Kick-Ass review by Steve Oatney —
The name of this film is pointedly apropos, because it puts its money where its mouth is and DOES what it says it’s going to do!
Based on the comic-book of the same name, written by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Kick-Ass is the story of Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson, your garden-variety, somewhat invisible (figuratively speaking), high school student and comic-book fan who decides to become a real-life super-hero and names himself “Kick-Ass.” Dave dons a costume though he has no superhuman-powers, nor martial-arts training, nor even a direct motivation (vis-a-vis Bruce Wayne’s parents being killed in front of his eyes, pushing him to become Batman). Dave simply feels he could make a difference, and others follow.
While this film is about Dave’s journey into manhood through the trials and tribulations of being a mortal superhero, another character swoops in and steals the show. “Hit-Girl,” played by 13 year old Chloe Moretz, grabs this film and runs away with it as one of the most unique young female roles ever written. Her character is the daughter of an Adam-West style Batman knockoff named “Big Daddy” aka Nicholas Cage. Cage does a superb job playing a father with true superhero purpose, and who trained his young daughter in the ways of being a superheroine. Oh, and his Adam West impersonation is… impeccable.
This brings up a good point, if you are squeamish about youngsters being warrior martial-artist assassins, and all that entails, do not go see Kick-Ass. This isn’t your Spider-Man style superhero flick for kids. It is a violent look at what being a true vigilante might mean, and it’s no laughing matter, except when… um… well, it is. One particular training scene involving father, daughter, and guns, will have American audiences gasping, just as I did. It pulls no punches in relating the gritty reality of training to be a warrior, as an adult, or as a child, and it is not a pretty sight, and will certainly challenge people’s morals.
The storyline follows Kick-Ass, and his new found superhero friends, as they are quickly confronted with a local criminal overlord’s villainous enterprise. The big baddie in the movie, Frank D’Amico, is played by Mark Strong. I won’t give any more away, but will say that watching the costumed characters I’ve already mentioned, plus “Red Mist,” played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), was a joy. Nothing was sugar coated in this film. People who try to fight crime in spandex are going to have difficulties, and WILL get hurt, and maybe even die.
While I will not recommend Kick-Ass for all audiences, due to violence and subject-matter, I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed director Matthew Vaughn’s fresh new look at superheroes in a never ending sea of films coming out these days, in that very genre. I look forward to seeing Kick-Ass again, soon.