Genre: Action | Adventure
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
MPAA rating: R (for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use – some involving children. )
Summary: KICK-ASS tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name—Kick-Ass—assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There’s only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers whatsoever.
His life is forever changed as he inspires a subculture of copy cats, meets up with a pair of crazed vigilantes—including an 11-year-old sword-wielding dynamo, Hit Girl (Chloë Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage)—and forges a friendship with another fledgling crime-fighter, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But thanks to the scheming of a local mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), that new alliance will be put to the test
Run time: 117 min
Kick-Ass is the story of your every day comic book geek, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), who asks his friends the question that many comic book geeks (including myself) have asked “How come nobody’s every tried to be a Superhero?“. Dave gets the answer to his question in short order.
After purchasing a scuba suit online and turning it into his superhero disguise, Dave hits the streets and attempts to dissuade a couple of criminals from breaking into a car, and well… let’s just say that it doesn’t go so well. He does however prove more successful in his next attempt at heroism and inadvertently manages to thwart a violent, gang attack on one helpless man in a diner parking lot. The diner patrons all bust out the mobile phones and record the encounter, which ends up being posted to the internet and goes viral enough to hit the evening news.
Unbeknownst to Dave, there are two other – more capable, masked vigilantes on the streets that go by the names Big Daddy and Hit-Girl (Nicolas Cage and Chloe G. Moretz) who are already trying to take down the mob operations in the city, which are run by the villainous Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong).
Nicolas Cage was simply astounding as Big Daddy/Damon Macready. Cage’s portrayal was a return to the quirky, off-kilter acting that most people love him for. His ability to portray an emotionally crushed man who truly loves his Daughter but has an undeniable thirst for vengeance is brilliant. Cage’s ability to convey the emotion necessary for the audience to understand why and what pushed his character to not only become a vigilante, but also to justify raising his only Daughter to become an 11 year-old, sweet faced, foul mouth, relentless killing machine was impressive as well.
That 11 year-old, relentless killing machine is Hit-Girl/Mindy Macready who is played pitch perfectly by Chloe G. Moretz. As good as Nicolas Cage plays the part of Big Daddy, Moretz steals the show! Yes, her action scenes are fantastic and will likely bring you to your feet as you watch the path of destruction she leaves in her wake, but her ability to deliver adult dialogue (I’m not talking about the bad words) and her ability to convey emotion through the purple wig and mask was really amazing for a girl of just 11 years-old (when filming).
There is a scene near the end of the film where Moretz is tasked with some intense and violent action, which is sandwiched between an overwhelming sense of panic and grief for her character, and Moretz seemed to pull it off effortlessly. Hit-Girl is far and away the coolest female assassin ever to grace the screen, she is ‘girl power’ personified and Moretz definitely has a bright future ahead of her.
Mark Strong did a fantastic job playing Frank D’Amico and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist, who I was rooting for in his seeming quest to step out of the McLovin’ shadow, just barely managed to accomplish that. Don’t get me wrong, Mintz-Plasse was not bad, there were just a few moments in the film where that character seeped through and they were all when he was playing the alter-ego of Red Mist. Ironically with no costume on and playing the role of Chris D’Amico, he was actually less McLovin’esque.
Aaron Johnson as the titular character did a great job and I almost feel bad for him. While he played the role perfectly, it was easily overshadowed by the outstanding performances from Cage and Moretz.
Interspersed throughout the mayhem, Kick-Ass does also manage to deliver some insightful social commentary but, unlike some other films in the recent past who chose to go the heavy-handed route with their message, Vaughn thankfully manages to make them subtle and nuanced, rather than talking down to his audience.
Director Matthew Vaughn, did an impeccable job of pacing and balance in Kick-Ass and the cinematography in the film is quite impressive. Despite their frenetic pace, you never lose focus of what’s actually happening within the action shots.
I’ve read a lot of words thrown around to describe Kick-Ass. Some say that it’s “disturbing“, “hyper-violent“, “vulgar“, and even “morally reprehensible“. I’m going to go in a different direction and say that “Kick-Ass is original, relentless, action packed and brazenly funny.”
I give Kick-Ass Four Out of Five Stars