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In the shadowy world of drone warfare, combat unfolds like a video game–only with real lives at stake. After six tours of duty, Air Force pilot Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) now fights the Taliban from an air-conditioned bunker in the Nevada desert. But as he yearns to get back in the cockpit of a real plane and becomes increasingly troubled by the collateral damage he causes each time he pushes a button, Egan’s nerves—and his relationship with his wife (Mad Men's January Jones)—begin to unravel.

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Good Kill movie full length review - Not a solid ending

Major Thomas Egan is an experienced Air Force combat pilot, but now he doesn't fly jets anymore. Instead he's now a member of a drone crew based near Las Vegas.

The two contrary sides of a drone pilot's life has become his routine; at work hours he would control a drone over Afghanistan, dropping missiles at Talibans, while after hours he can simply go home to his wife and kid. But Tommy feels the nag in his gut, the desperate need to be inside a jet's cockpit in warzone airspace. He requests to his superior Lt. Col. Johns to be transferred to a jet squadron but the colonel asks him to mentor a new recruit pilot Suarez. Suarez becomes Tommy's co-pilot, lazing targets while Tommy gets the job to pull the trigger at the enemies. One day their drone gets the recon mission to scout a possible residence of Al Qaeda's new number two. They witness a guard raping a handmaid. They don't do anything since it will defy protocols, though it's clear that both Tommy and Suarez are disturbed with what they see.

Soon their crew gets selected to execute mission from the CIA. The CIA mission feels wrong because the strikes are executed indiscriminately. Meanwhile Tommy's civilian life also slowly drifts apart. His missions start to take more of his time, like when he has to do an over-watch over a team of ground forces for six hours after work hours. Meanwhile, the CIA orders the crew on new missions; each grows grimmer than the previous. They start to target pure civilians, inhumane follow up attacks on rescuers, and even strikes on funerals. One time, Tommy cheats his way out by disabling the link to the drone, losing its target for some seconds. The crew once again witnesses the same guard rapes the same handmaid and they still don't do anything. Suarez had enough of it and she quits. Tommy soon had enough and on one lunch break he locks himself within the control room, and sends a missile at that same guard who is going to rape that handmaiden again. The handmaiden gets too close to the blast point but she survives unharmed. Tommy then leaves his post.

The story gets the curiosity in me because it nicely focuses on the most used and most effective warfare method nowadays, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or simply known as drones. Drones nowadays have reached many other vehicular vessel applications ranging from cameras to delivery. But it's most decisive military use is the one that is currently subjected to heated controversy, especially since non military people with enough knowledge of aero-modeling can fit their toys with guns and transform it into simply military drones.

I like how the movie really dramatizes the contrast between the two worlds of the drone pilots; killing enemies in the morning and going home to barbecue at night. Yet this kind of dramatization is felt lacking so the movie's creators added the extra conflict of Tommy longing to be back inside combat jet. But strangely this added conflict is under nurtured as the story goes on, and even seem to be simply set aside while the other conflict with the CIA missions take place.

What makes my score for this movie goes down hard is that this movie really lacks on the execution of the drama. The finale and ending also doesn't seem to be adequate in weight to be the ending of this movie. Also, I really think that there are more than enough unnecessary depictions that didn't really help to build the bigger picture; like the thing with the store clerk.

The acting overall is quite a nice job. Ethan Hawke is as always a great actor for dramas, although his voice, worn out by heavy smoking, dictates a large no logically to cast him as a pilot. Zoe Kravitz also gave enough to balance Hawke's acting and did alright in letting the character of her role to come out. Bruce greenwood handled his usual role of a high ranking military officer quite well, even with a little more engagement than his usual roles. January Jones' talent feels very much underutilized in this movie.

My score for Good Kill (2014) is just a mere 6 out of 10. A recommendation is a no, I don't think this movie is worth your money. I find this movie interesting and curious enough, although I don't think the end product is that entertaining.