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‘Kill’ (review)

Every now and then, an action film comes along that achieves something extraordinary in the genre, which at times results in a handful of films reaching an exalted status among genre fans.

From the Hong Kong martial arts classics of the 1980s to the toe-curling tales of vengeance from contemporary Korean cinema to modern classics such as Indonesian hard-hitter The Raid and the exploits of John Wick utilizing genre icons both in front of and behind the camera, the action genre speaks a language that transcends cultures, with talent from across the globe increasingly crossing over into the filmmaking industries of peers elsewhere in the world.

With Kill, Indian filmmaker Nikhil Nagesh Bhat aims to expand on his nation’s approach to action cinema, and the result is quite a sight to behold.

Set aboard a train to New Delhi, the off-duty Indian commandos Amrit (Lakshya) and Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan) find themselves up against a horde of bandits set on robbing the passengers, the stakes only being raised by Amrit’s beloved Tulika (Tanya Maniktala) and her family being onboard.

As the situation escalates and the bandits’ willingness to use violence similarly increases, Amrit and Viresh must do what they can to stop the assailants, and brutality is the name of the game for both the good guys and the bad guys.

Citing The Raid as the inspiration for Kill, writer/director Bhat allied himself with Korean action director Se-yeong Oh, who worked alongside action director Parvez Shaikh, and the expertise of these action directors helped bring to life Bhat’s vision of blood-soaked realism in a way that marries well with more traditional narrative and stylistic elements associated with Indian cinema.

And while The Raid may have been the inspiration, Kill does not rip off The Raid, as Kill instead takes the concept of ruthless action movie violence set in a restricted space and makes it its own.

The story is as simple as they come, but when the spectacle of action violence is this bold and uses its confined setting of a moving train so eloquently, a complex story would only serve to make the film needlessly convoluted.

Kill is a brutal affair, and just when you think you know what kind of action awaits, the title card drops and the protagonist goes berserk, switching the movie into a gory overdrive that shifts the atmosphere from smoothly choreographed action awesomeness into gruesome slasher territory, as the violence is ramped up to levels that are not for the faint of heart.

This is not to say that Kill becomes gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous, which would have been tedious and unengaging.

Instead, what makes Kill stand out from other hyper brutal action thrillers is the time it takes for both the heroes and villains to lament their dead and show the emotional consequences of the extravagant carnage, something that is often sorely lacking in action films in general.

Due to the extreme violence showcased in Kill, the film is not for everyone, but for action movie fans who can stomach hyper violence, Kill is an exquisite blend of genres and styles, which does what it says on the tin by being the goriest and most violent Indian movie ever made, so jump onboard and enjoy the ride.

Verdict: 10 out of 10.

*  *  *  *  *  *
Produced by Karan Johar, Guneet Monga,
Apoorva Mehta, Achin Jain
Written and Directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat
Starring Lakshya, Raghav Juyal, Ashish Vidyarthi,
Harsh Chhaya, Tanya Maniktala

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