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Review: "Kick-Ass"

Friday, April 16, 2010 - - 0 Comments

NOTE: There will be no "Box Office Preview" this week.  The only genre movie opening is Kick-Ass, and I've seen it. :)


SPOILER-FREE SUMMARY:


A terrific movie--Kick-Ass succeeds on every level.  It's funny, violent, and incredibly entertaining.  It is a very hard R movie and, yes, Hit-Girl cusses a lot.  But when taken in context with just an ounce of free-thinking, it's perfectly fitting.


WARNING: (VERY, VERY MINOR) SPOILERS BELOW!!!


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Hot damn, what a great movie!  In case you couldn't figure it out from the trailer, Kick-Ass is the story of Dave, a typical nerdy teenager who decides to try his hand at crime-fighting and becomes the superhero, Kick-Ass.  Eventually, Kick-Ass finds himself aligned with fellow "heroes" Red Mist, Big Daddy, and Hit-Girl, in their quest to take down drug kingpin Frank D'Amico.


The cast is terrific: Aaron Johnson brings a real honesty to the title character (and you'd never know he's British), Christopher Mintz-Plasse actually brings a lot more to his character than just another "McLovin" rehash, Chloe Moretz is absolutely fantastic as Hit-Girl, and the always reliable Clark Duke once again fulfills his "best friend" role dutifully.  The only weak link may be Nicholas Cage and I'm still not sure about that--I've been debating it in my head all night.  His role is somewhat small, actually, but instead of the great actor we've seen in films like Leaving Las Vegas or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, we get the campy Cage from crap like Gone in 60 Seconds and The Wicker Man.  But at the same time, it seems to fit his character pretty well so I suppose I can't complain.


The script (by director Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman) was written simultaneously while the comic book was being written by "Wanted" writer Mark Millar, so even though I haven't read the comic, it feels as though the adaptation must be close.  Incidentally, this is the third film that Vaughn has directed and it's much more Layer Cake than Stardust.  In fact, if you take the violence of Layer Cake and multiply it by 1000, I still don't think you'd come close to Kick-Ass.  It's beautiful violence though, the kind of wonderfully choreographed slow-motion melee that we've come to expect from films like this.


All right, let's talk about Hit-Girl.  Her character alone is responsible for having the film banned in several countries and has led to several protests (even before the film was released, the Australian Family Association attacked the film after an uncensored clip was released in January where Hit-Girl utters the line, "OK, you cunts, let's see what you can do now.")  Is it shocking to see an 11-year-old girl talk that way?  Yes, absolutely.  Is it funny?  Are you kidding?  It's incredibly funny.  Does the film glorify Hit-Girl's behavior?  In a way, yes, but there's a complicated context that needs to be considered here.  Should a young girl behave that way?  No, of course not, but if it weren't for what happened to her parents, Hit-Girl wouldn't be the person she is now.  In a way, every foul thing that Hit-Girl does just adds to the evil of the Frank D'Amico character.  In the end, HE'S the one responsible for robbing this poor girl of her childhood and forcing her to take on this ruthless persona.  And here's the part that really bugs me: all of these governments and advocacy groups are crying foul over Hit-Girl's language but say practically nothing about her violence.  So it's okay for an 11-year-old girl to savagely murder an entire room full of men but there's a problem if she says "fuck"?  That makes no sense.


This really is a great movie and, as your resident uber-geek, I say it's way up there on the list of the top geek movies ever made.  It's the quote that every lazy critic is going to use in his review this weekend, but it's true: Kick-Ass really does kick ass.  Hard.

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