There may be some confusion in store for fans of The Maze Runner
series of movies. The fourth book in the series, a prequel called 'The Kill Order,' should be the next one adapted for the screen. But there is a different dystopian sci-fi action thriller being released called Kill Order
that has nothing to do with The Maze Runner
begins with a group of military specialists barging into a classroom and trying to take a student named David Lee (stuntman Chris Mark from The Hunger Games
and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
) with them. Unfortunately for the kidnappers, the boy discovers that he possesses almost superhuman combat abilities, and is able to fight them off and escape. This leads to him going on the run and trying to figure out why he has these powers, all the while fighting off soldiers who keep trying to capture him.
As you can probably tell from that description, Kill Order
is essentially a series of fight scenes tied together by a somewhat weak narrative structure. Written and directed by James Mark (lead actor Chris Mark's big brother, and also a stuntman known for his work on Pacific Rim
), it's similar in design to something like John Wick
(another feature film directed by a stuntman), only instead of the latter's intriguing storyline and heartfelt character work, Kill Order
has...a lot of awesome fight scenes. There is a convoluted and forced backstory about sci-fi genetic programming and such, but really, the big draw to Kill Order
is the action sequences, and both Marks seem to know and accept that. It may be a one-trick pony, but Kill Order
's one trick is pretty cool.
Watching Kill Order
is a bit like seeing a very skilled gamer do a stream on Twitch. David punches, kicks, swings, slices, ducks, and dodges his way through opponents, each more deadly than the last, fighting his way towards a showdown with a big boss. The plot unfolds like that of a video game, with exposition delivered in between fights, and in just enough of an amount to move the story forward to the next fight. Citizen Kane
it's not, but it is exhilarating at times. For a martial arts-type combat film, you could do worse. You could also do better, but you could also do worse. Heck, the next The Maze Runner
movie with which Kill Order
shares a name might be worse.
As one might expect, the action scenes that tie the story together in Kill Order
are by far the strongest aspects of the film. There's an obvious level of athleticism and dexterity to the well-choreographed combat sequences, but the scenes are also aided by slick visual effects, no-holds-barred camera work, and rapid-fire editing. The actors are skilled martial artists, and when their modern fighting style combines with the hip-and-cool stylized The Matrix
-esque hyper-realism, it results in some breathtaking battles. There's a little of everything in Kill Order
, from straight hand-to-hand MMA style fighting to sword and gunplay, and it's all very well executed.