threads but not exactly giving the audience any particular reason to care about that.

Full review on EFC

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