Friday, February 17, 2012

Kick Ass (2010)

Heard a lot of interesting buzz about this movie. Some folks really enjoyed it, others found it to be distasteful and disturbing. Well disturbing works in my book too, so when this popped up on Netflix download I had to give it a shot.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides he wants to try his hand at the super hero biz. So he creates a costume, grabs some weapons and attempts to fight crime as Kick Ass. Sadly his enthusiasm is not matched by his skill, and he is promptly beaten up and put in the hospital. By freak chance, the severe beating ends up numbing the pain centers in his brain. So when Kick Ass takes to the streets again, he’s able to stand up to the thrashing he gets, and actually do some good.

Little does he know that two actual crime fighters Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) are keeping an eye on him. Do they want to join forces with this new hero in their battle to bring down crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) or do they think he’s a threat? And just how does the mysterious Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) fit into the picture?  All we know for sure is that there will be explosions, there will be blood and there will be asses kicked.

Good Points:
  • Turns superhero conventions on their ear
  • Manages to be funny, and dark all at the same time
  • The acting is surprisingly good

 Bad Points:
  • The odd tone is not going to appeal to everyone
  • The whole concept of Hit Girl and what happens to her is sure to offend some viewers
  • Anyone looking for a traditional superhero flick will be disappointed 

This is a lot like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World but with a darker, nastier streak. But that dark side is full of smiles and I got a big kick out of the whole film. The wildly shifting tone of the film was a little tough to get into, but once I figured out what the movie was trying to do I had a good time. Recommended for anyone looking for a nice twist on the superhero genre (as long as you don’t mind seeing a little girl mercilessly kill evildoers and get herself beaten up during the fight scenes).

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 4
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. I liked this movie a lot, in part because of the way it deliberately ignores the PC. Your are right, of course, that the psychopathically lethal Hit-Girl, perfectly played by Chloe Moretz, will offend some viewers (including Roger Ebert no less). She targets the criminal element, but a least a couple of her victims at Rasul’s (such as the hooker) were guilty more of hanging out with thugs than being thugs, and then there is that fight with D’Amico. I can see not liking this movie, but, personally, I think anyone who doesn’t at least get the humor (like it or not) seriously needs to get in better touch with his or dark side – I don’t mean “let your dark side drive the bus,” but just acknowledge its existence. Freud made a living out of people who refused to do that.

    I don’t know if you read the comics. The first 8 issues, on which this movie is based, are also available collected in a hard-cover book. Many of the movie scenes are shot to look nearly identical to various illustrated frames and much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim. Yet there are distinct and interesting differences, no doubt because, as Dave Lizewski says in issue #1, “What works on the page doesn’t always work on the screen.” Katie Deauxma, for example, does not fall for Dave in the comic; she has her new boyfriend beat him up. There also is a surprise in the backstory of Big Daddy, which I won’t reveal and which the movie did not copy.

  2. Ooh sounds good. I think I'll have to seek out out the comic version. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Good write-up! Loved Kick-Ass. It was perfect mixture of action and comedy. Hit-Girl and Big Daddy stood out.

  4. Thanks Ty. This is one superhero movie that has stood out among some of the same old-same old we've been seeing in the genre lately.

  5. I really liked this movie. The darkness of it all, and the ironic treatment of this subject were really appealing.

  6. Definitely. It's also the kind of movie I wouldn't mind revisiting, because it was unique for it's genre.