Movie Review #661
Marv Films presents…
Studio: Plan B
Country: UK – USA
Spoken Languages: English
Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Produced by Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, Brad Pitt, David Reid, Kris Thykier, and Matthew Vaughn. Screenplay by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn. Based on the comic book by Mark Millar & John S. Romita Jr.
Rated R by the MPAA – frequent and graphic violence, frequent profanity, sexual content, nudity, infrequent drug material. Runs 1 hour, 57 minutes. Premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival on March 12, 2010; and in London on March 22, 2010. Wide release in the UK on March 26, 2010; and in the USA on April 16, 2010.
Starring Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nicolas Cage. Also starring Garrett M. Brown, Evan Peters, Deborah Twiss, Lyndsy Fonseca, Sophie Wu, Stu Riley, Mark Strong, and Michael Rispoli.
Some titles are given as if to mark the quality of the film. “As Good As It Gets”, for example, though that title was far more accurate than “Kick-Ass”. Kick-Ass the character (Aaron Johnson) calls himself that because he wants to give the impression that he’ll kick the ass of any human who dares commit a crime in the presence of himself or his friends. “Kick-Ass” the movie just doesn’t kick much ass,*** but it does have its fun.
“Kick-Ass” opens like “Spider-man”, with the establishment of a teenage misfit as a superhero. Though his motivation seems to make him more interesting than Spidey. He wasn’t forced into this by destiny, and he wasn’t shown that he can solve the problems of those he cares most about after being bitten by a radioactive critter. He’s a nerd who feels a personal desire to make himself a superhero so he can stop crime. The film’s story seems to dissolve here. Whenever Kick-Ass is stopping a crime in downtown NYC, he seems like he’s keeping a kid from having his lunch money stolen. Whether this is an awkward attempt at humor or a consistent flaw in character development just isn’t clear; however, it does give the movie a believable message, that one’s ineptitude does not mean he can’t inspire those who might be better at the job.
Kick-Ass is discovered on YouTube, which clarifies why it seems the city is crazy for him for a short period of time. After that, this guy’s not a superhero in a superhero movie. He’s a vigilante in a crime movie. I’d easily compare the eventual “Kick-Ass & Hit-Girl” duo to “Vincent Vega & Jules Winnfield” before “Batman & Robin.” Yet the movie wants to be a superhero movie. And if it’s not an excuse to dress up the genre in hard-R fashion, then I don’t know what the point of its existence is.
Every cloud has its silver lining, which means that every mindless hard-R action movie has its outstanding choreography, editing, cinematography, and music selections. Even scenes near the (all too predictable) ending when things turn into something out of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, the movie earns easy appreciation as a guilty pleasure. Sometimes it’s just fun to watch a feisty 11-year-old (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her father (Nicolas Cage) kill people with a guy named Kick-Ass. What more could we ask for? Maybe a Nicolas Cage that doesn’t sound like an android, but let’s not go begging for the impossible.
***With Kick-Ass the character being one of four main protagonists, it certainly thinks it does.