Monday, April 19, 2010

Kick-Ass Kicks Ass

If you see Kick-Ass, you will believe an eleven year old girl can dual wield Colt 45s. This is no warm and fuzzy father-daughter movie. You get that point in the first scene with eleven year old Mindy Macready (Chloe Moretz) getting shot by her father, Damon Macready. (Nicholas Cage) Damon's motive to shoot his kid? Toughen her up. Of course, she's wearing a bullet proof vest, so there's no harm only pain.

Based on an actual comic book, Kick-Ass is the movie of high school nerd, David Lizewski. (Aaron Johnson) David is no different than any high school kid going through puberty. He fantasizes about his English teacher and can't get noticed by the hottest girl in school, all American beauty, Katie. (Lyndsy Fonseca) He and his buddies Marty (Clark Duke) and Todd (Evan Peters) spend their time at the comic book shop wondering why every day people don't become superheroes.

Fed up with his dull life, David decides to become a superhero. He buys a scuba suit and becomes the superhero Kick-Ass. Hey, Batman didn't have supernatural powers, it can happen. Now his first mission ends horribly when he gets stabbed and run over by a car but that just shows this movie takes notice of reality. After he recovers, as Kick-Ass, he stumbles on a gang beating up guy and defends him. It's caught with cell phone cameras and an Internet sensation is born. Kick-Ass is now a superhero.

Meanwhile, Damon (Cage) is raising his daughter, Mindy (Moretz), to be a superhero vigilante. They have a big target to take down, mob boss Frank D'Amico. (Mark Strong) They harass his drug dealing operations, leading to D'Amico's obession to kill the superheroes. It's during one of Kick-Ass's mission, a plan to stop Katie's ex-boyfriend Rasul from bothering her that all our superheroes come together. You see Rasul is an inner city drug dealer. Hold on, did I say Katie, who looks like she stepped out of WASP beauty contest, had an inner city drug dealing ex-boyfriend? Look, the movie may have realistic violence but it's still a fantasy. Anyway, Kick-Ass is about to get killed by Rasul when Mindy saves his um, ass. Mindy is Hit Girl and father is Big Daddy, crime fighting superheroes. Unfortunately, Hit Girl slaughters the drug dealer and his men who also happen to work for D'Amico. He now believes it's Kick-Ass who is the problem and now wants to kill him.

Kick-Ass is not a movie for kids. It may feature a high school protagonist but it's extremely violent. Look, if you're going to spear people, fire guns, and throw knifes, blood is going to be spilled. Kick-Ass is also funny in a dark comedic way. There's some controversy over an eleven year old girl spitting out profanities but it's funny as you would never expect a child to cuss like a sailor. This is not a new thing. Remember Bad News Bears? (1976)

Kudos to director-writer Matthew Vaughn for not pulling back on the adult topics such as the cussing and violence. At the same time, Vaughn doesn't take it so seriously to wipe out the comedy. Come on, you've got Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Mc'Lovin from Superbad) running around in spandex. The action scenes are well done. It's reminiscent of the Matrix, with Hit Girl running up walls and doing back flips. In real life, I hope eleven year old girls don't go out and become superheroes but there is something feminist about this movie. Watching Hit Girl kick ass is empowering. That's what I call girl power.

As for the performances, what can I say about Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl? Awesome. She cusses like a veteran. British actor Aaron Johnson does a great American accent. Nicholas Cage is a hoot as Damon and even funnier as Big Daddy, a kind of low rent Batman. As Big Daddy, he channels both Adam West's Batman and William Shatner with a halting, staccato delivery. Mark Strong is believable as the mob boss. It's good to see Yancy Butler (Witchblade)again. And what can I say about Christopher Mintz-Plasse? Mc'Lovin is back!

Kick-Ass is a cross between Superbad, Dark Knight and Goodfellas. It's a wild ride of comedy, sex and violence. Quentin Tarantino would be proud. The grade is A.

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