Kill Review | Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s Movie Sets a New Benchmark for Gory Action Films

Ever since Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s Kill premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, there has been a huge buzz around the film because of the way the action has been conceived in that film. A few days before its release, it was revealed that Chad Stahelski, who made the John Wick movies, has plans to produce a remake of this film in Hollywood. Apart from the teasing gory trailer, all these details were enough to get me excited about the movie. Well, once I finished watching the film, I clearly understood what kind of adrenalin rush Stahelski may have experienced while watching this film. Kill is not heavy on plot, but the progression of its action from brutal to gory is terrific.

Our hero Amrit, an NSG Commando, is in a relationship with a girl named Tulika, whose father is an extremely influential person. The duo decides to get married in Delhi once Tulika’s family reaches there, and Amrit also joins the train journey secretly. But the smooth eloping plans of the couple had some uninvited troubles as a big gang of dakoits decided to loot the train. The resistance they showed and the repercussions of that is what we see in Kill.

SPOILERS AHEAD! Much like John Wick, this is not a plot-heavy film. Well, because of its franchise nature, John Wick was able to build a world that we all know in retrospect. So in Kill, which has a runtime of 107 minutes, there are no major backstories to make us root for the hero. Just like how we understood Wick’s love for his wife by the way he reacted after the dog’s death, here it is Amrit’s reaction that gives us an idea about the intensity of the relationship he shared with Tulika. By dividing the action into two different modes, Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt just gives you that cue to buckle up.

It is the action choreography that makes this movie such a unique experience. At first, even our hero is like let’s just focus on resisting, and let’s not be the instigators. So, the initial round of action is on the softer side (only in retrospect). But once the inciting incident happens, the movie and the action shift gears, and our hero switches to his beast mode. The wide variety of killings that happen in the film can make you do a YouTube video, and it is violent to the core. Heads are getting chopped, knives are entering all parts of the human body, it is a stabbing spree, and at one point, one of the main character’s heads is in fumes. I mean, everyone in the audience was unanimously making voices like ufff, ouch, yikes, eww, etc.

Rafey Mehmood’s cinematography is brilliant, considering how limited he was in terms of space to navigate. He uses the lights pretty effectively to switch the modes of action. Shivkumar V. Panicker also had this tough job keeping the action real. He had to ensure the action continuity in all those punches, and the camera switching also meant maintaining the space continuity. If the cuts confuse you in terms of space, it can ruin the action, and I loved that aspect of the cuts. It was also interesting how he chose to cut from one side of the train to another side to balance out the intensity of the action. There are instances in the film where men are walking on top of moving trains, but in the case of Kill, that felt a lot more real as you can see them struggling to walk on top of a train. The sound design is also playing an integral role in amplifying the brutality of the action.

This is Lakshya’s feature film debut, and the major thing he had to do here was to look the part. A commando who can kill 40+ goons without using a gun has to be believable. And thanks to his physique and that attitude (which slightly reminded me of butcher Ranbir in Animal), Lakshya looked perfect for the part. Tanya Maniktala, as the love interest of Amrit, fits the part, and her performance does manage to create that pain, which justifies the “Aisa Kaun Martha Bhe” mode of the hero. Ashish Vidyarthi as the chief of the decoits, was really good. In terms of performance, my favorite was Raghav Juyal. I used to watch his comical performances as the dance reality show host in reels and shorts, and he has actually channeled the same energy into this egoistic character. The uncontrollable and remorseless side of Fani was depicted brilliantly by him.

In terms of how it has pulled off action with perfection, Kill is definitely setting a new benchmark. It’s not illogical scaled-up gore for the sake of showing something crazy. It is not set in a world where police and other forces are nonexistent. There is a cheesy Dharma movie romantic texture for the story. But it never really becomes an evident layer to make you wince.

Final Thoughts

In terms of how it has pulled off action with perfection, Kill is definitely setting a new benchmark. It’s not illogical scaled-up gore for the sake of showing something crazy.




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