Thursday, April 29, 2010


Now before I begin the review I want to iterate I have only read a few chapters of the first volume of the Kick-Ass comic book series. Not that it really matters, but from what I've read of the comic and now that I've seen the film, I can say they are pretty different at least in regard to the motivations of the characters. Which is a blessing in disguise, because to be honest, I didn't really love the comic all that much. I have the same problem with most of writer Mark Millar's original stuff. Not that his books aren't good it's just all of his lead characters are such colossal ass holes that it's hard to root or sympathize with anyone. Take for instance his Wes Gibson character from Wanted. You feel sorry for this guy in the beginning, but by the end Wes is such a dick that his kiss off on the last page kind of leaves you unsatisfied and angry. The same could be said for his Dave Lizewski, in Kick-Ass, he's a pathetic loser. When he decides to take the plunge into super hero territory he seems to be only led by his johnson. Which, at first, I can understand but after he gets his ass handed to him left and right I would think he would have thrown the suit away after the first stabbing. Unless he is just crazy, no one would take a constant beating just for a piece of ass. Also he suffers from similar dickhead-itis as Wes Gibson. So naturally I lost interest in the book. When I heard about the movie I just kind of shrugged but I will admit when the first few trailers started to surface my intrigue grew. Also the fact that Matthew Vaughn was directing gave me a lot of confidence. He's still relatively new to the director's chair but I've liked all of his efforts so far. Layer Cake was really fun and it totally set the stage for Daniel Craig to be Bond and I don't care what anyone says I kinda dug Stardust (You can see my review here). The Box Office numbers so far for Kick-Ass have been pretty lukewarm, I'm pretty surprised by that, but it's tough to break into a wide audience being that the flick is a hard R. And make no mistake it is a tough movie. I mean you have a 12 year old girl murdering bad guys and talking like a drunken sailor. The comparison's to Pulp Fiction should not be taken as an exaggeration, it's violent and no matter how colorful the costumes, this is not for kids.The film follows high school fan-boy Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as he mulls the decision to break away from his pathetic mundane life and do something truly risky--put on a green wetsuit and mask and become a superhero. He calls himself Kick-Ass, although he has no powers and no apparent fighting skill, he tries to make a difference by standing up when others shrink. He inadvertently starts a superhero craze on Youtube which encourages others with far more skill to hit the streets against crime. Like Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and his daughter/sidekick Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz). The dynamic duo put Mafia boss man Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) and his goons in the hurt locker. Which eventually puts Kick-Ass square in the middle of Mafia retaliation. If you listen closely Cage does a hilarious riff of Adam West's 60's Batman. Also his comic flashback mid-way through the film is truly awesome. You gotta give Cage credit for bouncing back after the silliness that was Bangkok Dangerous and Knowing. The movie is fast and funny with a sharp edge. Vaughn outdoes himself as director keeping a good pace as he ratchets up the tempo to the big finale. Unlike the comic I found I really liked Dave even though he was pathetic his heart was in the right place and you can see him become a man throughout the course of the story. The first hour and a half are brutal and hyper-realistic as he tries to fight crime and literally gets the beat down of his life. He truly is the Peter Parker character except he isn't as smart and, of course, he doesn't have powers. The one thing they do share is a compulsion to walk the streets in spandex. I wish we could have seen more of his two comic book buddies Marty (Clark Duke) and Todd (Evan Peters), especially Clark Duke, this guy is really funny, (see Hot Tub Time Machine and Sex Drive.) unfortunately they are relegated to the sidelines for most of the movie. Now as much as I enjoyed Hit Girl and her ability to kick the ass of just about everyone she comes in contact with, I just felt it didn't always match with the hard reality theme they were working with in the beginning. Granted Kick-Ass has no formal training and this girl has but I just felt the combo of the two themes didn't quite work for me. Now you can say it was a progression from the real life to comic book story, but that really doesn't sound that interesting to me. I also was disappointed a bit with Mark Strong's D'Amico. It would have been great if they made him a bit more realistic instead of the same old stereotype of the Mafia. It would have been interesting if he was in the Tony Soprano mold, made him a bit more charismatic. I think it would have certainly added to the realism.Given the box office numbers it's unclear whether a sequel is a sure thing but they definitely set up the possibility for a Kick-Ass 2. I won't give anything away but it does involve the other superhero I hadn't gotten to yet, the Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Look he's still a little bit McLovin, but I think Plasse is stretching and if a sequel were to take place I would be curious to see how far he could take it. I really can't complain it's a well put together flick and if you haven't had a chance to see it do it soon. You will be mesmerized by Chloe Moretz, this kid is the real deal. She completely owns the role, there are times where you are wondering why the hell the film isn't called Hit-Girl.

Grade 4 Buckets

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