Boy Kills World – Dir: Mortiz Mohr (Film Review)

Boy Kills World is an action-packed comedy-thriller from director Moritz Mohr, that bursts onto the screen with the force of a martial arts roundhouse kick and seduces you with the nostalgic, replayable charm of a classic arcade game.

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Rothe, Michelle Dockery, Famke Janssen, Sharlto Copley, Brett Gelman, Isaiah Mustafa, Andrew Koji

Bill Skarsgård (as the titular ‘Boy’) takes viewers on a frenetic ride through a world of vengeance, absurdity, and (mostly) surprising twists, drenched in blood, brutality, and… wait, Sterling Archer?

Arguably the most unique aspect of Boy Kills World is the consistent inner dialogue voice-over elevated by the comedic genius of H. Jon Benjamin (voice of Archer’s Sterling Archer and Bob’s Burgers’ Bob Belcher), which adds necessary levity to create a fresh and hilarious take on the bloody revenge genre.

Stylistically, the film is absolutely gorgeous. Mohr infuses every frame with a vibrant aesthetic that pays homage to classic arcade games while also embracing modern sensibilities. It’s a little bit Blade Runner 2049 and a little low-budget Turbo Kid, creating a visual language in Boy Kills World that feels kinetic and tangible. It draws viewers into its high-octane world with the incredible martial arts; where each action sequence is choreographed with precision and punctuated with crunching, thudding impacts.

As you may have guessed from the title, violence is a central theme in Boy Kills World, but it’s violence with a purpose, presented in an almost innocuous irony and ultimately pushing the pointlessness of revenge. But rather than gratuitous bloodshed, the action serves to propel the story forward and highlight the stakes faced by our protagonist – the more intensely brutal the action becomes, the more reflective it serves when looking back on the narrative later.

Skarsgård is understated and exceptional here, delivering a compelling performance as the deaf-mute martial arts expert driven by a thirst for revenge. His physicality is matched only by his emotional depth, allowing viewers to empathise with his journey despite his lack of dialogue, which he supports with perfect physical comedy and expression.

The supporting cast also shines, with Jessica Rothe, Michelle Dockery, Famke Janssen, Sharlto Copley, Brett Gelman, Isaiah Mustafa, and Andrew Koji each delivering memorable performances in their own, unique, special-supporting-character way. There’s hyper-styled assassin, June 27, with a Daft-Punk motorcycle murder helmet that I’m already considering for this year’s Halloween party, the incredible martial arts expertise of Yayan Ruhian (watch The Raid: Redemption if you want to see this master in action), and the double-team mad hilarity of Andrew Koji and Isaiah Mustafa as rebels aiding Boy in his mission.

Being the unflinching gore-fiend B-movie lover I am, Boy Kills World is just the perfect goofy date night film. It’s fun, gorgeous, bloody and undeniably entertaining, but not without its flaws. The last act of the film drags on a little longer than necessary, and some plot developments may feel a bit predictable – yet none of this fully detracts from the film or slows its momentum.

In many ways, Boy Kills World feels like a modern homage to the classic action films of the 1980s. It’s got the same sense of over-the-top energy and larger-than-life characters, and with just enough of a fresh twist that makes it feel relevant today. I’d usually litter in a handful of relevant references here, but this manic cocktail feels like a blend of all my favourites: a large serving of The Raid: Redemption, mixed with Turbo Kid, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, and Boss Level.

I wish we’d have more of these films; a testament that a new perspective and fresh energy can revitalise the most paper-thin of revenge stories. Packed with stylish aesthetics, incredible action, laugh-out-loud comedy, and almost 2 hours of non-stop madness, it’s a perfect excuse to spend two hours sharing a bucket of popcorn and going along for the ride – because once Boy Kills World starts building its momentum, you sure as hell won’t want it to stop.

Oxford Lamoureaux

In Cinemas now! Click here for tickets and showtimes