Movie Review: Kick-Ass
They’re not wearing hockey pads.
We’ve seen glimpses of superhero wannabes in movies like The Incredibles and The Dark Knight, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before an entire movie was devoted to the concept. That movie comes in the form of Kick-Ass. It’s a slick, stylish and hilarious movie that is perhaps even more aptly titled than the likes of Snakes on a Plane and Hot Tub Time Machine.
The title-character of Kick-Ass (Brit actor Aaron Johnson) is just your standard high-school dweeber. Admittedly, his only superpower is being invisible to girls but he decides to take things into his own hands after growing tired of watching people stand by and turn their heads as thugs jack cars and rob helpless civilians. After one of his escapades is captured on video and posted on YouTube, he becomes an overnight internet sensation.
His new found fame also makes him the target of the most awesomely outlandish comic mob boss since Al Pacino in Dick Tracy, played by Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes). Strong’s son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse aka McLovin) takes on his own superhero persona as part of his father’s scheme to end Kick-Ass’s reign.
He also finds out that he may not be the only superhero around as his amateur skills are put to the test by Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his foul-mouthed 11-year-old daughter, Hit-Girl ((500) Days of Summer‘s Chloe Moretz). Even with all his new found crime-fighting confidence, he’s still having trouble telling his crush how he feels. He’s merely the “gay bff” to her.
I had every expectation of this film being an uneven mess that has no clue of its true identity, but director Matthew Vaughn (who helmed the stellar British gangster flick, Layer Cake) crafts every scene with confidence. The action sequences are wonderfully choreographed and are often accompanied by the music of John Murphy (28 Days Later), one of the most original and exhilarating film-score guys in the business. Just as important is the fact that we are presented with enough character development and background to inspire us to actually care about the fate of these characters during their many violent and vulgar fight scenes. It’s a fast-paced comic thrill ride… and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Kick-Ass is also a smart and witty comedy.
Sure, the movie’s namesake is Kick-Ass, but Hit-Girl is the real show-stopper here. She’s shares plenty of sweet and sensitive moments with Cage, but when she’s thrown into action she puts on her Billy Idol snarl and becomes the true ass-kicker in Kick-Ass.
I realize there are plenty of highly anticipated movies being released in the coming months like Iron Man 2, The Expendables and Inception, but you’re going to be hard pressed to find a more entertaining movie all year than Kick-Ass.
RIYL: Shoot ‘Em Up, Zombieland, Kill Bill Vol. 1.