Kill Command, featuring Vanessa Kirby

Kill Command is a 2016 sci-fi/action movie set in a not-so-distant future, in which a squad of soldiers face off against autonomous war machines. Their routine training-mission goes awry when a tech industry’s latest battle platform becomes self-aware.

Kill Command raises questions about Autonomous warfare.

In the film, Harbinger Robotics is a giant industrial technology company. They manufacture advanced military hardware. Katherine Mills (Vanessa Kirby) a company tech specialist, detects some code re-programming anomalies in their latest military hardware system’s A.I.

Harbinger “promotes” Mills and tasks her with investigating the code changes. The hardware platform is currently deployed to an isolated military training facility, so Harbinger embeds Mills with Captain Damien Bukes (Thure Lindhardt) and his squad of soldiers assigned to a training operation on the remote island.

The training operation begins as planned with the combat unit easily defeating a group of simple tank-tracked combat drones. Harbinger surveillance drones follow the soldiers, observing their tactics during the mission. Mills uses her cybernetic systems to identify the drones – discovering that somebody – or something has modified their code. These systems are acting autonomously. The AI is learning from the squad. Advanced Combat robots launch an attack against the small team of soldiers, using their own tactics against them.

Mills is a cyborg.

Harbinger’s cyborg tech specialist, Katherine Mills, has advanced technology fully integrated into her body. She can scan her surroundings and retrieve information from the network simply by looking at nearby people and objects. This modification allows Mills to interact with other technology. She is able to interface with Harbinger Robotics systems; allowing her to override their controls and track their positions. I thought it was particularly interesting how Mills came to have implanted tech. You’ll have to watch the movie to learn more about Mills.

Kill Command Is worth a weekend rewind

To be perfectly honest I intended to write Kill Command off as awesomely bad. The trailer didn’t do it justice. Biscuits was away for the weekend and I had nothing else to do, so I decided to give it a chance.

The acting is pretty good. There is some tension between Mills and Captain Bukes that initially seems contrived. It’s not as simple as a solider who resents a civilian contractor being embedded with his squad. The movie explores that conflict in interesting ways. I don’t know what the budget was for this project but the CG elements are actually pretty impressive. This movie is worth a watch next time you’re bored on a Sunday afternoon.


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