Home Movies Boy Kills World: A fun, silly, strange film

Boy Kills World: A fun, silly, strange film

Get ready for a unique ride!


Bill Skarsgård plays the titular “Boy” whose mother and sister are killed by a ruthless dictator. He signs up to be trained by a martial arts master, Shaman (Yayan Ruhian), who generally tortures and drugs him while also, yes, training him to fight. In order to survive this harsh lifestyle, the boy adopts an inner persona (voiced with hilarious accuracy by H. Jon Benjamin), and eventually starts hallucinating visions of his dead sister, Mina (Quinn Copeland).

Once a year, the oppressive Van Der Coy family moseys on into a village and chooses some sacrificial lambs for televised slaughter. Not by random – these are people who have spoken out against their overlords. On one occasion, the Boy and the Shaman happen to be in town. It’s important to note that this trip informs us the Boy is deaf and dumb, but he can read lips (or he’s getting better at it). Against the Shaman’s judgement, the Boy decides that this is his moment to take out the family. He stows away in one of their cars and infiltrates their stronghold (kind of, but not really).

From here the movie gets very, very weird. For one thing, the visions of his sister become fairly permanent. His inner voice frequently has conversations and arguments with her, while his outer self seeks to protect her (even though, rationally, he knows she’s not real). For another, he’s recruited into a resistance movement that includes his new friend Basho (a giddy Andrew Koji, who he rescues from bondage) and a man named Bennie (Isaiah Mustafa, who we learn nothing about). Bennie speaks in a dialect, or language, that the Boy can’t understand, and this results in hilarious misinterpretations that are fully visually realized.

Several violent confrontations later and the Boy meets his ultimate goal: Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen). There’re two twists that happen: one you see coming a mile away, the other not so much. In the end, the Boy and June27 (Jessica Rothe, as Hilda’s personal security guard), have an all-out brawl with the Shaman in order to escape and find their secret perfect place. And, because why not, there’s even an after credits scene.


If you haven’t watched Boy Kills World, I suggest you go do that and then come back for the review.

The first thing I noticed about this movie was the Rotten Tomatoes score: 58% vs. 72%, meaning audiences enjoyed the film significantly more than critics. That immediately piqued my interest because, as a rule, if the critics don’t like a movie but the audience does, it’s probably a fun film. I was not wrong. Granted, I can definitely see where critics wouldn’t like this movie.

To start, Boy Kills World is heavily “influenced” – to put it politely – by movies like The Hunger Games, Old Boy, and The Raid. The Van Der Koy family plot-line and the way they deal with resistance is straight out of The Hunger Games; there’s even brainwashing like how Peeta is turned against Katniss. As for Old Boy, there’s plenty of similar violence, and even a family twist that fits the mold, except instead of the main character having a romance with their daughter, we discover June27 has been made to fight her own brother. And of course, lots and lots of fight scenes that feel very similar to The Raid.

However, the borrowing of these concepts is lazy and half-assed if you really pay attention. I figured that June27 was going to turn out to be the Boy’s sister almost immediately – this movie just isn’t nuanced at all, and there’s no reason for the obvious conclusion not to be true. If we don’t see a character clearly die, then we know they can come back. Considering both she and the Boy were the only blonds in the whole movie, and you don’t get to see her face, you know there’s a reveal coming. On the other hand, the twist that the Shaman had kidnapped and brainwashed the Boy didn’t feel right at all, despite it having something of a set up.

See, way back in the beginning of the movie, we know the Shaman blows smoke at the Boy and it makes him see things. He does this a few times, but each one is followed by visions of the Boy’s dead family and his lost life – his childhood with his sister and mother. It’s only later in the movie that these visions change and start to get muddled. Different stories emerge. You might think this is clever and well done, but in all honesty, it’s not.

Compare this to a movie like Fight Club, where the huge reveal turns out to have been teased at throughout the entire film up until that point. Boy Kills World, by contrast, only seeks to brainwash the audience into sharing the Boy’s view of things. This isn’t inherently bad; plenty of movies love their red herrings. But Boy waits until the final ten minutes to drop this twist and spends several of those minutes simply explaining why the twist works. That’s not great.

Having said all that, I still very much enjoyed this movie. I believe the problem with a lot of critics is that they fail to appreciate the movie they are watching for what it is, not necessarily what it could have been. Could Boy have been a deeper, richer movie? Sure. Is it a bad movie because it’s not? No, and that’s the important thing here.

A good movie, to me, has always been and will always be one that entertains me. Boy is a surprisingly light affair. Yes, it’s extremely violent, but not in any way that ruins the undercurrent of humor and fun you feel as you watch it. The Boy’s sister, Mina, begins this process by appearing to provide levity throughout a violent backdrop, until you quickly come to realize that “levity” is the wrong word. She’s the canary in the coal mine, warning the viewer that they’re in for a wacky ride.

From the Boy’s inner-voice reactions to things happening around and to him, the movie’s humor evolves to take full advantage of their unusual protagonist. Let’s not forget, the Boy is deaf and dumb – he relies on reading lips, which he admits is a growing skill; when he meets Bennie, the comical pay dirt is rich for harvest.

Some of the best scenes of the entire movie revolve around the Boy’s misinterpretations of Bennie’s words: fantastic surrealistic portraits of a child’s desperate attempt to make sense of something he simply lacks the skills to understand. This happens a lot after we meet Bennie, but that’s not to say the Boy’s inner voice doesn’t make some excellent observations and comments throughout the movie. It is truly a unique take on the action/revenge movie that I, for one, find refreshing.

Should you see this film? Absolutely. Just know, it’s gonna be a wild ride!

Boy KIlls World
Previous articleIn “Life, Itself,” Discovery Doubles Down On What Made It Both Good and Aggravating
Next article‘The Acolyte’ is Off to a Promising Start
boy-kills-world-bill-skarsgard-yayan-ruhian-andrew-koji-famke-janssen-film-reviewA fun, insane, action-packed revenge movie with a unique protagonist. Boy, is a deaf and dumb man who has been trained for a singular purpose: to kill Hilda Van Der Koy. Her and her family are the reason the Boy's mother and sister are dead, and he intends on getting revenge. But, all isn't what it seems, and maybe the Boy's motives go deeper than he knows. Have a good time taking in some fantastic fight sequences alongside some of the strangest humor you'll ever encounter in an action/revenge movie. This isn't a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's entertaining and that's what matters!

No comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Exit mobile version