Kick-Ass (Johnson) and Hit Girl (Moretz) get ready to brawl
The Movie: Kick-Ass
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Based on the graphic novel by: Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
Famous who you probably won’t recognize: Aaron Johnson, Evan Peters, Clark Duke, Chloe Moretz
Famous people you probably recognize: Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
The story: Dave Lizewski (Johnson), an awkward comic book geek, gets the bright idea to become a superhero named Kick-Ass (with no super powers or combative training) that becomes a cultural phenomenon. While doing so, he gets pulled into a world of underground crime – and makes friends along the way including an 11-year-old foul-mouthed mistress of deadly weaponry known as Hit Girl (Moretz), a skilled middle-aged Batman look-alike who goes by the name Big Daddy (Cage), and Red Mist (Mintz-Plasse) – a guy who looks like the Flock of Seagulls lovechild of Boy Wonder Robin and Boy George.
The review: Vaughn has translated the graphic novel in a way that can please fanboys and the general public alike. Cut from the same cloth as Sin City, Kick-Ass celebrates violence and the freedom we have to kick ass as we like. It pleases the crowd that wants to see a bushy-haired teen in a green scuba suit get beaten like a pinata and an 11-year-girl amputate a drug dealer’s leg – and that’s holding back a lot.
The movie may have all the thrills of gravity defying gunfights and butterfly knife action, but it pales into comparison to the graphic novel. For sadists who crave more, read the source material. The pages of blood geysers, bone breakage and testicle electrocution will surely satisfy.
With a movie like this, the storyline usually falls by the wayside because audiences want to see bodies hit the floor. We do get lots of that, but Vaughn uses his unique storytelling abilities to shine a light on the typical tale of the underdog who is bored with his life. Aaron Johnson, who, despite his spot-on prepubescent American accent, is a Brit, plays the title role with an endearing sensitivity that can be compared to a lion cub trying to roar. His roar is in the right place, but he doesn’t have the physical prowess. His heart and evolving confidence eventually become his weapon of choice.
Audiences will eat up Hit Girl because she is actually the one who kicks the most ass. She has the physical abilities that Kick-Ass lacks (and vice versa). Plus, she curses like a masked sailor in a purple wig. From the moment she spits out the uber-crass four letter C-word, the audience will fall in love.
Expect a lot of Hit Girl costumes come Halloween.
As Red Mist, Christopher Mintz-Plasse played to his abilities of being uncoordinated and dorky – and there were only a few signs of McLovin. Perhaps his comedy goes beyond the role that made him famous. Nicholas Cage does his best impression of a cowled vigilante; with his deliberate stop-and-go articulation, he surprises as a subdued sociopathic patriarch.
Overall review: Vigilant, violent, action packed, and, in a weird way, heart-warming. You’ll enjoy rooting for the underdog and the wattage of this “ordinary” superhero flick that fuses Watchmen, Weird Science and Little Rascals. Grade: A-