Monday, July 01, 2024

Kill: Featuring 52 Kinds of Knives

India's NSG commandos, the “Black Cats,” train to face the Pakistani and Chinese militaries (despite BRIC), so Captains Amrit Rathod and Viresh Chatwal should be able to handle a gang of bandits. They will be outnumbered 36 to 2. Of course, there are only two or three bad guys who match their skills, but the desperate thugs can easily kill Rathod’s beloved and her wealthy family. Consequently, the top priority for the NSG officers will be protecting innocents, but the bodies inevitably start piling up in Nikhil Bhat’s Kill, which opens this Friday in theaters.

Originally, Rathod took leave (with his wingman) to convince his true love, Tulika Thakur, not to marry the husband her wealthy and powerful father Baldeo Singh Thakur, had arranged for her. The “mission” was practically “accomplished.” They were simply waiting to explain things to her father back in New Delhi. Unfortunately, a band of cutthroats deliberately modeled on the dacoits starts robbing and terrorizing the train. When they recognize the wealthy Thakur, they figure they hit the jackpot. However, when Rathod realizes his Tulika might be in danger, he and Chatwal start working their way through the goons towards her train-car.

In terms of concept,
Kill is very much Die Hard on a train, but it is about one hundred times more brutal than Under Siege 2. It might be more accurate to call it The Raid: Redemption on a train. There might be a lot of blood, but technically it is mostly bone-snapping melee rather than outright murder for the first forty-five minutes or so. Unfortunately, when Chatwal reluctantly kills a senior clan member, it stokes the gang’s rage. From there, the stakes and the body-count rise exponentially.

If you want beatdowns, Bhat and action-directors Oh Se-young and Parvez Shaikh serve them up pretty much non-stop (using 52 varieties of knives according to the press notes—so there!).
Kill also has fewer timeouts than in Xavier Gens’ Mayhem or Dev Patel’s Monkey Man. You can almost think of it as the hallway fight scene from Oldboy maintained for a solid one hundred-some minutes.

Lakshya definitely has the chops and the presence to carry the film. Both he and Abhishek Chauhan (as Chatwal) look well trained in Krav Maga and Pekiti-Tirsia Kati. They also have decent comradely chemistry together. Even as the get tagged with injuries, Chatwal more than Rathod, they are more than credibly equal to the thirty-some pseudo-dacoits—at least according to the accepted logic of martial arts cinema.

Raghav Juyal also makes Fani, the rebellious son of the gang leader, a seriously fierce and twitchy villain. He is not quite at the level of Yayan “Mad Dog” Ruhian in
The Raid, but he is definitely one bad customer you would not want to meet in real life.

might sound like many other Die Hard-inspired films, perhaps distinguished by its ferocity. Yet, it is willing to go places few actions movies will dare to go—and it does so shockingly early. Bhat is a bit of a rule-breaker, but he still delivers satisfaction. It is not for the squeamish, but Kill absolutely stands out from the crowd. Keep in mind, the title is no joke. Highly recommended for action fans, Kill opens Wednesday (7/3) in New York at the AMC Empire (and 8/22 in Brazil).