DVD Release: 08.03.10
1 hour, 57 minutes
Self-acknowledged high school geek Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson, The Illusionist) decides to dress up as a superhero and fight crime. Had he thought beyond his initial brain fart, he would have realized the streets hit back pretty damned hard. After miraculously healing from his first beatdown, Dave makes a name for himself on the youtube as Kick-Ass. His video escapades draw hundreds of fans, the attention of the highly trained heroic duo of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, Ghost Rider) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz, 500 Days of Summer), and the ire of one seriously nasty crime boss, Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes).
Given all the buzz surrounding Kick-Ass, I was psyched to see it opening weekend. Though I tried to temper my excitement with low expectations, I still came out of the theater underwhelmed. The pacing was very uneven; long segments of exposition and backstory for particular characters tripped up the rhythm of the action-y bits. The parallels to the numerous superhero sagas that came before (Spider-Man and Batman being the most obvious) were a nice touch, but these nods could only hold my fanboy attention for so long.
It's a shame because writer-director Matthew Vaughn along with writer Jane Goldman are responsible for one of my most favorite fantasy flicks of recent memory; Stardust. I found their adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel quite enjoyable, though I can't speak to its faithfulness having never read it. But, I digress. Ultimately, I just didn't give a shit for Kick-Ass Dave. He was an idiot who had about as much sense as he did nerve endings. On the other hand, Big Daddy and Hit Girl's relationship was more easily understood; fucked up, certainly, but strangely sympathetic. Even the motivations of Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Role Models) were understandable, though his evolution into Red Mist was neglected.
There's been much ado about the violence of Kick-Ass, and really, it's about nothing. Sure, some people might not like watching a twelve-year-old girl shoot, stab and beat the shit out of criminals while cursing like a sailor, but the low quality CG was more upsetting than Hit Girl's home training. Kick-Ass tried hard to be gritty and real in the beginning, so why did it devolve into a cartoonish bath of blood and appendages?
The Money Shot
I've heard such glowing praise for Kick-Ass I can't help but second guess my initial impression. The plight of Dave and the dangerous duo offers a refreshing spin on the heavily saturated superhero genre. While I know I'm going to watch it again, the film still won't kick as much ass as Hit Girl.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010