A “Kickass” Piece of Pulp
“With no power, comes no responsibility.” Gems of dialogue like that, serving as the inner-dialogue of our hero Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewski, are what make this adventure, sci-fi, action tale such a well-rounded and enjoyable romp of pulp style writing and action. Opening in theatres this weekend, “Kick-Ass” will be’ kicking’ off the spring movie season, and has the smart dialogue and high octane action that will make it #1 at the box office.
“Kick-Ass” centers on an ordinary teenager Dave Lizewski (aptly portrayed by relative newcomer Aaron Johnson: TV’s Nearly Famous, and 2006’s The Illusionist), who after contemplating ‘why’ no one has ever tried to be a superhero, makes the life-changing decision to become one himself. Enter Kick-Ass, a hero armed with nothing more than “optimism & naivety” and a pair of ju-jitsu style batons of which he has absolutely no training. Davei/Kick-Ass isn’t alone in this swarthy and crime-ridden city. Along for the ride is Damon Macready aka Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice & Fast Times at Ridgemont High), his daughter Mindy Macready aka Hit-Girl (Chloe Moritz: Diary of A Wimpy Kid & TV’s Dirty, Sexy, Money) and Chris D’Amico aka Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Superbad & Year One). When one of Kick-Ass’ outings as a crime-fighter goes viral on YouTube, it draws out the daddy-daughter tandem of Big Daddy & Hit Girl along with the ire of notorious crime figure Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong: Sherlock Holmes & Sunshine) and the flashy Red Mist.
Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) & writer Mark Millar (Wanted) truly deliver with this one. The film’s ‘R’ rating gives the creators free license to showcase the true side of crime and punishment but Kick-Ass is not just guns, blood, and in your face shocking violence, it’s a ‘real’ feeling film. Kick-Ass’ initial exploits as a do-gooder are atypical from what you’d expect to see in super hero films. Even the dialogue between father/daughter Damon & Mindy is rife with comedy and family connection while simultaneously shocking the viewer at how comfortable a father can be exploring the bounds of violence with a sibling. Their relationship is firmly witnessed when Damon instructs Mindy on the finer super hero art of handling a foe with a gun. Where else but this film could the hero’s love interest Katie (a striking raven-haired beauty portrayed by Lyndsy Fonseca: Hot Tub Time Machine & TV’s The Young & The Restless) remain in high spirits about a doldrum life as she wades through another uneventful shift at the methadone clinic’s needle exchange front office?
What separates “Kick-Ass” from other comic adaptations is really its’ pulp-style writing and feel. Evidenced when Hit Girl infiltrates Frank D’Amico’s fortress, there is tension in the mind of the audience as it plays out. It could be the low toned camera movement, or maybe because the viewer realizes that this is an 11 year old girl waltzing into the middle of an ‘R’ rated ambush. No matter how you see it, the execution of the scene is flawless and some serious ass-kicking ensues all around.
Filled with smart banter, raw and ruckus street fighting and great laughs courtesy of the warped friendship that blossoms between Dave and Katie, Kick-Ass is one enjoyable ride. Grab some popcorn and settle in for a dynamite-laden rocket-ride to the other side.
Kick Ass is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use — some involving children.