Mischa Webley’s Kill Zone (also called The Kill Hole) is a weird hybrid of an action movie and a socially conscious anti-war thriller. The film may not be totally successful in its attempt to update the post-war vet drama and merge it with some Rambo-style action but you have to give Webley points for trying. The film owes more than a debt to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (if you’re going to aim high, then why not target the best). Webley is helped by an engaging turn by Chadwick Boseman, who adds charisma to a role that could have been lost in the tonal shuffle.
Boseman is Samual Drake, a former soldier, who has trouble adjusting to life back on home soil. He works as a taxi driver by night and goes to regular meetings hosted by the enigmatic Marshall (Billy Zane – enjoying himself) during the day. He’s pulled out of this rut by ‘the company’ who want him to kill the mysterious Carter, (Tory Kittles) a vet who is even more damaged than Drake.
Kill Zone’s Taxi Driver pretensions are honourable, but Mischa Webley is no Paul Schrader and he can’t delve into the scared psyche in the way that the script to Scorsese’s film did. Some of the voice-over work fails to hit the mark but this has enough interesting ideas to keep the film afloat.
You can see why Chadwick Boseman is an actor on his way up. The soon to be Black Panther commands the screen and he has an intensity that gives Webley’s script more gravitas than it might not have had if it was delivered by another actor. Tory Kittles offers a twitchy turn as the film’s antagonist, attempting to deliver a performance in the vein of a young Denzel Washington.
Interesting more than engaging, Kill Zone is a solid low-budget drama that takes itself a touch too seriously, while some of the narrative shifts are a touch unsettling. It’s far from bad though, and it is worth your time to see a strong performance from the up and coming Boseman.