Kill Switch is one of the very few Steven Seagal films in which the
screenwriter is as big as the star. In fact, they are precisely the same
weight, because Seagal assumed the double role in this police procedural
about the pursuit of serial killers.
Seagal plays a Memphis homicide detective who specializes in deranged
serial killers, and in this storyline he's tracking two of them
simultaneously. One is a pseudo-Zodiac killer who "channels spirits good
and bad" and leaves behind encrypted clues with some kind of astrological
significance. The other is a bad-ass hillbilly who just enjoys killing and
torturing people. Because Seagal is a genius at finding and apprehending
serial killers, the FBI wants to study his methods and they assign a
shadow to the Memphis police, a callow woman in her twenties. Because the
Zodiac clone is particularly demented, he tries to frame Seagal himself
for the killings, using an ingenious scheme to obtain Seagal's DNA and
place it under the fingertips of victims. Seagal knows that he's not the
killer, of course, but the FBI is not so sure.
This movie is not a worthwhile police procedural, but it could have been
with just a little tweaking. The biggest problem with it is that it is
very short on both plot and character development, and very heavy on fight
scenes, chases, and shoot-outs. That problem is compounded by two
elements: (1) some of the fight scenes involve minor characters or even
extras who are irrelevant to the plot; (2) they are not very good fight
scenes because the director employed a lot of stunt doubling, embellished
the pace with jumpy editing, and shot too many head-and-shoulder shots.
That's the film's major flaw. If it had been resolved by spending more
time with the major characters and making the Zodiac plot more interesting
and mysterious, the film could have been a good straight-to-vid. It has a
bit of down-and-dirty Memphis atmosphere, and the basic plot is not bad.
Seagal even attempts a bit of uncharacteristically ambitious acting by
mumbling in a Memphis accent instead of his normal generic midwestern
There are, however, some other issues to pick over.
First, the "Seagal as suspect" angle is a completely undeveloped throwaway
that gets resolved with a convenient confession. The film could have been
far better if this idea had either been dropped altogether or introduced
earlier and left as a legitimate possibility. The way it is handled in the
existing film, it's introduced late in the film, resolved almost
immediately and too conveniently, and was never a legitimate possibility
from the viewer's perspective, so it seems like just a completely
off-the-wall theory proposed by the FBI agent.
Second, the film's final scene is a totally irrelevant and utterly
confusing post-script. It shows Seagal arriving in a country home,
bringing presents to a Russian-speaking woman and her two sons, then
following the sexy woman into the bedroom where she disrobes. Seagal and
the blonde close the bedroom door, and the credits roll! Don't get me
wrong. I'm all in favor of adding gratuitous female nudity. This scene,
however, seems to be leftover footage from a completely different Seagal
movie. These characters have never been introduced at all. We don't know
why they are speaking Russian, or why Seagal speaks Russian to them,
although the boys call him "papa." We don't know if this takes place three
days or fifteen years after the main plot.
- As the Zodiac guy, Michael Filipowich shows his bum.
- Apollonia Vanova shows her breasts as a corpse. (Film
- Andrea Stefancikova is the Russian woman in the epilogue from
another planet. (Film clip here. Samples below.)
Despite all those Eastern European names above, the film seems to have been
filmed entirely in Vancouver, per IMDb.
Wanted is a fantasy film about a brotherhood of assassins with super
The film stars James McAvoy, who begins in what seems like a completely
different movie from the one hinted at by a contrived and complex
assassination plot happening elsewhere in the same town between men who do
not seem to be bound by the laws of physics. McAvoy, on the other hand, is
a wimpy cubicle drone who seems to be trapped in Office Space 2, in which
he narrates about his loathing for his boss, his TPS reports, his medical
problems, his disloyal best friend, his irritating girlfriend, the office
rituals, and his fellow employees.
Imagine his surprise when he is suddenly recruited to join the fraternity
of killers. They know that he, too, possesses super powers. It seems that
all the medical problems which he has been dealing with are not problems
at all. Instead of taking medication to stop his heart from racing, he
just needs to let it run free, at which time he speeds up so much that the
world seems to be moving in ultra slo-mo. He is skeptical until agents
of the brotherhood show him that if he lets his pulse run wild he can
shoot the wings off of flies. Later he learns to curve bullets, and even
to use his bullets to shoot the bullets of other assassins.
Blah-blah-blah ... rogue agent killed McAvoy's father ... McAvoy is the
only one powerful enough to stop the rogue ... he's "the one" ...
but he must be trained ... blah-blah-blah.
None of this is really supposed to make sense.
The members of the brotherhood take their orders from a loom, and
have done so since the middle ages. Who channels assassination requests
through the magic loom? God? Satan? It's apparently "fate." Whatever that
is supposed to mean. It seems to me if "fate" wanted someone dead, it
could probably pull it off without the assistance of encoded underpants. The
assassins' abilities make little sense and vary from scene to scene.
The violence level is constantly over-the-top, and innocent bystanders are
not spared. Thousands get killed, including every passenger on
a train which plummets into a canyon as a result of the battle between McAvoy and the rogue.
Now set all that aside, because this film is actually a lot of fun if you
can suspend all sense of disbelief. It's a twisted, tongue-in-cheek
version of The Matrix, all cool attitude and comic book antics. McAvoy is
basically Neo. Angelina Jolie is
Trinity. Morgan Freeman is Morpheus. The bad guy isn't really like Agent
Smith, but he has something very important in common with Darth Vader.
You'll recognize it when you encounter it. So forget the laws of the
physical universe. Forget the inconsistencies in the powers of the
antagonists. Forget the illogic of the plot. Forget the pseudo-mystical
mumbo-jumbo. It's not meant to be taken seriously. Just sit back and let
it wash over you. It's a stylish film with visual flair and a lot of
humor. It entertains.
An actor named Chris Pratt shows his butt in a minor role as McAvoy's
shallow best friend in his pre-assassin life.
Angelina Jolie does full rear nudity from a distance, and shows the top
half of her butt in close-up. (Film
clip here, samples below)