Review: Boy Kills World

Frenetic and extremely gory, but also a little tiring.

When his family is killed by a tyrannical family that holds an iron grip over the city, a mute, deaf boy is trained into a killer. His sole purpose is revenge.

Directed by relative newcomer Moritz Mohr, Boy Kills World is an extremely bloody, visceral action movie in line with John Wick and Monkey Man, but with the postmodernism of Deadpool. Starring Bill Skarsgard (who is appearing in a lot of movies right now, including It and John Wick 4) Famke Janssen (X-Men), Andrew Koji (Bullet Train) and Yayan Ruhian (The Raid) the film has a pretty stacked action-movie cast of young actors. It isn’t shy either: the film is all about the punching, and almost nothing else.

But is impressive choreography enough?

The film’s principle gimmick is that our unnamed protagonist, played by a physically rippling Bill Skarsgard, is mute and also deaf. In compensation for this, the child gave himself an “inner voice”, based off of a fighting video game announcer. The voice is provided by H. Jon Benjamin, most familiarly known as the voice of Archer, from the mature cartoon of the same name. Throughout the movie, our protagonist is unable to converse with others, but his thoughts are conveyed to us, while at the same time he is haunted by visions of his dead sister. “Unreliable narrator”, indeed.

The film begins with many training montages between Skarsgard’s Boy and Ruhian’s Shaman. It is clear immediately that the fighting is presented intensely and practically, with all actors invested and capable. What follows is a manic adventure as the Boy directly attacks the tyrannical regime and all their foot soldiers.

Boy might have arrived on the wrong floor

The trailer is an excellent trailer for those audiences looking for a Deadpool-esque, video game inspired punch-em up. It showcases a Hunger Games-style reality show, with the Boy fighting deadly breakfast cereal mascots. But this leads us into our first problem.
When the film eventually reaches this cereal-mascot battle, it proved to be the least interesting fight in the whole movie. The film’s intensity means that it peaks very early; the first act or two are the most interesting and fun, but by the time the third act rolls around… it is quite tiring. This is perhaps due to the film keeping mum about its world-building and character backstories. We don’t really know these people, or who our villains are. So after a certain amount of blood spilling, it all gets a little samey.

In fact, the film’s reluctance to tell the audience anything, defuses any revelations that might be lying in wait…

Performances are good. It is a lot of fun having H. Jon Benjamin’s voice commenting on everything with a wry sense of bemusement. Add to that, Boy interacting with a character who he cannot read the lips of. Making for some very fun cut-away vignettes. Sharlto Copley is playing the character he usually plays, Michelle Dockery plays a good femme fatale.
Perhaps the only performance that was too irritating was Andrew Koji.

Ultimately, it is quite a shallow experience. It is an excessively violent action movie that wants to be weirder and sillier than it actually is. Credit to the director, Moritz Mohr, though; this is a positive step into big screen movies!

It was entertaining, and the fight choreography was excellent. Just a little samey after a while.

3 out of 5 stars

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