Boy Kills World movie review & film summary (2024)

During manic action scenes, the cameras swoop over, under, and through teeming crowds of heavily armed and often faceless heavies. Limbs break, bodies tumble through the air, and chunks of flesh frequently explode in gouts of blood. There isn’t a significant difference between the dizzying, sensational presentation of violence in any of the Boy’s fight scenes and, say, the abovementioned Frosty Puffs massacre.

In fact, “Boy Kills World” implicitly associates all violence with video games, like the “Street Fighter”-style fighting game that Skarsgård’s character tells us he based his voiceover narration voice on. These action scenes resemble the same antic slow-fast-slow pace of the “Kingsman” spy movie parodies and this year’s “Argylle.” In these braindead media critiques, so much pseudo-comic stress is put on sweeping camera movements and impact-driven maneuvering that it reduces everything funny, upsetting, and spectacular about these scenes to its sheer numbing impact. You don’t get to enjoy any of the on-screen action’s flow or development because the filmmakers constantly insert themselves between you and whatever cheap thrills you might’ve hoped to enjoy.

That creative fussiness suggests an unfortunate parallel between the makers of “Boy Kills World” and Gideon, who at one point bitterly tells off Dennis (Pierre Nelson), an actor stuck rehearsing one of Gideon’s scripted Van Der Koy spectacles. “Feel a ****ing feeling, Dennis,” Gideon pouts. Surely, that meta-criticism means something, like the fight scene’s aggressive stylization or the connection between the Van Der Koys and their breakfast cereal sponsors. Well, yes and no.

You can’t watch “Boy Kills World” passively—did Benjamin’s character have to talk so much?—nor can you draw meaningful conclusions from the third-act plot twists that disrupt the Boy’s plans for revenge. The makers of “Boy Kills World” don’t trust their audience enough to let us just feel a feeling, nor do they encourage their enthusiastic cast members enough to deliver fully-developed performances. Copley plays creepy well, Skarsgård pantomimes his butt off, and Ruhian unsurprisingly looks more convincing than anyone else tasked with executing complicated stunt work. Everything else in “Boy Kills World” could have been directed and scripted by the Van Der Koys.