‘Kill’ unleashes cathartic emotions and bloodshed on a train

By Rob Hunter · Published on July 8, 2024

Action movies with monotonous plots, brash protagonists, and a focus on more realistic fights and stunts (rather than CGI-heavy set pieces) used to be a staple in movie theaters in the ’80s and ’90s. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and others found themselves in the wrong place at the right time and proceeded to beat, maim, and murder dozens of nameless bad guys for our entertainment, and it was glorious. We don’t get these cinematic pleasures all that often these days, though Jason Statham does tear it up beautifully in this year’s film. The beekeeperBut a new Indian film has hit American theaters in limited release, and it’s tailor-made for fans of simple, elegant, and highly satisfying bloodlust. Kill It’s not just its title, it’s also the main character’s mantra, and yes, it’s glorious.

Amrit (Lakshya) is an army commando who finds out that the woman (Tania Maniktala) whom he loves has been granted an engagement arranged by his father. He goes on vacation with his good friend Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan) to propose to her and hopefully take her away from here, but after joining her family on a long train ride, a new problem arises. The bandits have decided to attack the train, steal from the passengers and cause chaos, but they make a grave mistake when their most arrogant member, Fani (Raghav Juyal), kills someone close to Amrit. Fools.

Kill avoids the grandiose and elaborately over-the-top action of recent Indian hits like RRR (2022) and Pathan (2023) to deliver a tight, agile ride fueled by adrenaline, momentum and unbridled violence. It’s as thrilling and bloody as you’d expect, but writer-director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat It has something extra up its sleeve in the form of some unexpected emotional moments. You expect Amrit to be stricken with emotional loss, but have you ever thought about what the hordes of convicted goons and thieves are going through?

We’ll talk more about this below, but first we need to talk about action, since that’s what… KillDaily bread. Comparisons with Gareth Evans The raid (2011) are apt, to a point, as instead of fighting her way up a skyscraper, Amrit makes her way through a moving train. Both films devote their final two-thirds to nearly non-stop action, but a big difference here is in the style of action. While Iko Uwais unleashes his silat style of martial arts throughout, Lakshya uses her formal martial arts to defend and disarm enemies at first before becoming more animalistic along the way. Soon she’s a fighting beast, moving through the train, and her enemies like the human Olestra leave a real mess in their wake.

The cinema is full of great action movies set on trains, from Buster Keaton The general (1926) by Peter Hyams Small margin (1990) and Bhat Kill It easily earns a spot on the list. Exterior moments are kept to a minimum as we spend almost the entire film within the confines of the train. Rather than becoming boring, however, the increasingly tight confines lend themselves wonderfully to fights and brawls that are forced to become more creative in their execution. Amrit fights two guys in a small bathroom, they play hide and seek in the sleeper car, and every surface aboard the train becomes a landing spot for cracking bones and skulls.

And Amrit breaks a lot of bones and skulls as he swings from defensiveness to aggression, from controlled authority to animal rage, leaving a trail of bodies both on the train and casually thrown along the journey. This shift from honorable man to monstrous avenger is a key element at play here, and while Kill It can easily be enjoyed as a purely thrilling action film, with Bhat exploring themes of revenge, loss and humanity’s never-ending cycle of violence in a way that feels fresh. We’ve seen Amrit’s journey before, but the film pays almost as much attention to the emotional journeys of the bad guys.

The thugs and henchmen in the movies are almost always nameless men who are there to be killed by the hero, but here we are treated to brief snippets of conversations between dozens of men who give names and connections. It quickly becomes clear that all the men are from the same small town, robbing trains to help support their families, and that many of them are even related. Why is that important and special? Because while Amrit makes his way through them, the survivors are often left to mourn and grieve over their deaths. It’s a captivating image, grown men, the “villains” of the movie, sobbing at the sight of their friends and family physically destroyed.

As befits the genre, Lakshya does a fine job as our musclebound hero, even when he is overshadowed by the villains. Juval is wonderfully sleazy and sociopathic as the young upstart looking to take over his family’s criminal enterprise, and Ashish Vidyarthi He provides a fantastic counterpoint as the young man’s father, a weathered and weary old man who holds a respected weight among the crew. They approach Amrit’s problem differently, but the end result is destined to be the same.

Kill It’s simply a great time at the movies. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see it in theaters, but it’ll still be a real hit on your TV at home. From the drive and brutal beatings to the high cost of revenge and some fun guitar riffs when certain characters appear on screen, it’s a simple action movie plot executed with style, sensory delights, and plenty of blood. Lots and lots of blood. Hopefully we’ll get a full franchise with titles like Kill again, Kill some more, Kill them until they are dead, Kill the killer, One last death

Related topics: Action

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is strange considering he’s so young. He’s our chief film critic and associate editor and considers “Broadcast News” to be his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter. @FakeRobHunter.

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