BY KATE DAWSON
The cover of this DVD contains two quotes, one from Empire magazine and one from The Sydney Morning Herald. Empire says: “Five stars. Ridiculously entertaining”, and the SMH says: “Monumentally cool”.
To be honest, that about sums it up. However, that’s not to imply that there’s nothing more to say about this movie, because believe me, there is. This film caused such a stir leading up to, upon, and after its release earlier this year that if you haven’t heard of it, you obviously live under a very large, heavy rock.
Kick-Ass is based on a series of comic book by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr. The story has been warped a fraction for the big screen, but for the most part stays true to the original plot. The comics had the tagline “Sickening violence, just the way you like it!” printed on each cover, so it’s no surprise the film followed a similar pattern. The great thing about Kick-Ass is that it omits nothing. Where other action films have played it safe, Kick-Ass dares to throw the violence in your face, much like your average Tarantino flick. Right here and now you should note that if you don’t enjoy a little Kill Bill-style blood and gore, then chances are you won’t be able to sit through this. Consider this your forewarning.
Here’s the basic rundown: Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is the token nothing guy at your high-school, meaning he’s not a complete loser but he definitely isn’t popular. As he explains in the film, “I’m not saying there was anything wrong with me, but there wasn’t anything special either … like most people my age, I just existed.” Dave and his two buddies Marty (Clark Duke) and Todd (Evan Peters) hang out at Atomic Comics after school and they’re obsessed with comic books and superheroes. One day, Dave directs a question at his mates: “How come nobody’s ever tried to be a superhero?” Soon enough he’s ordering a green wetsuit on eBay and begins his training. All Dave wants to do is help people and catch bad guys, so calling himself Kick-Ass is pretty much self-explanatory. But before he knows it, he’s involved in something much more dangerous than he anticipated. Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) are a fearless and highly trained father-daughter crime-fighting duo, and they have their own agenda involving crooked mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Dave soon realises he’s in too deep, and tries to find a way out with the help of new-found friend and another wannabe superhero, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). All the while, Dave’s got school to deal with, his father’s concerns, and trying to impress the girl of his dreams, Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca). From the above information, this may seem like your run-of-the-mill action rom/com but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
First off, there’s the humour. This isn’t a movie you want to put on while babysitting the neighbours’ kids for a myriad of reasons, but straight off the bat you’ll see that the comedy aspect is one of them. Think Superbad’s dark and dirty witticism. It’s smart, hilarious, and always inappropriate. If you care enough to tally the number of swear words throughout the film, you better have an A4 sheet of paper on hand. And it’s not just the amount, it’s the content. Think of the worst possible word and it’s in there, spoken by an 11-year-old girl no less. Then there’s the violence. When this film came out in theatres, many were quick to express their disgust at the slaughterous nature of it. There is blood. A lot of it. Some people like it, some don’t. Your decision to watch this movie should be based on that, otherwise you’re setting yourself up to be mortified and possibly nauseated.
In short, this movie is awesome fun if you enjoy some sensationalised and somewhat glamourised bloodshed. It’s Superbad, Spider-Man and Kill Bill all rolled into one, so if that appeals to you then this is your Friday night movie booked in.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloe Grace Moretz and Nicolas Cage
Theatre release: April 2010
DVD release: August 2010
Rating: MA 15+ (strong violence, coarse language and sexual references).