The Indian Railways faces its most serious challenge yet – and it is neither trains wandering off the tracks nor insects swimming in the pantry’s offerings. Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s Kill is set almost entirely on an express train. The passengers include an influential businessman and his family, a pair of National Security Guard commandos and a gang of dacoits intent on plunder.

One of the commandoes is the boyfriend of Tulika (Tanya Maniktala), who is being coerced into an arranged marriage. Amrit (Lakshya) and his NSG buddy Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan) hop onto the train to keep an eye on Tulika, only to run into dacoit boss Beni (Ashish Vidyarthi), the psychotic Fani (Raghav Juyal) and other gang members.

Kill, billed as the most violent Indian movie ever made, is a slaughterfest that begins soon after the train leaves Ranchi for Delhi. Tulika’s’s upcoming nuptials provides a barebones excuse for a superbly-crafted contest dunked in blood and sloshing in the matter that tends to spill out of eviscerated humans.

Kill (2023). Courtesy Dharma Productions/Sikhya Entertainment/Lionsgate Entertainment/Roadside Attractions.

Vividly shot by Rafey Mehmood and smoothly edited by Shivkumar V Panicker, the 106-minute film also has unrelenting – and unforgiving – action choreography by South Korea’s Se-Yeong Oh. Heads dangle off torsos and faces are crunched like paper as Amrit almost single-handedly battles the dacoits.

The action makes excellent use of the train’s narrow corridors and restricted spaces. There is plenty here for fans of visceral violence. Others who seek an emotional connection or a strong reason to watch breathless mayhem will be about as fulfilled as viewers of the John Wick or Raid movies.

It’s never clear why Tulika’s father Baldev (Harsh Chhaya) might not want a commando for a son-in-law, or why the feisty Tulika might agree to an arranged match in the first place. While Amrit’s military background explains his expertise, the level of skill displayed by Fani and his posse, especially the remarkably resilient Siddhi (Parthi Tiwari), provides pause for thought.

There is also a niggling doubt about the transport of choice by a wealthy businessman. Next time, fly.

At times, Kill feels a bit like the South Korean zombie thriller Train To Busan, only with undead passengers who aren’t going to resurrected. The most memorable scene in Kill lands it straight in horror territory.

In a sequence that is nightmarish in conception and execution, bodies are strung from hand straps, forcing characters to fight their way through a veritable curtain of corpses. The reactions to this ghastly trek ring more true than Amrit’s anguish over Tulika.

Lakshya makes for an effective action hero who miraculously survives all manner of assault. Raghav Juyal is this movie’s prize-winning ticket. Juyal superbly plays Fani as a formidable adversary who likes to declaim in the middle of carnage but can never be confused for a caricature.

Kill (2023).