Thursday, April 22, 2010


In thinking about Kick-Ass, the flamboyant bloodbath from director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust), I think about all the colorful peripheral characters and ideas that really did kick ass, and yet, the problem is there's no center. There's no main course, just tasty appetizers. As any fan boy is aware the film is about a nerdy high school student named Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), who with the help of I really don't know, urban ennui, and luck of You Tube, becomes a wannabe superhero, named, of course, Kick-Ass. He's a fairly pathetic superhero, he has no tricks or special abilities, he's a just a handsome British actor made unkempt by a bad perm job. Of course we want to identify with Kick-Ass\Dave; he's going out there trying to be a vigilante and stand up against evil, or a mugger. There's always a sense of wish fullfillment with with the superhero comics\movies, and that's the attraction, and the hunger. But here we're stuck with Dave a little too much of the time, and he's not a very interesting character, rather lifelessly played by Johnson. He's really more worried about people thinking he's gay at school; and that gay joke is played out a little too much in my opinion.

Too me, the real star of Kick-Ass is Chloe Grace Moretz. You might remember as the wise-child\confidant of Joseph Gordon Levitt in (500) Days of Summer, and I'm sure she'll be all over the place very soon. For here performance here as Mindy Macready\Hit Girl is everything that Johnson's Dave\Kick-Ass should be, but isn't- fun, stylized and gleefully profane. Trained by her father, a jilted ex-cop out for vengance, played by a hammy and awake Nicolas Cage, Mindy has been trained since a kid to be a fighter; if anything she's probably what The Bride's daughter in the Kill Bill movies would be like. And Hit Girl's real abilities as a fighter give the movie Kick-Ass is real sense of fun and danger.

Hit Girl and Kick-Ass become entangled through a series plot contrivance surrounding nefarious drug pin, and bad guy Frank D'Amico (played by Mark Strong; Stardust), whose son is played by Christopher Mintz Plasse (McLovin' from Superbad,) and it's in his son's creation comes another superhero, one in which to trap Kick-Ass, whom D'Amico for some strange reason thinks actually isn't an awkward, harmless high school geek, but a real threat. I mention all of these, fairly bored with what I'm writing, because that's exactly how I felt watching it. There's a little too much D'Amico, who for the stature of a gifted actor like Strong gives to it, still felt like one of the weaker villians in superhero movie land. What might have made the film better in my opinion is if Vaughn had show the same interest and stylized glee to the rest of the film, that is bestowed upon Hit-Girl. If you're making a wannabe Tarantino splatter film, than go for it full-throttle, not just in stop and go sections. There's a brief segment toward to the end of the film where Hit Girl kills and slices and dices a bunch of big, bad men to the tune of Joan Jett's Bad Reputation, and it's probably the most fun part of the film. For the record that over-played but joyous song hasn't been put to better use since it was the theme song to Freaks and Geeks. C+

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