Kill – movie review

The title says it all you need to know about this visceral, ultra-violent action thriller from India. Kill delivers a high body count and plenty of gore and mayhem. Most of the action is confined to a train, so it comes across like The Raid set on a train.

The film takes place on a train travelling to New Delhi and the plot itself is pretty straightforward. On board is the beautiful Tulika (Tanya Maniktala), the daughter of a wealthy and powerful businessman who has arranged for her to be married, against her will. She is travelling with her family. On board the train is specialist commando Amrit (played by television actor Laksh Lalwani – credited here as Laksya – and making his feature film debut) who is in love with Tulika and hopes to convince her to elope with him. Also on the train is an extended family gang of vicious knife-wielding thieves who set out to intimidate and rob the passengers. They are led by the ruthless Fani (Raghav Juyal).

Amrit and his best friend Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan), a fellow commando, fight back against the thieves, which results in lots of violent confrontations and a high body count. The numerous fight scenes are superbly choreographed and deliver plenty of no-holds barred bone crunching action within the narrow confines of a train carriage. And some of the killings are quite inventive, including lots of ceramic objects and even a fire extinguisher. The bone-crunching sound design is quite effective.

Kill marks a change of pace for director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat who is better known for a string of light fare and romantic comedies. Bhat brings an intense, propulsive pace and kinetic energy to the material that is reminiscent of the best Korean action cinema, and films like Snowpiercer in particular. Much of the violence here is quite brutal and graphic and quite realistic in its depiction of the carnage. The film was nicely shot by cinematographer Rafey Mehmood, whose camera takes us into the midst of the action. Kill makes other films set on a train, such as Steven Seagal’s Under Siege 2, Bullet Train and Emperor of the North seem like a Disneyland theme park ride by comparison. Bhat uses the claustrophobic setting to good effect in ratcheting up the action.

Amrit is an indestructible hero and killing machine who suffers many a beating (much like John Wick and even the taciturn and indestructible hero of the recent Sisu) and he comes across as a sort of Indian combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham and Jet Li. In his first feature film Laksya acquits himself well in a physically punishing and demanding role. There is one scene in which he takes off his shirt to tend to his numerous cuts and wounds, which gives him an opportunity to show off his ripped abs. Juyal hams it nicely as the evil villain of the piece.

With its brutal, unapologetic take-no-prisoners approach and plenty of unflinching violence crammed into a brisk 105 minutes, Kill is certainly not for the squeamish. Kill is vastly different from much of Bollywood cinema and is a real crowd pleaser.

Greg King

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