First Kill is a solid enough B-movie thriller, top-lined by Bruce Willis and Hayden Christensen. It’s a twisty-turny piece which might be far-fetched, but it ticks along at a solid pace. It’s not a classic, but it doesn’t stick around long enough to become dislikable. It could have been better, but it could have been much, much worse.
Christensen plays a stockbroker who takes his son on a hunting trip to help him man-up so that he can overcome school bullies. The father-son bonding session takes a nasty turn when they see two men arguing with a gun in the woods. Christensen pops one of the men with his hunting rife, but it turns out that dead man is a cop who was involved in a local bank robbery. He may not have shot the Sheriff – but he sure as hell shot the Deputy! The other man (Game of Throne’s Gethin Anthony) takes Anakin Skywalker Jr hostage and Christensen is forced to evade the Sheriff (Willis) and track down the robber’s $2 million in stollen jack.
Movies In Focus hasn’t seen Hayden Christensen on screen since he was bolted into Darth Vader’s leather bondage gear in 2005’s Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (that might be a lie, I think I saw Jumper). He’s improved as an actor in the last decade but I just didn’t buy him as a stockbroker and family man – but hey, he wasn’t bad, so I can’t let my personal opinions get in the way. Good old Bruce Willis was solid part as the small town Sheriff with a secret to hide. This is one of the better supporting roles Bruno has had in the last few years and he’s given a bit more to do than just bark orders down a telephone. Director Steven C. Miller shoots things efficiently, keeping the story moving so that the unconvincing (and often unnecessary) plot points don’t linger too long (Megan Leonard has a totally pointless role as Christensen’s wife).
In years to come audiences will stumble upon First Kill on late night TV and enjoy it for what it is – a thriller that doesn’t try to be anything other than an enjoyable ninety minutes. It’s nowhere near the top of the ‘Best Brucie’ movies, but the Die Hard star has cranked out a lot worse over the last decade or so. He’s putting in some effort here and for that we should all be grateful.