In the wrong hands, Kills on Wheels could wind up feeling like a Tarantino knock-off; it follows a near-invulnerable paraplegic hitman, aided by two surly teenagers, out for revenge against a slew of gangsters. However, great performances by Zoltan Fenyvesi and Szabolcs Thuróczy, and a tight and nuanced script by Attila Till, ensure that the film never verges too far into meaningless bloody mayhem.
While Thuróczy’s Rupaszov is the badass star of the comic-book fantasy, Zoltan Fenyvesi is the real hero of Kills on Wheels. His performance as Zoli is immediately affecting, and he carries much of the emotional weight of the film with grace. Thuróczy similarly does a great job balancing the gruff hitman personality of Ruapszov with his softer side, and a final-act twist would not be nearly as convincing were it not for how well Thuróczy and Fenyvesi sell their growing relationship.
Despite the comic book motif and hackneyed title, Kills on Wheels doesn’t ever feel like style over substance; this action comedy has a surprisingly resonant emotional core. As Zoli and Barba’s comic blurs into their reality, Kills on Wheels doesn’t shy away from the escapism inherent in the premise. What could feel like a crude exploitation flick ends up far more complex and thoughtful – although a stronger female presence in the film would have been useful to cut through some of the machismo that, while necessary, does threaten to overwhelm a great set of characters.
Kills on Wheels comes right out the gate with an intense prologue, and doesn’t let up until the credits roll. While Till’s script is a bit rough around the edges, his direction keeps the pace high and gets the balance just right between stylish action and reflective coming-of-age drama.
CAST: Szabolcs Thuróczy, Zoltán Fenyvesi, Ádám Fekete, Mónika Balsai
DIRECTOR: Attila Till
WRITER: Attila Till
SYNOPSIS: Two disabled boys find fact and fantasy blurring as they collaborate on a comic book about a paraplegic ex-firefighter with a secret life as a hitman.