Movie Review: ‘Kill Ben Lyk’

Review by Jay Bowman

When men sharing his name are found dead across his home city of London, dopey vlogger Ben Lyk (Eugene Simon) begins to wonder if he’s next. Before he becomes a victim himself, he and several other Ben Lyks are whisked away by Scotland Yard to an old manor, where the group must figure out which one is wanted dead and why.

Though the press materials pitch Kill Ben Lyk as “action-packed,” it’s not the usual cat-and-mouse chase flick that description evokes. Instead, it’s more in the vein of a Simon Pegg comedy. The eccentricities of the characters take precedence over their dire situation. The lead Ben Lyk we’re attached to, for example, is obsessed with maintaining his YouTube channel and uploading new content, even when he’s in the back of a police van en route to a secret location. As he and seven other Lyks find themselves the target of assassination, he can’t let go of his faux-fame.

It’s funny enough, but the eight Lyks aren’t built beyond being pieces in a mystery and lack strong character. Vlogger Lyk is decidedly unlikeable in his inability to prioritize his life despite being a potential target for murder. Funny at first, but it tires quickly. Thankfully, the other Lyks turn against him around the same time. This same sort of justification for one-note characters doesn’t hold true for everyone else, however, and some are dispatched so quickly to make you wonder why they exist in the first place.

While this ultimately doesn’t matter if you’re along for the laughs, it does mean there are no strong performances to point to (granted Simon nails the annoying tendencies of vloggers really well, so hat tip to him). The humor is fine enough and stays strong as shots are fired and bodies turn up, delivered with excellent deadpan and never risking tone by going over the top.

The plot proper loses itself to too many twists in the second half, almost losing any intrigue entirely. Big reveals and character reactions come across as underwhelming as time goes on, and given their gravity it’s confusing that most of them land with so little impact. Even character deaths stop eliciting shock from survivors or laughs from the viewer. This is really only an issue in the last act and doesn’t do enough harm to undermine the rest of the film’s charm, though. In fact, I’d wager the only people who will walk away feeling let down are those expecting a flashy shoot ’em up instead of a panic-riddled comedy.

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