Boy Kills World – Killing Our Brain Cells Instead

MOVIE REVIEW – When a movie relies on excess, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. “Boy Kills World” is a prime example: a colorful, ultra-violent martial arts action flick, marking Moritz Mohr’s debut as a feature director, combining tiring humor with graphic violence. But when does a comedic action film go too far? For this one, it’s about 40 minutes in.


This film, a product of an international coalition of adult adolescents – directed by a German in South Africa, starring a Swedish lead with an American cast – crams every action movie cliché into its dystopian world, and then some. At times, it feels like a hyperactive homage to the 1973 Japanese classic “Lady Snowblood,” where a mute orphan undergoes brutal training to become a living weapon of vengeance. Other times, it’s more like a parody of “The Hunger Games” in the style of the Wayans brothers.



Too Much of Everything


These clashing styles merge in the character of Boy (Bill Skarsgård), whose sole mission is to kill the dystopian dictator Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen) after she murdered his family in an annual “culling” broadcasted live on TV. (Very “Hunger Games,” right down to the Van Der Koy family’s yellow-and-black flower insignia.) Since then, Boy has lived in the jungle, groomed for revenge by a mysterious shaman (Yayan Ruhian) who keeps reminding him that Hilda killed his family and now must die. The opportunity comes when Boy infiltrates another culling in the capital – a city with a haphazard mix of medieval and futuristic elements, where Middle Eastern-style markets sit next to old-school arcades.



Forced Humor Doesn’t Help


There are moments when “Boy Kills World” reaches its full imaginative potential, like when Boy fights for his life on a massive TV soundstage against an army of cereal mascots. Unfortunately, the film is held back by its juvenile humor. H. Jon Benjamin, a brilliant actor known for his voice work in numerous animated projects, narrates Boy’s “inner monologue.” It sounds great in theory, but in practice, it means an overload of explanatory voiceover in the first 15 minutes and a stream of profane jokes throughout the rest. If you enjoy a character looking straight into the camera after a long, technically complex shot and saying, “Oh, fuck,” get ready: you’ll see this half a dozen times.



Empty Visual Extravaganza


Initially, this is entertaining, but despite the fantastic setup, the actual storyline of “Boy Kills World” is repetitive and predictable, up to a twist that derails everything both tonally and narratively. (That’s a polite way of saying it makes no sense.) There’s plenty of action but little thought, which would be fine if there weren’t so much plot being forced down our throats with childish dialogue.

The issue isn’t with Skarsgård, who sometimes channels the physicality of a young Jean-Claude Van Damme (a supreme compliment). Nor is it with Janssen, who manages to extract some believability from her absurd character. Even the supporting cast can’t be blamed, although their roles are one-dimensional: Brett Gelman, Sharlto Copley, Michelle Dockery, and “Happy Death Day” star Jessica Rothe give it their all as members of the villainous Van Der Koy clan.



The Mire of Excess


Mohr’s biggest problem is his lack of moderation – something that wouldn’t necessarily be an issue in a film built on action overdose. However, this excess ultimately undermines what could have made “Boy Kills World” truly explosive. Take the comic-book-style bloodshed: early in Boy’s rampage, a minor villain has her arms chopped off, and she screams and flails her stumps around as blood sprays everywhere. This could be cool, but the tension between a modest budget and grand ambitions results in CGI blood that looks painfully fake.

The same confusion is evident in the hand-to-hand combat scenes, where some feature long, unbroken choreography, while others are so chaotic it’s impossible to follow. This film is so preoccupied with looking cool in the moment that it forgets to create a coherent whole. Despite the abundance of creative kills on screen, it’s ironic that “Boy Kills World” is brought down by self-inflicted wounds.



A World That Doesn’t Hold Together


Bill Skarsgård leads a wildly creative action comedy. Unfortunately, “Boy Kills World” is crammed with homages to other, better films, making its world feel disjointed. Poorly executed CGI splatter and forced humor further mar Moritz Mohr’s overstuffed debut, which becomes tiresome long before its incoherent climax.

– Gergely Herpai “BadSector” –




Boy Kills World

Direction - 6.2
Actors - 5.5
Story - 2.4
Visuels/Musique/Sons/Action - 5.5
Ambience - 5.4



Overstuffed, tiring, and chaotic – this film pushes everything to the limit but loses its value because of it. It has everything a good action film needs, but the excess ruins the enjoyment. Mohr’s enthusiasm is undeniable, but in the end, the film becomes a parody of itself.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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