Boy Kills World

Boy Kills World
Boy Kills World
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The genre of the ‘badass guy goes on rampage after his family and/or dog is murdered’, is not original anymore — consider John Wick as one of the ultimate examples, or Dev Patel’s Monkey Man as a recent one. Moritz Mohr tries to do this with Boy Kills World by putting it in a zany, capitalism-fuelled dystopia; giving it video-game elements, and turning the violence up to 11. Unfortunately, what he achieves is more like an imitation of a revenge thriller rather than an interpretation.

We’re put right into protagonist Boy’s (Bill Skarsgård) backstory through booming, parodic voiceover that continues throughout the film – a way to let us into the mute character’s thoughts (but given that it’s not Skarsgård’s voice, it’s continually distracting and disconnecting). His family’s deaths are shown through flashback at breakneck speed before moving onto an epic training montage; Boy (played as a youngster by twins Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti) is turned into a killing machine by mysterious Shaman (The Raid’s Yayan Ruhian); his final form being ripped Skarsgård who sets out to see off this world’s glamorous tyrannical leaders – the Van Der Koys – in order to avenge his mother and sister.

When it comes, the rampage does go hard. Deranged action and intricate fight choreography are where Boy Kills World shines — the camera swoops around set-pieces including two-against-many corridor fight; dining-table massacre interspersed with munching on macarons; gnarliest use of cheese-grater since Evil Dead Rise — all realised in visceral, wince-inducing detail.

However, thinly drawn and obnoxiously executed is what happens around those action scenes. We’re given very little sense of emotional connection between Boy and his family or the Shaman so find it hard to care about them or what Boy is avenging; the rules of the oppressive society he’s fighting against are never established beyond a savage yearly ritual called ‘The Culling’; and the general tone is going for a Deadpool-style, fourth-wall-breaking wit that, save for couple of chuckle-worthy moments, never quite lands.

Amongst a smorgasbord of clear influences — from The Hunger Games to Tarantino — it’s the language of video games that is most prominent throughout Boy Kills World: threaded through everything from plot, to visuals, to colourful, exaggerated character design. But in trying to feel more like a game, it fails to deliver the depth and dimension it needs to really work as a movie.

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