Boy Kills World (2023)

“Video game movies not based on video games” are arguably the biggest wild card of any sub-genre, and “Boy Kills World” is as wild a card as that particular deck has to offer.

Placing the reigning king of nightmare-fuel villain stars Bill Skarsgård into a rare heroic role, “Boy Kills World” displays its video game influences with pride with a literal video game narration, colorful settings that frequently resemble game-stages, “Mortal Kombat” levels of bloodshed, and a never-ending plate of wild martial arts fights to feast upon made even wilder with speed-ramping and sweeping drone camera-work.

That Yayan Ruhian also plays our hero’s wise mentor AND snags one of his best big-screen smackdowns outside of “The Raid” movies in one fell swoop just adds to all the wacky, R-rated fun “Boy Kills World” invites its audiences to bask in.



Bill Skarsgård leads “Boy Kills World” as the hero known only as “Boy”, with Yayan Ruhian portraying his martial arts mentor, known as “The Shaman”, while H. Jon Benjamin provides the inner monologue voice of Boy.

Famke Janssen brings a wickedly ruthless panache to her performance as the movie’s villainess Hilda van der Koy, with Sharlto Copley hamming it up as Glen Van Der Koy, and Jessica Rothe playing Hila’s assassin, June 27.

Andrew Koji also portrays Boy’s close ally Basho, with Isaiah Mustafa strictly speaking indecipherable mumbo jumbo (albeit for a very good reason) as Benny, and Melanie and Gideon Van Der Koy respectively portrayed by Michelle Dockery and Brett Gelman.


In an unnamed city set in a dystopian future, a nameless young Boy bore witness to the murder of his parents by Hilda Van Der Koy, matriarch of the Van Der Koy family who reign over the cityscape, keeping their enemies in check with an annual execution ritual of 12 citizens known as “The Culling”.

Though Boy managed to escape into the wilderness, the confrontation left him both deaf and mute, with Boy adopting the voice of a video game narrator as his inner voice.

Boy would ultimately be taken under the wing of a mysterious martial arts master, the Shaman, whose tutelage builds Boy into a fierce, formidable warrior.

Upon reaching adulthood, Boy embarks on a mission to avenge his parent’s killing, with the help of a cluster of close allies on his side, including Basho and Benny, a pair of freedom fighters from the underground rebel movement against the Van Der Koy family.

“Boy Kills World” is an R-Rated Cartoon

“Boy Kills World” is not cut from the usual post-apocalyptic cloth that one would expect from the foundation of one family reigning supreme and ritualistically eliminating their enemies every calendar year.

With its tone that comes across like an R-rated version of the 1994 “Street Fighter” movie, “Boy Kills World” outright demands not to be taken seriously, and that’s wholly to its credit as a romp of pure, R-rated slapstick.

The whole movie is an exercise in the marriage of tonal opposites, like H. Jon Benjamin’s narration of Boy’s inner monologue speaking over moments like a man’s head being crushed like a Jack O’Lantern by a table vice, and the Van De Koy’s henchmen wearing motorcycle helmets with visors literally spelling out what they’re thinking like highway signs.

On a storytelling level, the cartoonish pride of “Boy Kills World” is perfect for Boy himself as a warrior who is still very much a child on the inside, and one perceiving his dystopian world as a 10 year-old would even after he’s become a full-fledged fighting machine.

More broadly, “Boy Kills World” simply aspires to apply the self-aware, R-rated cartoon carnage of “Deadpool” and “Kingsman” to a post-apocalyptic martial arts flick, and thoroughly succeeds in doing so.

Bill Skarsgård Swaps His Signature Villainy for Child-Like Heroism

Bill Skarsgård, it goes without saying, was born to play the most terrifying, sadistic villains around, traits he embodies in everything from his performance as Pennywise in the “It” movies to Marquis Vincent de Gramont in “John Wick: Chapter 4”.

Testimony to his versatility and range, Skarsgård gives one of his most engaging (not to mention hilarious) performances yet in the role of Boy, and without ever saying a single word of dialogue, to boot.

Trading his insidious, carnivorous scowl of sharp-eyebrowed villainy for expressions of child-like wonder, confusion, curiosity, and determination, Skarsgård’s Boy is the most purely human thing about the cartoon that is “Boy Kills World”, even as Benjamin’s narration works in concert with Skarsgård’s facial cues to remind viewers of the movie’s video game DNA.

Boy’s methodology of reading lips to communicate with people also isn’t without a little levity itself when Boy occasionally doesn’t get the translation 100 percent accurate – a real problem and source of comedy especially with Isaiah Mustafa’s Benny, whose long beard that somewhat obscures his mouth, causes Boy to constantly misread what he’s saying as Benny babbles hilarious gibberish and non-sequiturs.

“Boy Kills World” is a Martial Arts Action Blast!

On top of its video game-esque, Adult Swim-style of storytelling and humor, “Boy Kills World” is also a wild and practically non-stop ball of Silat action, with plenty of Muay Thai, Kali, Taekwondo, and other martial arts also on hand for the occasion.

“Boy Kills World” even treats its martial arts action much the same as its general video game structure, setting up Boy’s upbringing and training under the Shaman like a cutscene in a video game, and sending him through stages with different opponents, and allies, on each level.

Andrew Koji of “Warrior” fame unfortunately doesn’t get as much to do in the fight scenes, but the trade-off is arguably his most comedic performance to date as the gung-ho rebel Basho, who wastes no time and sending Boy off to take down Van Der Koy guards in the movie’s wild first fight sequence as he mostly acts as his cheerleader.

Fight choreographer and second unit director Dawid Szatarski also makes an appearance here, bringing his own phenomenal Silat skills to an eminently hilarious and gory smackdown with Boy. (Side note – Dawid Szatarski should be in a LOT more fight scenes like this with guys like Scott Adkins, Tiger Shroff, Michael Jai White, and Iko Uwais after “Boy Kills World”.)

The video game flair of “Boy Kills World” consistently ups its own ante as Boy finds himself battling increasingly skilled and visually distinct opponents as his mission proceeds, including three excellent fight scenes with a hallway full of Van Der Koy soldiers, Boy’s brawl with Hilda’s right-hand woman June 27 (who – minor spoiler warning – is much more than the blank slate assassin that her associates in the Van Der Koy empire are), and Boy, Basho, and Benny’s decidedly Christmas-themed battle on a set televising the annual Van Der Koy Culling.

Director Moritz Mohr has a keen eye for making each action scene stand on its own in terms of visual verve and tempo, just as much as he and Szatarski make each fight sequence flow into the next like the narrative continuity of a fighting game.

Of course, when it comes to the action of “Boy Kills World”, one player on the game’s character selection screen needs no introduction.

“Boy Kills World” Treats Yayan Ruhian as Silat-Movie Royalty!

Ever since “The Raid”, martial arts fans have known Yayan Ruhian as arguably the definitive modern martial arts movie villain, and he makes the jump to martial arts mentor in “Boy Kills World”.

While Yayan’s role in the movie is a bookend appearance of sorts, “Boy Kills World” treats his portrayal of the Shaman with true reverence as he put Boy through the ringer in the opening training montage.

The Shaman’s training methods may be harsh and unorthodox, but they not only get results (as is clear in Boy’s ripped physique and fighting ability), but also actually play an unexpectedly critical importance in the Shaman’s own role – which comes into the fold with the Shaman being a key player in the final battle royale of “Boy Kills World”.

In the interest of avoiding spoilers, the exact context of the Shaman’s role (and that of Boy and other characters) in the finale of “Boy Kills World” cannot be revealed, other than to say that it’s a showdown every bit the equal of Yayan’s fight scenes in “The Raid” movies and “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”. The cliff notes version of the above is, of course, that the final fight of “Boy Kills World” is one of 2024’s best and then some!


“Boy Kills World” combines the off-the-wall wackiness of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” with the over-the-top gore of “Mortal Kombat” and the martial arts action of “The Raid” movies for a true video game cartoon delight.

If Bill Skarsgård is keen to make the jump from villains to action heroes with greater regularity, he’s off to a stupendous start in a warrior role that’s literally no talk and all action as well as a showcase of his acting range in which he’s voluntarily along for the ride that is H. Jon Benjamin’s narration.

Action aficionados have a new instant cult classic on their hands in “Boy Kills World”, especially with Yayan Ruhian helping close the flick out on a finale that Mad Dog himself would repeatedly press the rewind button on!

Favourite Quotes

  • “Slight exaggeration.” – Boy (His inner monologue, after Basho tells Benny that Boy killed over a hundred men with his bare hands.)
  • “Slap jam the Dodo!” – Benny (Saying something that Boy misinterprets while trying to read his lips.)
  • “Golden Toe Jam!” – Benny (Saying something else that Boy misinterprets while trying to read his lips.)


  • The movie held its premiere on September 9, 2023 at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Sam Raimi of “Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man” fame served as an executive producer on “Boy Kills World”.
  • Andrew Koji is an exponent of Taekwondo and Shaolin kung fu, studying the latter at London’s famed Shaolin Temple U.K., with Koji also being a former Taekwondo competitor. (Be sure to also check out KFK’s interview with Shifu Yan Lei of Shaolin Temple U.K.!)
  • Samara Weaving was originally cast in the film as June 27, but had to depart due to scheduling issues. This led to Jessica Rothe’s subsequent casting as June 27.
  • “Boy Kills World” marks the feature directorial debut of director Moritz Mohr.
  • Bill Skarsgård and Isaiah Mustafa previously appeared in 2019’s “It: Chapter Two”, based upon Stephen King’s eponymous novel, with Skarsgård playing Pennywise the Clown (reprising the role from 2017’s “It: Chapter One”) and Mustafa playing the adult version of Mike Hanlon.
  • Fight choreographer and second unit director Dawid Szatarski is an exponent of numerous martial arts disciplines, including Pencak Silat, Muay Thai, Filipino Kali, and Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Some of Dawid’s other credits as stuntman and fight choreographer include “Ong Bak 3”, “Wonder Woman” “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”, “Black Widow”, “Guns Akimbo”, “Commando 3” with Vidyut Jammwal, and “The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud” with Scott Adkins.
Boy Kills World - movie poster

Boy Kills World – movie poster

Film Rating: 8.5/10

“Boy Kills World” is now playing in theaters around the world and will be on VOD platforms soon!

Have you seen “Boy Kills World” yet? What are your thoughts on the movie’s outstanding martial arts action scenes and cartoonish, dark humor? Would you like to see Bill Skarsgård take on more action-centric roles? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

BOY! GO BANANAS for MORE GREAT ACTION in the KINGDOM of FU, with these top movie fight scene listicles, exclusive interviews, including our interview with Yayan Ruhian, TAKE DOMINION OVER YOUR FOES in KFK wear and subscribe for more BOSS & MENTOR LEVEL-FU on YouTube!

Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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