Review: Kick-Ass

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I know this is going to sounds horribly naff, but Kick Ass really is a kick ass movie! 

Groan…

Kick-Ass follows Dave Lizewski – your average comic-book loving teenage nobody. Unnoticed by the girls, but sought after by the local thugs. Dave is not an athlete, particularly smart, or even the funny one in his circle of friends. He is just  an average guy, living a very average life.

Dave’s escape from the status quo begins after being publicly mugged by local crooks in front of a disinterested bystander. This humiliating event inspires him to adopted the not-so-super hero persona of Kick-Ass – the worlds first real-life vigilante crime fighter! 

Not letting his complete lack of discernible superpowers get in his way, Dave begins his crime fighting career.  

A few major bumps and bruises later, Kick Ass`s heroic actions propel him into the public spotlight, and he quickly becomes a national phenomenon. Unfortunately, he has also drawn the attention of the local crime syndicate. Kick Ass gets unknowingly drawn into a battle that is way over his head. 

Luckily for him, Kick Ass is not the only would-be super hero in town…

I will proudly admit that I LOVED this movie! I enjoyed every second of it. Kick Ass is not only a pitch perfect parody of the comic book movie genre, but a pretty bloody awesome comic book movie in of itself. The movie delivers laughs, heart, action and style – making Kick Ass the first unexpected highlight of 2010.

Everybody at some stage in their youth, dreamed of being a super hero. Who hasnt fantasized about standing up for yourself, and your fellow-man? This movie taps into those feelings with charm and attitude!

One of the main reasons why this movie works so perfectly is all down to is lead character Dave Lizewski – AKA Kick Ass. Lizewski (Aron Johnson) is just an honest to god, decent fella. A character whose only motivation is the desire to do the right thing, even if it means getting his ass handed to him. You cant help but get behind this guy from start to finish.

Aron Johnson owns the role. The  convincingly geeky looking. Johnson expertly conveys the characters bravery and insecurity with natural ease, and delivers every line with passion and honesty. Johnson is a wonderfully endearing lead. I predict good things for the young actor in the coming years. 

But he is not the only actor firing on all cylinders. Christopher Mintz-Plasse man is fantastic as Kick Asses goofy side kick Red Mist. Mintz at times comes close to almost stealing the show from Kick Ass himself. Disappointingly, the actor is again playing on the awkward McLovin persona he has become famous for, but luckily the trait works quite well for the character in question. Definitely one of the funniest characters in the movie, and the character with the most interesting arc.

So far so awesome, but the real show stealers of movie are the psychopathic super heros Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl  (Chloe Mortez). Cage is hilarious in the role of the homicidal Batman-esque vigilante Big Daddy. Cage chews the scenery,  hamming it up as both as both the doddering single father, and brutal mob killer.  A darkly hilarious performance that affectionately pokes fun at the original Batman actor Adam West.

While Cage is great, it his onscreen daughter that everyone is going to be talking about. Chloe Mortez plays 11-year-old super assassin Hit Girl. She is the character with the coolest lines, the best action sequences and the foulest mouth. Watching a pre-pubescent girl massacring the living shit out of a room full of armed crooks is one the most uniquely enjoyable experiences you are likely to see for quite some time. Words can not express just how cool this character is. Mortez deserves every ounce of praise she is undoubtedly going to receive when this movie hits for real next week. Another break through performance on show here.

Special mention should go to Mark Strong as the mobster villain of the movie. Strong brilliantly juggles the characters two conflicting personas. A calm and caring father figure to his family, unflinchingly violent gangster to his enemies. Strong’s performance is multi dimensional, and just as interesting to watch as the costumed crusaders he pursues.

Jane Goldman’s script is as tight as a ducks bottom.  The story moves at comfortable pace from the off-set, and never out stays its welcome. The movies general premise is very similar to Watchmen, and therefor more complex and densely layered than you might expect from a comic book film. The script is filled with well written, rounded characters, and cleverly mixes laughs with moments of excitement, and drama.

Director Matthew Vaughn`s (Layer Cake) visuals have clearly been  influenced by the work of other directors. The action scenes and overall style is very akin to Tarantino`s Kill Bill movies, and the heart and drama have a similar feel to Sam Rami`s Spiderman series. A match made in heaven in my opinion.  I guess you could argue that there is very little of the directors own vision on display here, but what he delivers is so good, I simply do not care.

Vaughn has a great eye for action, and revels in the comic book violence of the picture. Death and destruction should not be this enjoyable, but Kick Ass has been made with so much passion, that you can’t help be get on board with it.

I have heard some complaints that the movie shifts tone slightly half way through, which I agree it does. The first part of the movie is very much set in reality, and deals with the genuine dangers and practicalities of a mere-mortal with no actual skills or strength, taking on real life cold-blooded criminals. The lead character is stabbed, and almost killed in his first confrontation for example. 

The reality levels fade massively with the appearance of  the “real deal” super heros Hit Girl and Big Daddy midway through.  The movie ventures into more traditional comic book territory from this point on. Lets face, could an 11-year-old girl really hold her own against a room full of armed mobsters? I think not. But guess what? – who gives a shit?! The two styles gel seamlessly, and contrast did not bother me in the slightest. If the movie didnt heighten its levels of reality, we would have been denied some of the coolest action set pieces in comic book movie history.

One additional aspect that stood out to me was the directors choice of music in the movie. I rarely mention a movie’s soundtrack in my reviews – but his choice of songs (ranging from Prodigy, to The Dickies) mesh so perfectly with what is happening on-screen (be it in terms of excitement, or emotion) that I just had to mention it. The sound track is awesome!

I can not praise this movie enough! I have seen film twice already, and would happily go and see it a few more times over the coming weeks. Kick Ass is funny, exciting and at times quite moving. The movie deserves to be a massive hit, so stop reading this, book your ticket, and go help knock the piss poor Alice in Wonderland off the number one spot this weekend!

Yes – this movie does indeed Kick Ass!

8.5/10

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2 Responses to “Review: Kick-Ass”

  1. Emily Says:

    I agree with what you’ve said about this movie, I thought it was awesome both times I saw it! 😀 but I understood certain parts more the second time. I don’t know if I was just too stupid to understand it the first time or if it was just easier to understand once you see it again, but I enjoyed it more the second time by being able to understand it more.
    Hit Girl/Mindy was definitely my favourite superhero because she was cute and looked all innocent and what-not, but when she was fighting she was like a psycho menstruating lion… it was awesome :O
    The whole movie made me laugh a lot, but the stabbing and the ‘unmasking of Big Daddy and Kick Ass’ scenes were rather upsetting. However, I soon forgot about them because of all the awesome loud, funny action scenes that came soon after!
    I really didn’t know whether or not to like Chris D’Amico/Red Mist… I really like Christopher Mintz-Plasse as an actor and I always feel sorry for all his characters (he kinda reminds me of a three-legged puppy in a way… he’s quite weird but you just have to love him) because of what I can think of at the moment, they all seem to be bullied/different in a way, for example, in Role Models he was an outcast and his ‘Big Brother’, parents and that other little kid, Ronnie, were mean to him and didn’t attempt to get to know him or whatever (not including at the very end), in Superbad his best friends took advantage of him and bullied him into getting them alcohol, in Year One his dad was making him get his balls chopped off or something (can’t remember properly, but it didn’t sound very fun and it wasn’t really him getting bullied or being an outcast/different, but nonetheless I still kinda felt sorry for him), and in this movie he was pretty much neglected by his dad unless there was something his dad wanted from him (his idea of Red Mist and his plan, for example) so I did like him and felt sorry for him, but selling out Kick Ass after Dave was the only person to try to befriend him (in the comic book store just before he got told to ‘f*ck off’ by the big guy) even if he didn’t know he was Kick Ass, it still seems like a pretty lame move from his side. I do feel bad for him that his dad got shot by a bazooka and his house got destroyed… but oh well, he survived. I’ll stop talking about Christopher Mintz-Plasse here though, before this whole comment turns into my thoughts about him and his characters in movies and not about Kick-Ass, haha xD
    I honestly didn’t notice the whole shifting tones thing – I think I was more amazed at how every little story type thing all managed to fit together to make everything understandable and relate to each other (if that makes any sense? xD) but now that it’s been mentioned, yeah, I guess that it being about high-school, girls and not fitting in with anyone and suddenly changing to 11 year old girls killing a whole room full of big, muscley adults, two geeky teenage guys in diving suits running through a warehouse that has pieces falling to the ground from the fire and the same little 11 year old girl from before killing well trained mobsters is a little bizarre! 😛 I also don’t understand how the teddy bear managed to stay perfectly unharmed whilst everything else was shooting up in flames…
    I thought your review was awesome and I really enjoyed reading it, however I can’t honestly say that I agree with “the piss poor Alice in Wonderland” – I liked that movie (apart from Anne Hathaway – she looked atrocious! And what was up with her arms? o_O)! 😦 although, Alan may be able to tell you why I did enjoy it so much… hehe.
    (I do hope that this comment box doesn’t have a character limit…)

  2. Danjo Kazooe Says:

    I think you may be the only person in the world that felt sorry for Red Mist at the end of the movie 🙂 haha

    Thank you for taking the time-out to write up your views. It sounds like you enjoyed Kickass just as much as I did – which of course means you have a great taste in film 😉

    Btw – “he kinda reminds me of a three-legged puppy in a way… he’s quite weird but you just have to love him” – is possibly the best sentance I have ever read anywhere, ever! 🙂

    Thanks again for the kind words Em.

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