A middled-aged, hard-nosed father is set off down a destructive path, tasked with killing several people in order to save his teenage daughter. Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Yet despite being something of a Taken knock-off, there remains enough about the unashamedly entertaining Age of Kill to ensure that it remains a worthy endeavour, and as much as we may complain about the lack of innovation on shown – it’s a tried, tested and triumphant formula for a reason. It’s just not an original one.
Sam Blake (Martin Kemp) is the father in question; a black ops sniper who is blackmailed by a nefarious, sadistic terrorist. The elusive presence, refusing to reveal his identity, has Sam’s daughter Joss (Dani Dyer) kept hostage, and vows to kill her if Sam doesn’t follow his strict instructions – to murder six people in six hours. With the police pursuing the case, they attempt to discover why it’s these six people in particular, and what the agenda of this savage antagonist truly is. Sam, in the meantime, has one objective – to ensure his daughter is kept unharmed.
Part of the issue with Neil Jones’ Age of Kill, is that we don’t see enough time spent between Sam and his daughter in the opening stages, to depict their bond and further enhance the emotional impact when she is taken, disallowing the chance to invest in a way that we’d like to. Meanwhile, and for a film that is somewhat conventional and unimaginative, there is an intriguing study of culture, tapping in to pertinent themes, and implementing an extreme right-wing nationalist group as a villainous counterpart to our hero – placing this grandiose, overtly theatrical narrative, and placing it in a society we can sadly recognise.
Kemp turns in a commendable performance too, as a dominating leading man that you can put your faith in – a vital component where films of this ilk are concerned. Having an older, more experienced protagonist works too, as they feel more well-versed in life, having lived through more, which adds layers to the character and a certain ‘nothing to lose’ demeanour. that serves the narrative effectively. However the supporting cast aren’t all so praiseworthy, and while the likes of Nick Moran, April Pearson, Philip Davis and Dexter Fletcher all do very little to offend, there’s a frustrating inclination to choose actors based on their reputation, as opposed to their talent. Such as Lucy Pinder – the glamour model may be recognisable to many, but during her cameo performance it simply takes you out of the story, and you had wished that they’d found somebody more equipped for the job, rather than somebody that merely allows people to say, “Oooh, I know them”.
Nonetheless, there’s a plethora of comic one-liners which will keep the audience happy, as we all love a good old-fashioned, cheesy quip in productions of this ilk. While the hypothetical scenario of sacrificing many lives at the expense of just one remains an intriguing one – as you ponder what you’d do in such a life-changing, perilous situation. Though to be frank, it’s pretty unlikely any of us would find ourselves in that sort of a situation any time soon.