Boy Kills World Delivers A Dystopian Revenge Story

Stepping into the outlandish dystopian world of ‘Boy Kills World,’ one can’t help but feel a mix of anticipation and skepticism. It’s a loud, in-your-face entry in a genre often dominated by recycled formulas, promising a fresh perspective with its original concept. Though my hopes were high, as the credits rolled, I felt unsure it truly delivered on its promise. While I had a fairly good time throughout, the film feels more calculated than refreshing; as if conceived via an action film mad lib rather than the spark of imagination. While a deaf, mute, nameless protagonist referred to only as Boy, on a mission of revenge, is a compelling twist on the tried and true revenge formula, it’s missing a degree of sharpness in its execution.

‘Boy Kills World’ feels like ‘John Wick’ was thrown in the blender with ‘The Raid’ and the ‘Crank’ films, maybe even with a dash of ‘Squid Game’ for good measure. It’s vibrant and gleeful in its violence and action sequences. Again it’s a promising recipe for success and one I’m sure that many will enjoy. It’s by no means a bad film, but for me, it just didn’t hit that perfect note of success. There’s a long build-up in the film’s beginning designed to make us invest emotionally in Boy. This is bookended – no spoilers – with a 3rd act twist that feels clunky and grinds the film to a halt before it has to pick momentum back up to reach its end.

Bonkers is a world you will probably hear frequently when talking about Boy Kills World. That’s not inaccurate. The film’s dystopian world is cartoonishly evil and outrageously violent. Blood splatters like rain falls. Punches and slashes feel visceral; more than a few audible reactions were heard during fight scenes. H. Jon Benjamin’s inclusion as “Boy’s” inner monologue is inherently funny. Likewise, Bill Skarsgård’s physical performance, his perfectly played expression of the words coming out of Benjamin’s mouth, is worth the price of admission. There’s no doubt that director Moritz Mohr is well-versed in action and has a flair for the absurd and over the top.

All this to say, Mohr’s first full-length effort is solid; rounded out by delicious supporting performances from the likes of Michelle Dockery, Andrew Koji, and Sharlto Copley. Isaiah Mustafa also appears, bringing a lot of laughs in my screening, but I felt slightly uncomfortable at the notion that the only Black man Boy encounters is the only person whose lips he can’t read. Brett Gelman also appears in an uneven supporting performance, marked by his trademark yelling, ranting, and smarmy “smartest man in the room” routine. Famke Janssen feels completely underutilized. It’s a film that at times wants to have the emotional groundedness of the ‘Wick’ films while relishing in the absurdity of something like ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’, but fails to find the balance.


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