First Kill Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this crime thriller about a Wall Street broker that is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery, as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2017
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Gethin Anthony, Megan Leonard
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Music by: Ryan Franks, Scott Nickoley
Written by: Nick Gordon
Region Code: A

Release Date: September 5, 2017

“When You Only Have One Shot. Don’t Miss”

My Take:

In an attempt to reconnect with his son Danny (Ty Shelton), successful Wall Street broker Will (Hayden Christensen) takes his family on a vacation to the cabin where Will grew up. While Will and Danny are hunting, their trip takes a deadly turn when they witness the murder of a crooked police officer as a bank robbery goes awry. When Danny is taken hostage by the criminals, Will is forced to help them evade the police chief (Bruce Willis) investigating the murder and recover the stolen money in exchange for his son’s life.

As a Bruce Willis fan it was tough to see him in this low budget, poorly written, and ineffectual crime thriller. The synopsis pretty lays out the thin plot. The suspense is nonexistent, the characters are cardboard cutouts, and the attempt at a plot twist is telegraphed from so far out that you would literally trip over it. I didn’t much care for the performances, which were shaky at best, including Willis. At the end of the day First Kill is a forgettable film that left me wishing I had my hour and a half back.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for violence and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones: 
  • Compression: 


First Kill comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.

This video presentation offers little in the way of high Gloss, razor sharp imagery but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Primary colors appear satisfying while the film intentionally maintains a cooler overall palette that works well against the drab settings featured in the story. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies only slightly among the cast. Resolution is very good although the film’s inherently softer elements leave some wide-angle shots with smoother lines and average delineation. Close ups and mid-level shots are more revealing of the resolvable detail that draws out subtle textures in the people and objects within the frame. Contrast is on the money and blacks are stable but not overly dynamic in appearance. This wasn’t really a problem as there were few scenes that utilized low level material where this was consistently apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and articulated dialog. Sound effects had notable dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere and low frequency detail from time to time. The mix does a decent job of creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field’s acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to add solidity to sound effects and the film’s music score. I thought the presentation served the source material well and sounded fine.

Bonus Features:

  • Director’s Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Behind-the-Scenes Making of Featurette
  • Cast/Crew Interviews
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

First Kill is a poorly crafted, and ineffectual crime thriller that completely missed the mark, resulting in a lackluster film experience. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video mated a fair supplemental package that offers insights from the cast/crew. For those that may want to check it out, First Kill is best reserved for cable TV viewing.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package