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KILL Review - Bloody Retribution, Bollywood Style

Kill. Title Card.


“Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, blood and revenge are hammering in my head.” - William Shakespeare

It is my belief that if a movie is compelling enough in its action sequences it can forgo a more traditional, more heavy handed narrative. They killed Wick’s dog, and just like that, he’s back in. Hutch (Nobody) feels emasculated and sets out to prove himself to his son and wife who believe him to be a pacifist. It doesn’t require an overly complicated turn of events to light the metaphorical fuse of a quintessential badass. Case in point, KILL.

Lakshya as Amrit. Kill.

An army commando boards a train traveling to New Delhi in hopes of derailing his true love’s arranged marriage. As she awaits him, a large group of bandits invade the train. Chaos erupts and consumes the day.

Insurmountable villainy pitted against the lone warrior is a popular concept these days. But more specifically, it’s the manner in which these kinds of stories are told on screen that is beginning to matter more than ever. If violence is to be the main attraction it needs to be choreographed and captured on camera in the most interesting, visceral and thrilling manner possible. Thankfully, the days of heavily edited hot garbage attempting to resemble action are gone, and here to replace it are movies like John Wick, Nobody, Extraction and now, Kill

Amrit witnessing tragedy. Kill.

Alongside fast paced, choreographed violence and action comes a tendency for relentlessness. The Raid for example features multiple nearly ten minute long individual fight sequences. The point is to put every character involved through their paces proving them to either be unworthy or genuine warriors hardened by combat. Kill is broken up by dramatic beats giving both the characters and audience an opportunity to process what has just occurred and what is likely still ahead. But without fail, these much needed breaks are quickly interrupted by unabated mayhem. 

Amrit getting retribution. Kill.

Beyond the brutal violence, which Kill provides in droves, is a tendency to subvert expectations. It does this by mixing up how these violent encounters carry out. Sometimes the hero is unwavering in his swift, merciless justice. Other times he, well, loses. It also unexpectedly humanizes its villains. While some of these bandits commit unspeakable violence, they are still allowed moments of internal anguish as the hero dispatches their loved ones in gory fashion. It establishes that these bad men must be disposed of no matter what but it never robs these characters of having at least a modicum of humanity. The hero and his fellow innocent passengers are given their time to mourn as well as the story does use human lives like cannon fodder but never does so callously. The deaths of both the villains and innocent alike are used as motivation to push forward despite everything seemingly falling apart all around them. 

Amrit, the lone hero, is tormented all along his journey that ranges in motivation from hostage rescue to all out vengeance against those that have wronged him. He is in love and that which he cherishes most is being threatened. His involvement is ratcheted up scene by scene until right around the forty-five minute mark when something dire happens and he becomes completely incensed. Newcomer Lakshya plays Amrit perfectly balancing moments of almost Terminator-like invincibility and hopeless interactions leaving him at death’s door. It repeatedly puts him in situations that challenges everything about who he is as a man, a warrior and human being. Lakshya is heroic but never stoically as he both proclaims love and tragically demands retribution. He is conflicted in his actions but knows that without him, these thugs will carry out their will and escape unpunished. This he cannot allow. 

Amrit about to unleash his brutal justice. Kill.

Often when we think of Bollywood and action it’s with a large side of cheese. The physics in Bollywood usually don’t resemble our own, the endless gun magazines feel hilariously obvious and the heroes in these stories resemble more Johnny Bravo than John Wick or John McClane. Think of a less serious Wanted (James McAvoy) with all its bullet bending and instant healing and you get what Bollywood is usually going for. To clarify, I’m no expert in Hindi cinema, this is just purely observational. But all of that silliness is put to the side with Kill, opting for a more serious, in-your-face approach to its action and particularly its violence.

Amrit catching a knife. Kill.

Kill may not be the most creative title, it is unquestionably the most apt one as bodies drop and don’t stop until the credits roll after ninety plus minutes of glorious, gory savagery. The camera sits back as much as possible considering the confined setting of a heavily populated passenger train. With wide angles wherever appropriate, the cinematography is never interested in hiding things but rather enhancing the moment as it highlights its actors’ skills while remaining impartial. It becomes clear early on what kind of ferocity is impending for these characters and just how persistent it will all be. 

The first half is about establishing the players, the setting and the rules of this world. About halfway through a tonal shift takes place and the true nature of our hero is revealed. It is the Bollywood equivalent of opening up a can of whoop ass. Kill is relentless, bloody as hell, violent as they come and singularly focused on what it’s trying to achieve. It is small moments of build ups and eruptions all leading to a final confrontation of unforgiving punishment. It can feel a bit repetitive at times but this is merely a small gripe of mine. Overall, Kill delivers big time. 

Amrit stone cold. Kill.

Rated R For: strong bloody violence throughout, grisly images & language

Runtime: 115 minutes

After Credits Scene: No

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Starring: Lakshya, Raghav Juyal, Tanya Maniktala, Abhishek Chauhan

Directed By: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Out of 10

Story: 7/ Acting: 8/ Directing: 9/ Visuals: 9


Buy to Own: Yes


Check out the trailer below:


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