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Case Number 14710

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Kill Switch

First Look Pictures // 2008 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 10th, 2008

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All Rise...

When Judge David Johnson flips the kill switch, you better run for cover.

The Charge

His rules. His ways. No exceptions.

Opening Statement

Ladies and gentlemen: a new low.

Facts of the Case

Meet Detective Jacob King (Steven Seagal), the baddest motherf-er in whichever Southern city he works in. New Orleans, maybe? I wasn't what'd you call "paying attention." King enjoys exerting his own form of brutal justice, snapping bones, smashing teeth, pushing, etc. on any criminal he deems deserving of such an over-the-top beatdown.

King's latest investigation has him on the trail of his deadliest opponent yet, a killer named Lazerus, who of course is a deranged murderer because he spells his name with an "a." Their game of cat-and-mouse leaves a wake of maimed criminals and slain victims, which of course, just fuels King's dangerously unstable temper.

The Evidence

We have officially entered the "I'm embarrassed for Steven Seagal" zone. He doesn't need me or anyone to be embarrassed for him, of course. He's got a sweet gig producing and starring in straight-to-DVD actioners and probably bathes himself nightly in mountains of hundred dollar bills. But that doesn't mean I don't shed a tear when I see what one of the all-time action icons from the days of yore has become.

And no fat jokes in this review either. Yeah, the guy's aged and isn't the lithe slapping machine he used to be and I don't expect him to be breaking the backs of bad guys and tossing their ruined bodies down exposed elevator shafts any time soon, but at least in his last few movies, he's still managed to smack around some suckers. Here—Seagal has a stunt double for like 95 percent of his fight scenes.

Seriously. Pause this movie during one of the frenetic hand-to-hand bouts and you'll see that virtually all scenes where Detective Jacob King is present, the guy's jaw line has suddenly changed and become more streamlined. I think I can count the times on one hand I actually witnessed Seagal himself in a shot of fight sequence trading blows with an opponent.

The action bits are filmed in such a hackneyed, hyper-edited fashion, it doesn't matter if Tony Jaa was the lead—the fights are all sound effects and half-second cuts of a flying fist or a bad guy landing on a table. Add to that the over use of the Super Gnarly Repeating Shot that went out of style with the end credits of Bloodsport—a crutch for sucky action flicks if there ever was one—and you've got a viciously disappointing fight saga. One guy, a criminal suspect that King throttles with brutal force, goes flying out of a window and there are at least six separate shots of the plummet.

So if Seagal's not smacking people around (to create the illusion that he is, the director intercuts static shots of Seagal glowering—it doesn't work) then what exactly is he doing? Why he's acting of course. And by "acting" I mean "mumbling his way through a convoluted and tedious plot in an excruciating deep-fried accent." If that sounds like a fun time for you, then here you go, because that's what Kill Switch offers: incomprehensible fights and incomprehensible dialogue.

The disc, if you're still reading this review: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (solid), 5.1 surround (slapping!) and some previews.

Closing Statement

Only the absolute die-hard Steven Seagal completist need give this a look. If that describes you, please start an account at Match.com as soon as you can.

The Verdict

Guilty. Sentence: I think appearing in this movie is embarrassing enough.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 20
Acting: 50
Story: 60
Judgment: 52

Perp Profile

Studio: First Look Pictures
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Vietnamese)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Action
• Foreign
• Martial Arts

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers


• IMDb

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