Kill Is A Bone-Cracking Symphony of Brutal Carnage And Gore

Lakshya in Kill. Image Courtesy of Roadside Attraction
Lakshya in Kill. Image Courtesy of Roadside Attraction /

On the third episode of the Til Death Do Us Blart podcast (in which five men rewatch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 annually and then record their thoughts on the experience), host Griffin McElroy drops a bombshell. He didn't just revisit Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. He immersed himself in it by setting the entire movie to the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon. A Dark Side of the Rainbow pastiche, Griffin observes that this experience opened his eyes to this Kevin James feature’s structure.

The album's various songs didn't just perfectly sync up to on-screen actions in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. This movie lasted long enough for two run-throughs of the albums. With this trait in place, Griffin concludes Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is a motion picture of two halves. Pink Floyd's artistry holds the key to that important facet. Writer/director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s Kill has a similarly bifurcated composition. The entire tone drastically shifts once an unspeakable event alters the protagonist’s life. You don’t need Pink Floyd tunes to uncover this movie’s structure. The drastic shift in on-screen brutality after the 45-minute mark vividly announces Kill’s second half has begun.

As Kill begins, though, the on-screen emphasis is on love. Amrit (Lakshya) is head over heels for Tulika (Tanya Maniktala), a lady who passionately reciprocates Amrit's advances. Unfortunately for the pair, Tulika is engaged to another man she has no real fondness for. With this arranged marriage imminent, Amrit knows it's time for something bold to proclaim his love. He decides to sneak onto a train that Tulika and her family boarded on their way to the wedding. As a stowaway, he hopes to prevent this union. Unfortunately, Fani (Raghav Juyal) and his vicious henchmen are also aboard the train.

As they began harassing Tulika, her sister Aahna (Adrija Sinha), and other passengers, Amrit's true colors come in handy. He isn't just a lovesick guy, you see. He's also an army commando deeply experienced in ruthlessly dispatching foes. Fani and company have no idea who they’re messing with, especially since Amrit only becomes more bloodthirsty as this train ride goes on.

For Kill, Bhat has combined the relentless violent vengeance of Mandy with the confined scope of Die Hard. Much like chocolate & peanut butter or Post Malone & Beyonce, Mandy & Die Hard’s respective auras prove irresistible together. Drawing from great action movies of the past, Bhat also delivers unique flourishes subsequent entries action films will undoubtedly mimic. This includes the distinctive weaponry wielded by Amrit and his adversaries informed by India’s strict gun laws.

In America, guns are everywhere. Inevitably, our action movies default to gunfire when it’s time for skirmishes. Kill, meanwhile, takes place in a country where people don’t have Second Amendment tattoos on their backs. Select characters (namely police officers) in the runtime wield guns. However, the majority of on-screen figures use other tools to intimidate and slaughter people. This lends an excitingly unpredictable spirit to Kill as you never know what object can become a weapon next. Scenes don't just grind to a halt thanks to a gun's sudden appearance. Instead, dramatic tension is heightened as Amrit, Fani, and other characters use everything from knives to fire extinguishers to Zippo lighters as gnarly tools. Unique real-world circumstances inform a normal passenger train turning into a weapons depot in Bhat’s creative screenplay.

Said script unleashes increasingly brutal fight sequences that certainly left me gleefully squealing "oh my God!" more than once. Imaginative deaths abound as Amrit tears his way through enemies. Bhat, cinematographer Rafey Mehmood, and editor Shivkumar V. Panickervarious nicely realize the various scuffles and intense physical encounters. Some early fights with too many cuts instilled deep worries in my soul. Would the ensuing film let individual aggressive shots breathe? Thankfully, Bhat and Panicker eventually get into a pleasing visual groove with the brutality. Distractingly brief shots vanish. In their place are sustained images with more careful editing. This kind of filmmaking really lets you soak in all the gory spectacle and superb fight choreography.

Bhat and Mehmood are also skilled in wringing maximum visual possibilities out of Kill’s limited confines. The features first half firmly establishes the default conventional look of the train’s interior. Such a backdrop initially works as an effective contrast to the brutal brawling. As the runtime progresses, though, Bhat and Mehmood creatively adjust the lighting or atmosphere of these train cars. A fight involving a fire extinguisher eventually leaves one such car with a light blue tint. Later, only a few lights illuminate another car to instill an ominous mood. These variations impact the viewer thanks to how well Kill’s crew cements a “normal world” later set pieces vividly subvert.

Such careful visual work exemplifies how well Kill exploits its minimal number of locations. The intimate scope of the proceedings also allows moviegoers to get cozy with some deeply enjoyable performances. This is particularly true of Raghav Juyal as Fani. What a relief to have a modern action movie villain firmly in the mold of Hans Gruber or John Lithgow in Cliffhanger. Fani is just a 110% repellant guy and Juyal revels in all the cheeky fun of such a figure. His delivery of lines like “I’m back!” ooze with fun contemptibility. However, such flourishes don’t come at the expense of the character’s physically intimidating nature.

Kill’s consistently solid performances even extend to Lakshya and Maniktala’s endearing romantic rapport. Far too many action movies treat a supposedly central relationship storyline in an obligatory fashion. Affairs of the heart are an afterthought. Same goes for the thought of lead actors sharing any chemistry. Typically, these elements in action movies leave movie theater patrons squirming in their seats. Lakshya and Maniktala, though, are deeply cute in their interactions together. In a short amount of screentime (our heroes embark on that fateful train roughly six minutes into the runtime!), they sell the duo’s long-standing affection for one another. Better yet, they do so without a trace of irony. Full-throttle commitment courses through their performances. It’s an adorably gooey romance you can totally buy into.

Lakshya and Mantikala could have effectively anchored a straightforward romantic drama together. That quality provides a great emotional bedrock for Kill. Such a bedrock makes it all the more excitingly rattling when throats begin oozing with blood on-screen. You’ve got to have the hot sun to really appreciate the rain, after all. As any Blart Side of the Mall veterans can attest, contrasting artistic elements are often perfect bedfellows. So it is with Kill, which deftly blends heart and bloodthirsty kills. Mandy and Die Hard would be so proud.

Next. What Was The Biggest Month In History at the Domestic Box Office?. What Was The Biggest Month In History at the Domestic Box Office?. dark