In Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s relentless martial arts thriller, a passenger train bound for New Delhi becomes a bloody battleground of brutal close-quarters combat as a pair of commandos square off against a 40-strong army of invading bandits.
Nikhil Nagesh Bhat
Star-crossed lovers Tulika (Tanya Maniktala) and Amrit (Lakshya) find their clandestine relationship jeopardized after Tulika’s family whisks her aboard the Rajdhani Express bound for both New Delhi and an arranged marriage. Not willing to sit idly by, Amrit and his fellow commando buddy Viresh embark on a romantic “rescue” mission. But when the train is suddenly stormed by a gang of blade-wielding bandits, the stakes are considerably raised, and the two friends must rely on their martial arts prowess to dispatch the thieves and save the passengers.
Inspired by real-life train robberies in India by a class of criminals known as “dacoits,” KILL laces its high-concept premise with familial melodrama that cuts across both sides of the battlelines. Desperate to protect Tulika and her family, Amrit and Viresh parry all manner of knives into gangster heads, shoulders, knees, and toes and, as the body count rises, so too does the ire of the crooks, especially that of the clan’s psychotic black sheep Fani, portrayed with charismatic lunacy by Raghav Juyal.
With the action entirely restricted to the moving train, KILL’s gory momentum and claustrophobic confines recall Midnight Madness classics like Gareth Evans’ The Raid and Kim Hongsun's Project Wolf Hunting, as director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat judiciously ensures that each car, from caboose to cab, contains a unique set piece of bloody close-quarters combat courtesy of veteran action choreographers Se-yeong Oh (The Yellow Sea, Snowpiercer) and Parvez Shaikh (Saaho, War). I promise you’ve never seen a berserk, lovesick commando repurpose a fire extinguisher quite like this.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: explicit violence, sexual innuendo, coarse language