‘First Kill’ Plods Along as an Inept Thriller

GameStop, Inc.

First Kill

Hayden Christensen has become, rather unfairly, an easy target because of his stiff performances in the disappointing Star Wars prequels. An actor still has to work despite whatever unfair criticism is lobbed at him. Christensen now stars in the thriller from director Steven C. Miller, First Kill. If you were hoping that this would be the leading role to rehabilitate the reputation of Hayden Christensen, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. The only thing impressive about First Kill is just how overwhelmingly inept it is in every facet of its construction. This is a plodding, boring, and incredibly stupid piece of storytelling with a warped moral compass.

Will (Christensen) is a businessman working in New York City, arranging teleconferences with partners in far flung places. However, his young son Danny (Ty Shelton) is constantly bullied at school. Being a concerned parent, Will decides the best way to toughen up his young son is to take him out to the woods and kill an animal with his grandfather’s bolt action rifle. Will and his wife Laura (Megan Leonard) take their son to Will’s old hometown, where he’s quickly confronted by the local police chief Marvin Howell (Bruce Willis). Marvin warns Will to keep an eye out as there has just been a daring robbery in the quiet little town. Though the movie tries to establish that there’s a friendly relationship between Willis’ and Christensen’s characters, it’s so bungled in execution that it’s pretty damn obvious that Marvin isn’t exactly a trustworthy officer of the law.

Once at their secluded country home, Will instructs with painstaking detail just how Danny should handle his firearm. We’re witness to the father loading the gun, instructing his son how handle the gun, and then the young man firing a few shots for the first time. This is just one of many moments of egregious padding that Steven C. Miller inserts into First Kill. When hunting, Will and Danny accidentally oversee an encounter between Levi (Gethin Anthony) and Charlie (Shea Buckner), the two arguing over a key. Charlie shoots Levi at point blank range, and soon sets his sights on Danny which prompts Will to shoot and kill the man. He then sees the badge on the man he’s just shot, and instead decides to aid the wounded Levi and flee the scene of the crime – this is just one of many incredibly stupid decisions that this characters commits. Levi is medically tended to by Laura, and then he awakes only to kidnap Danny so that he can get the key that was left behind at the initial crime scene. Will tracks down the MacGuffin while Police Chief Marvin is never far behind.

Time hasn’t made Hayden Christensen any less wooden of an actor, though once again he’s underserved by the written material, in this case by screenwriter Nick Gordon. The character routinely makes awful decisions, and this is character trait that is established right from the start. To be fair, Hayden Christensen has absolutely no backup on the screen. Most of the cast is out of place or poorly underwritten. Most noticeably, though, is the sleepwalking on display by Bruce Willis, who seems like he couldn’t be bothered with even putting forth the slightest bit of effort.

There are painstaking lengths taken by Steven C. Miller to establish some kind of moral to this inept story. The character of Levi, who I must remind you kidnaps a child after committing a robbery, only takes upon his life of crime in order to help his wife’s mother, who is afflicted with what is described as a “80-pound tumor.” While attempting to make Levi somewhat sympathetic, it does make it sound like he’s engaged in a life of crime to save the life of someone who can’t be saved. Of course, Levi is able to bond with kidnapping victim by allowing the child to play video games, leading to the quickest case of Stockholm syndrome in recorded history. It’s not just the criminals who have this bizarre form of morality injected in to their characters. In a lot of ways, Christensen’s character reminds me of Homer Simpson in the classic episode “Homer’s Phobia,” where a misguided hunting trip will somehow make Bart more masculine and not a homosexual. Once he’s killed a man in self-defense in front of his child, Christensen’s Will decides to not report it to the authorities. A sterling case of leading by example. He’s truly a Father of the Year candidate.

The general construction of First Kill is astounding in its ineptitude. One of the film’s crucial scenes take place during a rain storm. You can tell it’s an obviously a faked rain, because Miller frames these shots where you can see the sunshine and a perfect day in the background of the frame. This isn’t a case of a minor little sliver of light sneaking into a darkened frame, it’s an overwhelming distraction. This carelessness sneaks into the film’s action sequences, such as one chase where there are conveniently two ATVs for the characters to just take at will. It’s also prevalent in the dialogue, as in the moment where Willis’ Marvin calls the hospital to ask the nurse on duty about the “tumor list,” which I’m sure is a routinely used medical term. All these factors and the egregious padding make First Kill a movie that’s a chore to sit through. This isn’t so bad it’s good. It’s just bad. Really, really bad.

First Kill
  • Overall Score
1

Summary

A slow-moving thriller featuring a sleepwalking Bruce Willis, First Kill is woefully inept in everything it does except for padding its running time with drawn out scenes of pure tedium.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
John Carpenter's Vampires Blu-ray
Now On Blu-ray: Scream Factory Revives the John Carpenter’s Overlooked ‘Vampires’

As the works of John Carpenter, especially his wrongly maligned late-period...

Yesterday Blu-ray
Now on Blu-ray: Danny Boyle’s Beatles Homage ‘Yesterday’ Asks Questions It Doesn’t Want to Answer

The Beatles were a force of nature, a hurricane of sound...

Madness in the Method
Very A-Mewes-ing – Madness in the Method Review

Jason Mewes masterfully balances showing a completely new side to himself...

Event News Event Reviews
Adam Rocha Celebrates the Silver Anniversary of the San Antonio Film Festival

The San Antonio Film Festival (SAFilm) is celebrating 25 years of ...

Legion M President, Jeff Annison Talks about All the SDCC 2019 Festivities

Legion M is the only fan owned film studio that brings...

Viz Media SDCC 2019: Seis Manos and more!

Announced earlier this year (click here), Seis Manos is an upcoming...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Legendary Duelists Magical Hero Will Open 2020

Dark Magicians are getting new tricks in Legendary Duelists Magical Hero coming...

John Wick Hex
Create the Legend of John Wick in John Wick Hex

Create the Legend of John Wix and be John Wix before...

Battle for the Grid Season 2
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Season 2 Now Available on Consoles

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Season 2 now available on...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Neon Future Interview with Founder & Writer

A few months ago at WonderCon 2019, I had the honor...

Blue Bastion
Help Bring the World of Blue Bastion to Life

Live now on Indiegogo, help bring the rich and wondrous world...

impact theory
Impact Theory Founder – Tom Bilyeu

Tom Bilyeu is the CEO and co-founder of Impact Theory, an...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Blue Yeti Nano Microphone Review

We have been playing with the Blue Yeti Nano for a...

Wrestle Crate Pre-Christmas Unboxing

    Welcome to our first unboxing of Wrestle Crate, this...

Eagle Eyes
Protect Your Eyes with Eagle Eyes Glasses – Eagle Eyes TV Kit Review

Eagle Eyes TV Kit review – Feel the difference and get...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Ken Shamrock Shows His ‘Valor’ With VBK 1 This Fall

The Most Dangerous Man in the World, Ken Shamrock is a...

‘Pitbull’ vs. Archuleta and Machida vs. Mousasi Headline Bellator’s Return to L.A. on Sept. 28

  LOS ANGELES – The opening round of the Bellator Featherweight World...

UFC Featherweight Contender, Brian Ortega Talks about Health and Recovery

Brian Ortega is one of the baddest fighters in the UFC....

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Emissary of Death: AFTERMATH!!

Aftermath: Dumbledore and Voldemort reconnect.

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Emissary of Death: AFTERMATH

The aftermath of John Wick's rampage; Dumbledore and Voldemort have a...

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Emissary of death: AFTERMATH!

The aftermath thickens...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 33: Jerry Beck

Join Whitney Grace in this blast down memory lane with an...

Episode 32: Mathew Klickstein

I’m back and done explaining about the current state of my...

Episode 31: Interview With Myself

I wanted to offer more details about my hiatus.  In episode...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Comedy Duo Ben Giroux and Jensen Reed Take Us, ‘Back To The 80s’

Two of the funniest men in show business, Ben Giroux (Hart...

James Maslow ‘Rush’es the Stage to Perform at Super Girl Surf Pro on Sunday

James Maslow is an American singer, actor and songwriter best known as the star of...

Jason Lazarus Talks about Composing the Music for ‘Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans’

Jason Lazarus is a Los Angeles based composer for film, television, and...