Archive for April 8, 2010

Kick Ass Review

Superheroes wouldn’t survive long in today’s world. It’s fine for Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men and the like to preach about not killing their enemies, but it wouldn’t solve anything. Evil should be eliminated, not scolded – maybe the Punisher got it right.

Here to evolve the idea of a superhero is Dave Lizewski, (Aaron Johnson) a high school student whose only reaction to crime is to want to kick its arse. After having enough of being robbed at school, mugged on the street and standing by as the same is done to others, Dave buys a wetsuit online and becomes the superhero vigilante Kick Ass.

Unfortunately for Dave, the only real powers he has are courage and a slightly elevated pain threshold – he can’t even weild his baton weapons effectively. However, that doesn’t matter after he’s filmed standing up to a group of thugs – Kick Ass becomes an instant internet hit, a symbol of truth in a world of lies.

Sadly, this is just the beginning of Dave’s problems as there are already two superheroes operating in secret – ex-cop Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and his arse-kicking daughter Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). The two are sworn enemies of drug baron Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a loner who chooses to become supervillain Red Mist. Worse still, Dave’s love interest Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca) believes him to be gay.

There is no part of this film that doesn’t work. Absolutely everything is pitch-perfect – the casting, acting, directing, editing, writing, costumes, sound, music, design – all of it is completely brilliant, utterly hilarious and one hundred percent convincing.

Every character is fully three dimensional, with depth, personality and traits oozing out of every pore. It’s a story made up of stories, with all the cast combining to form a wonderfully satisfying whole. The good guys are likeable and sympathetic, the bad guys detestable yet motivated and even non-costumed characters Clark Duke and Even Peters provide non-stop laughs with their very presence. Particular stand-outs include Big Daddy’s twisted and hilarious, yet ultimately believable and loving relationship with Hit-Girl, as well as Chris’ utterly convincing character arc. Massive props, too, to the burly bouncer played by wrestler Nelson Frasier Jr, whose every line is hysterical.

The plot is mature and intelligent, seeing Kick Ass accidentally getting dragged into a world he’s not ready or prepared for. Everything in it makes sense and it rattles along with the speed of a runaway freight train – not bad for a film weighing in at just under two hours.

The best part is the sense of realism that surrounds the whole thing. The best shot, the best fighter, the strongest, the fastest, the smartest always win, no exceptions. A child, couldn’t fist fight an adult in real life and the same is true here, only much funnier and more violent.

It’s an examination of what it really means to be a superhero. Is it about standing up for what’s right or is it about killing those that do wrong? The film suggests that both answers are right, depending on the severity of the crime. It’s a thoughtful note, one that aids to deepen the intelligence of a movie that, on the surface, doesn’t appear to have many brains about it.

If there is one small complaint to make, it’s that some people might be put off by the hyperviolence commited by children. But then again, if the sight of an eleven year old girl slaughtering legions of goons doesn’t tickle you, then the glory of Kick Ass is not for you.

Funnier than most comedies, more exciting than most actioners, this is Kick Ass, hands down the film to beat this year.

5 stars