Boy Kills World : Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on April 25, 2024 in / No Comments

 

Rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, language, some drug use and sexual references. Contains a post-credits scene. Running time: 111 minutes. Released by Lionsgate.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, Boy Kills WorldThe one thing separating Boy Kills World from its hyperviolent brethren is the one thing I can’t talk about: the ending. We’ve seen movies like this before – someone undergoes years of training to become an instrument of death, aiming to avenge his family’s death at the hands of oppressors – but the twist is something that throws this movie into a conflicted headspace that few are capable of attempting, much less executing successfully. But Boy Kills World succeeds, and wow – this movie makes you feel it.

Director Moritz Mohr flings a bit of everything into this kitchen-sink action-comedy flick, using every visual and visceral tactic to bring us into Boy’s (Bill Skarsgård) journey from little boy to built-like-a-brick-shithouse killer. Exploding heads, blood-spewing lacerations, blazing gunfights (where you wonder how the hell the bad guys are so terrible at aiming!), brutal training sessions, drug-hazed hallucinations, and visions of dead relatives – yeah, this movie goes hard. To top it all off, Boy’s hearing and speech have been taken from him, leaving him only with an inner monologue dictated by a guy who sounds like the announcer from Street Fighter 2 (H. Jon Benjamin, who sounds like he had a blast recording his narration).

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, Boy Kills WorldBenjamin deserves top billing as our guide taking us through everything, from Boy’s muddled past to his vengeful present. The reason for this narration is provided in one of the film’s few sweet and normal passages, centering on times spent with his sister, Mina (Quinn Copeland), before she and their mother were executed by the city’s ruling family, the van der Koys. The local government may exist, but they – like everything and everyone else – are all under the van der Koys’ bootheels. 12 years later, Boy has come back to take his revenge, and there’s gonna be a lot of blood and guts left in his wake.

Boy Kills World starts off as a comedy despite its fascist and authoritarian trappings, thanks to Benjamin’s real-time narration and Bill Skarsgård’s knack for physical comedy and action. Skarsgård uses his near-Silly Putty-like facial expressions and hardened physique to blend brutality with laughs, augmented by Benjamin’s ability to describe everything running through Boy’s brain, whether it’s running after bad guys, haphazardly misinterpreting one man’s gibberish, or falling unexpectedly through an awning. Remember Christopher Nolan’s Memento and how Leonard self-narrates a waking episode where he’s chasing someone and harrowingly realizes he’s the one being chased and shot at? Consider Skarsgård and Benjamin’s double-act to be a comedically over-the-top analog, complete with hilarious asides as Boy struggles to meet his objectives.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, Boy Kills WorldBut once Boy – aided a duo of resistance fighters meant for added comedic hijinks – officially starts his parade of violence, there’s little getting in the way of his collision course with the van der Koys. One by one, his boss-level encounters with each of the van der Koy brothers and sisters rise in intensity and disgust, starting with low-level wannabe entertainer Glen (Sharlto Copley). But that’s where the film’s morals and themes of duality start creeping in, and the second half takes us beyond the bloody martial arts and gunplay into something more serious. Finally, when all is revealed, the film roundhouse-kicks us with one of the best cinematic conundrums ever: After everything Boy has gone through to get where he is in the third act… who’s the good guy?

This movie revels in the outlandish and exaggerated. From real-world set pieces and fights on city streets to a warehouse shootout to a TV studio dressed as a children’s programming set, Boy Kills World doesn’t do anything the usual way. Peter Matjasko’s whirlwind cinematography bumps the film’s kinetic energy up to uncontainable amounts, capturing Dawid Szatarski’s blinding fight choreography and Mike Berg’s stellar production design with clarity and purpose. You do have to wonder, though, how Boy manages to go up against soldiers armed with automatic weapons and doesn’t get but maybe one bullet in him; it’s like this army was trained by the Stormtroopers in Star Wars, and some credibility gets lost when watching them firing at Boy and not hitting a damn thing.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, Boy Kills WorldWait… what am I even talking about, “credibility” – in THIS movie? Sheesh. This movie was built to destroy credibility (in more ways than you think), from its outrageous stuntwork and huge caricaturizations of this world’s inhabitants to the film’s wordless post-credits scene. Sure, there’s something to be said about a ruling dynasty gone to despotic extremes (keep in mind, the film’s distributor also gave us the filmed adaptations of The Hunger Games novels), and it siphons more than its fair share from various cinematic influences. (I’m not naming them, because that would be spoiling.) But in the hands of Moritz Mohr and screenwriters Arend Remmers and Tyler Burton Smith, Boy Kills World becomes much more than a political narrative wrapped in a collection of action cinema’s greatest hits; it becomes a vicious and stylish wrecking machine, stopping only to take the knife out of its innards before lurching onward to a destination that’ll leave your head spinning and your eyeballs hammered into oblivion.

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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