J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Kill Order: Introducing Chris Mark

He is like a Matthew Star for generations that have no idea who that was. Unlike most teenaged boys, David Lee is not phased by girls or academics. It is the PSTD-flashbacks that trouble him. They are so bad, there is even an empty room in his uncle’s flat for his freak-outs. However, he will have a target to vent his frustrations on when agents of the shadowy cabal come kick the hornets’ nest in James Mark’s Kill Order (trailer here), which releases today on DVD and VOD.

Usually philosophy class is boring, but not when a squad of black-clad SWAT troopers comes crashing in. A special thanks goes out to Mr. Henderson for immediately ratting out Lee. Nevertheless, Lee manages to take down his would be-captors, once his special powers kick in. You can tell when that happens, because his eyes start glowing blue.

It turns out Lee was a subject in a series of experiments that used power from a different dimension to fuel Universal Soldier-style fighting machines. Lee was particularly amenable to the power in-take, but he was unusually resistant to the brain-washing. His supposed Uncle Andre Chan was in fact one of the researchers, who had a change of heart. He hoped to help Lee live a normal life, but it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon now that the bad guys are out to get him. It seems to be a rather factional conspiracy, with the titular head, Shiro Fujitaka openly suspicious of his underlings.

Mark hints at something downright cosmic going on, but that is only tease for what he obviously hopes will develop into a franchise. The whole point of Kill Order thus far, is the butt-kicking, which is quite impressive. It was also obviously conceived as an opportunity for top Canadian stunt talent to get a proper turn in front of the camera—although ironically, Alain Moussi, probably the best-known cast-member thanks to the Kickboxer reboots, remains faceless throughout his appearance, due to his SWAT helmet.

Kill Order is maybe not quite a breakout for Chris Mark (brother of James), but he shows plenty of potential as Lee. As Uncle Andre, Daniel Park holds up the dramatic end quite well, in a performance that is arguably much better than what he could have gotten away with. More to the point, Jonny Cairnes, Jennifer Li (Kelly Marie Tran’s double in The Last Jedi), and Adrian Persad all impress in their vigorously choreographed and nicely-framed fight sequences facing off against Lee.

Okay, so this is not a classic film that will be studied for decades to come. Be that as it may, you can tell the entire cast and crew is hungry to make it into something, which gives it more raw power than most of the self-satisfied indie dramedies we are supposed to take more seriously than a film like this. Recommended for action fans who can forgive a few rough edges to get in on the ground floor of what could be the start of several rewarding careers, Kill Order releases today on DVD and VOD platforms, including iTunes.

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