STARRING: Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson,
Lyndsy Fonseca, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz
2010, 117 Minutes, Directed by:
are there no superheroes in real life?
Probably because in real life
gamma radiation won’t turn you into Mr. Fantastic, but will give you cancer
instead. Because you’d get your ass whupped real good if you went about in an
S&M suit trying to stop muggers . . .
This is what teenager Dave
Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) – comic book fan and chronic masturbator – discovers
when he mail orders a gimp suit over the Internet and strolls around at night trying to fight crime with no real superpowers of any sort.
One night Dave (or Kick-Ass as
he calls himself – all the good names were already taken) however inadvertently
rescues a young man from some nasty street toughs and becomes an instant
Internet celeb when some nearby diners record the whole thing on their cell
phones and put the video on YouTube (natch). Soon his life however becomes more
complicated as some gangsters mistake him for a “real” superhero team, Hit Girl
(Chloe Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage).
We never thought that we would
say this about a movie: but Kick-Ass is too violent . . .
After all, we laughed as loud
as the guy sitting in the next seat when the boardroom demonstration of the
Enforcement Droid Series ED-209 went horribly awry, or when ‘toons dropped a
piano on Bob Hoskins’ partner in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? And make no
mistake: the action sequences in Kick-Ass are thrillingly well done and exciting
Our problem isn’t with the
violence per se (we’re about as desensitized as the guy in the next seat –
unless he happens to be Hannibal Lecter of course). Our problem is that the
violence in Kick-Ass seems out of place, as if it belonged in a different
movie altogether. The net effect is like watching Superhero Movie (one of
those silly movie spoofs) interspliced with the most violent bits of
"It's all fun and games until someone gets microwaved alive . . ."
Kick-Ass never settles
on a consistent tone.
On the one hand it has
“superheroes” prancing about in deliberately campy costumes and poking fun at
flicks such as Spider-man and
The Dark Knight. On the other hand it has all
kinds of ultraviolence with limbs being hacked off and so forth. It is as if the
movie producers thought: “There must be some ultraviolence in this; otherwise,
the teenaged boys who are going to watch this won’t think it is hip. Besides,
all the little sociopaths do nowadays is play antisocial games such as Grand
Theft Auto and endlessly rewatch those SAW movies!”
Complaining about the violence
makes us feel like someone’s mother. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
It’s fun until someone gets stabbed and run over by a car. It’s fun until
someone gets microwaved alive. It’s fun until a little girl has to helplessly
watch her daddy burn to death right in front of her (albeit in some seriously
fake looking CG flames). Call us prudes, but there is something uncomfortable
about when a grown man viciously beats up an eleven-year-old girl, even if she
supposedly knows kung fu and wears a purple wig. (Teenage audiences who don’t
have kids yet probably won’t be bothered.)
Take the scene in which our
“hero” takes on his first duo of criminals: predictably he gets his ass kicked.
It’s a delicious dig at superhero conventions and the scene is funny until he
gets stabbed. This is a pattern throughout the whole movie. [END
keeps on intruding on the comedy aspects and places a damper on onscreen
proceedings. But it’s in the original Mark Millar (Wanted)
comics, I hear you yell. It’s however for this same reason that we didn’t really
like the comics either to be honest . . .
The violence really serves no
purpose and spoils what would otherwise have been a really fun and
entertaining movie. As far as creative missteps go, it’s a doozy. Kick-Ass
isn’t a complete waste of time. There is much to appreciate (especially for
teenagers and comic book fans), but it could have been so much better.
(By the way, the Kick-Ass
character has a page on MySpace. We weren’t aware that anyone still had a page