Kick-Ass

2011-08-05 06:23
 
Kick-Ass

What it's about:

Based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr (the latter even contributes a terrific animated sequence to the film), Kick-Ass tells the story of geeky Dave Lezewski (Aaron Johnson) who decides to follow in the footsteps of his fictional comic book heroes and become a real life masked crime-fighter. Calling himself Kick-Ass and armed with nothing but a green wetsuit, the "power to be invisible to girls" and loads of naivety, he quickly discovers that being a superhero in the real world is not as safe and pain-free and as it appears. His mission gets complicated by his messy private life, a ruthless crime boss and the emergence of more "superheroes". 

What we thought:

Despite being an avid comic book reader, I find myself in the unusual position of not having read Mark Millar's original comic before seeing the movie. Save for a handful of exceptions, I flat out haven't liked Millar's work. I've found his writing heartless, obnoxious and far too desperate to appear edgy and cool, culminating in the truly dreadful Wanted. I think it says something then, that somewhere during its brisk two-hour running time, Kick-Ass pulverized all of my previous-held ideas and caused me to reconsider everything that I ever held true about the guy's writing. And considering how stubborn I can be about this sort of thing, that's no small feat. 

Of course, however much credit needs to be given to Millar for creating the world and characters of Kick-Ass, the true star here is Matthew Vaughn. It is very simply one of the most awe-inspiring balancing acts that I've seen on film in a very long time. Kick-Ass should be a genre-bending nightmare as it mixes crime drama, indie teenage romance, superheroics and knockabout comedy with some jaw-dropping profanity and blood-splattered, gleefully brutal violence, most of which is perpetrated by, get this, an eleven-year-old girl. As both co-screenwriter and director, Vaughn is squarely responsible for turning this volatile cocktail of insanity into a perfectly controlled, explosively exciting piece of cinema.

Vaughn and his talented co-writer, Jane Goldman have served up a fresh, witty script with well drawn characters and a compelling plot, but without Vaughn's assured direction, Kick-Ass could so easily have turned into one of the year's biggest stinkers. I have admittedly been quite impressed by Vaughn's previous forays into genre cinema with Stardust and Layer Cake, but it is this film that should cement his reputation as a truly special filmmaker. The film is perfectly paced, expertly told and stylishly shot but it is his skillful understanding and manipulation of the tone of the film that really allows Kick-Ass to soar.

Vaughn clearly understands the different mechanics of the various genres that Kick-Ass blends together and, as such, ensures that the film is sweet when it needs to be sweet, quirky when it needs to be quirky, sad when it needs to be sad, and, most importantly, funny when it absolutely has to be funny. The world of Kick-Ass is grittier, more "realistic" than, say, the world of Superman or Spider-Man but Vaughn wisely never allows it to fully escape the genre's fantasy trappings. The violence inflicted on our central hero is shockingly brutal, but when it comes to the verbal and physical violence perpetrated by the pre-pubescent Hit-Girl - who, along with Big Daddy, her slightly deranged ex-cop father, teams up with Kick-Ass - Vaughn carefully ensures that it stays within the realm of acceptability by adopting a cheeky, farcical tone - all the while never losing sight of the humanity of these children caught up in an entirely mad situation.
  
Mind you, this is just as well when you consider that Hit-Girl is the heart and soul of the film. Don't get me wrong, Kick-Ass is littered with some very cool characters and solid acting, from Brit up-and-comer Johnson as Kick-Ass himself, to the reliably sinister Mark Strong as the film's central bad guy, not to mention Nicolas Cage who hasn't had a role this cool since the 90s. No character, however, is more fun, more tragic and more flat-out, well, kick-ass than Hit-Girl and her purple wig. Thirteen-year-old Chloe Moretz slays everything in her path in more ways than you can imagine, as she tempers her inevitable precociousness with genuine charm and likability.

A star is born.


Smart, funny, tragic and really rather violent, Kick-Ass is something to be very excited about.

On M-Net (DStv 101) on Friday August 5 at 21:30.

JK 2010/04/22 1:47 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Can't wait to see this!
Werner von Gruning 2010/04/25 8:38 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
I honestly expected something really weak. But I was pleasantly surprised. Loved the blood and guts.
Preshen govender 2010/04/26 8:05 AM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
i loved the super hero tights
Gareth 2010/04/29 9:58 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
very cool movie - the violence wasn't nearly as shocking as i expected, although there are a couple of scenes that are not for the faint-hearted. thoroughly enjoyable, gritty, real, awesome!
B 2010/05/10 3:31 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Epic!
B 2010/05/10 3:35 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Epic!
NEXT ON CHANNELX
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.