'Kill' movie review: This satisfying actioner serves more than just guts and gore

The action in 'Kill' isn’t mindless but mindfully spaced out. It weaves a narrative of its own
'Kill' movie review: This satisfying actioner serves more than just guts and gore

Since time immemorial, the problem with violent actioners has been incessant, insufferable violence. The plot has always been paper thin, something to flip through before bones get cracking. Kill, concocted from the filmy sensibilities of Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and the Indie-energy of Oscar-winning Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment, changes all that. Here is a film that takes time to spread its cards. The Bollywood-y premise is soon snuffed out and it makes way for some bloody brain matter. Every punch, kick, stab becomes personal. No henchman dies in oblivion. No two kills are the same. This is no ordinary action movie.

Stoic commando Amrit Rathod (Lakshya) returns to base after a mission to a barrage of text messages. His girlfriend Tullika Singh Thakur (Tanya Maniktala) is about to be married off at her father’s behest. The engagement happens and the Thakur family is aboard a train from Ranchi to New Delhi. Amrit, along with fellow commando Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan), get on board to steal some moments with Tullika and convince her family to call off the wedding. All plans, however, are thrown out of the train window when a village of modern-day bandits (they even have mobile jammers), led by a theatrical Fani (Raghav Juyal), infiltrate the bogies. The commandos have to put their training to test and deal with this internal security issue.

The action in Kill isn’t mindless but mindfully spaced out. It weaves a narrative of its own. The fist fights and the flying kicks come first. It’s also more tactical in the beginning. “You are not fit for combat; we are heavily outnumbered,” Lakshya tells his sidekick Viresh, like a strategic army general. However, all protocols are pushed aside by the interval point, which has, arguably, the best and bloodiest title reveals for an Indian film in recent memory. A rescue mission turns into a vengeance trail. For the robbers, Lakshya’s Amrit brings forth the day of reckoning. The Amritkaal.

One of the best elements in Kill is that the villains are not reduced to being just the bad guys. They are a big family of outlaws, headed by Fani’s father Beni (Ashish Vidyarthi). Every henchman is somebody’s uncle, somebody’s father, somebody’s son. When Amrit uses a fire extinguisher to bash somebody’s head to dog food, it’s not just for gore-y satisfaction.

It ultimately leads to a minion, who was merely a towering heavy till this time, getting some character as he maddens with lust for revenge. An eye for an eye. I am guilty of being doubtful of dancer/actor Raghav Juyal’s abilities in delivering an antagonist that holds up to Lakshya’s deadly acrobatics. Raghav presents a villain that is both mirthful and menacing. One moment he is giving cricket analogies and in the next he is slicing a head in half with a machete.

His unpredictability is intoxicating. Ashish Vidyarthi is effective as the old-school outlaw whose time has passed. Whenever he appears on screen, an acoustic guitar riff, reminiscent of Westerns, starts playing. Kill is a fiery blend of two genres. It’s The Great Train Robbery (1903) morphing into The Raid (2011).

Director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat judiciously uses a confined space to present an actioner, every scene of which taps with nervous energy. The best action is the action that feels like a release. Kill lives up to its title. There are varied and inventive executions and the camera doesn’t flinch. We get to witness the gooey close-ups as men get stabbed in necks, eyes, mouths, and heads are split open on toilet seats and wash basins.

A baddie has the misfortune of getting his throat pumped with the foamy ingredients of a fire extinguisher. And, in an especially satisfying kill, a goon runs between berths holding his flaming head. Did somebody order a bheja fry?

If anywhere, the film lags in the romance between its lead pair Lakshya and Tanya. Lakshya’s stone-faced Stallone-ness fits perfectly with the action sequences but he is unable to shed the sturdiness when it comes to love.

Tanya makes you yearn for her character in the brief screen time she gets. But these are ignorable bits.

Kill satiates the bloodlust. It delivers on the carnage it promises. One hell of a ride.

Film: Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Cast: Lakshya, Raghav Juyal, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi

Rating : 4/5 stars

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