08th Jul2024

‘Kill’ Review

by Jasmine Valentine

Stars: Lakshya, Raghav Juyal, Abhishek Chauhan, Tanya Maniktala | Written and Directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat, Ayesha Syed

As a train heads to New Dehli, army commando Amrit (Lakshya) is on board after finding out that his one-true love Tulika (Tanya Maniktala) has got engaged against her will. While there, around 40 thieves are also on board, intent on stealing the phones and belongings of those around them. What ensues is bloodthirsty chaos while on the move, as Amrit teams up with another commando to take them all on.

If we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s incredibly lazy to compare movies to ones that have come before — but that enters a new level when we compare Western films to international industries. In the case of Indian flick Kill, the comparison was established before it was even released… just think of John Wick on a train, or The Raid meets Die Hard. Not only does it give fans an unnecessary sense of expectation, but it does Kill a disservice to be held to a bastion of Western success. Even so, the movie is dynamic, gory yet clearly flawed.

One thing is undisputed — Kill easily delivers on its name. It’s easily one of 2024’s goriest releases, carefully choreographed with fast-moving action sequences that almost always end with viewers wanting to look away from the screen. These moments give the movie its energy, throttling forward at the speed of a bullet train. Obviously, this is the reason why we’ve all bought tickets to see it, and Kill achieves its aim more than successfully.

With so much violence comes a tsunami of melodrama as a byproduct, and sometimes (pardon the pun), this leads to overkill. Oftentimes coming close to uncomfortable viewing, sustaining such an overwhelming tone marries what’s happening and works against it all at once. This is particularly noticeable in the film’s opening half-hour, which is a jumbled smorgasbord of worldbuilding that could easily be streamlined for greater effect. On top of this, the dialogue is ropey at best and jarring at worst — but do we need wordsmiths when we just want to see good fighting?

Indian film needs to make itself known in Western mainstream cinema — and if you look at any Cineworld listings across the country, it’s doing exactly that. Kill earns its place among the Indian films of 2024 that must be seen purely for its astonishing dynamism, but shouldn’t be compared to what we already know or are expecting. It’s arguably fair to say that Kill boils down what’s so unique and compelling about Indian cinema into just under two hours, and so much of its strength comes from its visual flair. You’re guaranteed to have a good time watching it just as much as you’ll most likely spot the details that take you out of its flow. Whether viewers will remember it remains to be seen, possibly falling short of making an impact that lasts for longer than its release schedule.

*** 3/5

Kill is in cinemas now.

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