Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Steven Seagal is Kill Switch

Yesterday was a day of great importance. Tuesday October 7, 2008 saw the release of the latest DTV Steven Seagal movie, Kill Switch. I had purposely avoided reading Vern's review because I wanted to be surprised. What I got was another mind-boggling entry into the Seagal DTV canon. Where do I even begin? Lawd Have Mercy!

Kill Switch is the story of Memphis detective Jacob King and his relentless pursuit of not one but two serial killers. The first one we meet is Billy Joel Hill. This dude, in a very un-serial killer like fashion, has sewn a bomb into some chick's chest and the bomb squad is going through the whole "what color wire do we cut?" dilemma that anyone who's ever seen a movie is familiar with. In order to find out which color wire will disable the bomb, Jacob King beats the shit out of Hill. Now I don't mean he gives him a typical Seagal ass-whipping. This is a brutal beating. As the movie goes on, the brutality is what sets Jacob King apart from every other Seagal character we have ever seen. Well, eventually King throws Hill out of a window and the woman is saved. Only later on, we find out that Hill survived his fall and was released from prison because the police used excessive force. Really? You think?

If you've seen any of Lord Steven's more recent DTV titles, then you know he has become quite fond of using some kind of Cajun accent. Well, in Kill Switch it's thicker than ever. He says his new trademarked phrase "Lawd Have Mercy!" five times by my count. That alone is worth the price I paid for the movie. Also, Seagal manages to include another great love of his into the movie heavily, blues music. The soundtrack has blues music, there are numerous scenes in blues clubs, hell, it even takes place in Memphis. Lawd Have Mercy!

Anyway, the other serial killer he is trying to catch is named Lazereus. He's a mix of the Zodiac killer, the killer from Seven, and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. Now, would you be surprised if I told you that there is a third serial killer in the movie? Well, there is. Except, this one is from the past of Jacob King. Every once in a while, King has flashes of memories that appear as Avid Farts. In these avid fart memories, we see a young King and what appears to be his brother. King sees some ominous looking serial killer guy murder his brother. I guess that's why he tracks serial killers for a living now. All we can do is speculate since he never talks about it and it never really adds anything to the movie except minutes to the running time.

I won't bore you with any more plot details because it's a pain in the ass to recap all this shit. Let's get to the fights and the ending. There are two fights in bars in Kill Switch. The stuntman isn't as obvious as he is in other Seagal DTV movies. The problem is in the editing. All of the fights are edited via numerous small jump-cuts. And it's not just that the scenes cut frames going forward, but they will suddenly jump backwards, then forwards, then backwards again. It ends up creating an incomprehensible mess. The editor must have thought he was on to the next big thing. My advice is to not get too clever with this editing bullshit. Before computer based editing you couldn't do this shit. It makes me wish movies still had to be edited on flatbed editors. Just keep it simple and let us see the action.

I would be remiss to not talk about Jacob King's brutality. In order to find out information about a dead prostitute, King asks her pimp some questions. When he refuses to answer, King puts the guy's mouth on the bar and starts beating on the back of his head until the dude's teeth are knocked out. Sounds like a pretty standard police interrogation technique to me. It's pretty brutal to watch. But, the comforting thing is the pimp shows up moments later, shooting at King in an alleyway, and he miraculously has all his teeth! Also, once King tracks down Lazereus, they have a really long fight in a bar. Once King has the upper hand, he beats the shit out of the guy with a club. He literally attempts to break as many of the guy's bones as he can. Jacob King isn't fuckin' around. Lawd have Mercy!

OK, so King also lives with this cute Asian chick who is also a cop. She walks around the house in short silk robes all the time but King never shows any interest in her sexually. He is too immersed in his serial killer tracking to even look at her, much less fuck her. Well, eventually she gets killed by the aforementioned Billy Joel Hill. King finds the dead girl and Hill in his house. He proceeds to beat the shit out of Hill and then kill him. The thing is, it's not out of rage over the girl's death. It's more like a personal pride issue. This all seems strange right? Just hang on.

When King's Memphis PD partner and some hot federal agent show up to King's house and find Hill dead, King is nowhere to be found. He has left a note explaining that his work is done. Notes with voice-over are a common plot element in the DTV era. Now we see that Jacob King has returned to his beautiful Russian wife and his two children! The movie ends with her taking her top off and King closing the door implying they are about to fuck. Nowhere in the movie was there even the slightest hint of him wanting to return to some family we had never met. But, I guess this explains why he wasn't interested in the Asian girl who lived with him.

Let me try and piece this together in my mind from the clues I was given in the movie. Jacob King saw his brother murdered by a serial killer when he was a kid. From that moment on he dedicated his life to catching serial killers. At some point in the past, he left his wife and kids to join the Memphis Police Department (Because I guess Memphis is a hotbed of serial killing). He lets a sexy female police officer live with him but they keep it strictly friends. He then kills one serial killer, arrests another and finally feels vindicated. He then returns home to his family, mission accomplished. There doesn't appear to be any meaning to the title, Kill Switch. That's OK. In the DTV era, titles are pretty meaningless.

So did I like the movie? Hell yes! It was crazy Seagal DTV fun. It is a step backwards from Urban Justice and Pistol Whipped. But, if you enjoy the insane, unpredictable nature of movies like Today You Die, you will definitely enjoy this one. Lawd Have Mercy!


Jim Blanton said...

Lawd have mercy your review was spot on! I think the ending here is easily the most absurd in a Seagal DTV film (or otherwise) to date (besting the previous champ Today You Die).

Unlike Today You Die's ending, which features imagery we have seen throughout the film (although still unexplained), this one throws the Russian wife ending in out of nowhere. Any attempt to explain the ending is pure speculation, as there are no clues given at all.

Even though it's a step back in quality, there's no question this is a worthwhile DTV entry based on the accent and the ending. Count me not disappointed!

Chris Johnson said...

I was happy to see some of the insanity of Today You Die come back for this one. The only real complaint I had was the weird editing during the fights. Everything else was pure Seagalological gold!