Friday, March 19, 2010

Kick-Ass (Review)


Kick-Ass (2010)

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

"With no power comes no responsibility"


I had the super duper lucky opportunity to see Kick Ass early thanks to a Gate screening for the NYC premiere of Kick Ass. Not only did I get to see the best superhero/comic book movie since The Dark Knight or Iron Man (take your pick), but Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., the writer and artist of the comic were also in attendance to do an awesome Q&A.

I'll get to the fun facts of that Q&A at the end of this review, but now here comes the fun part. I get to have a full frontal superhero orgasm for all of you.

This is one of the best movies of 2010.

Kick Ass kicks so much fuckin ass, I wanted to put on some spandex, fight crime and spew witty vulgarities with my 11 yr old female cousin dressed as Hit Girl. Which brings us to why Kick Ass is awesome-tastic.

It's not the titular character that blows you away (though he does have his hilarious moments) but it's Hit Girl, the potty mouth pre-pubescent tween daughter of Big Daddy (Nic Cage doing his best Adam West impersonation) that steals the show. Chloe Moretz is so fantastic as Hit Girl you sincerely believe she loves ice cream sundaes and switchblades and can assassinate an army of mafiosos with a blink of an eye. (FYI: Moretz will star as Abby the vampire in Let Me In, the American remake of Let the Right One In)

Never has a little girl been so lethal with guns, yo yo string MacGyver devices and a blade.

Let's kick some ass with this review. SOME MILD SPOILERS BELOW.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Adapted from Mark Millar's hyper-violent comic book of the same name, director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake)'s vigilante superhero film tells the tale of an average New York teenager who decides to don a costume and fight crime. Comic book geek Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) may not have good coordination or special powers, but that doesn't mean he isn't a fully-capable crime fighter. After purchasing a flashy wet-suit on the internet, Dave starts busting up baddies with nothing but brute force. He calls himself Kick-Ass, and he can take a beating as good as he can dish one out.

Before long, Kick-Ass has become a local sensation, and others are following his lead. Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moritz) are a father-daughter crime-fighting duo who have set their sights on local mob heavy Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). They're doing a decent job of dismantling Frank's sizable underworld empire when Kick-Ass gets drawn into the fray. But Frank's men play rough, and his son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is about to become Kick-Ass' very first arch nemesis.

When Chris assumes the persona of Red Mist, the stage is set for a superhero showdown that could spell the end of Kick-Ass once and for all.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

The superhero movies that have recently come out are filled with your favs: Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Hulk. It's rare to have a comic book movie get made where you aren't too familiar with the characters. And I'll be honest, I had never heard of Kick Ass until a few months back. Having seen the trailer, it looked super duper cool and knowing it was written by Mark Millar (who also wrote Wanted), I knew it was going to be mega-tastic. (Don't judge Wanted by the Jolie flick, the graphic novel is far superior and completely different from the flick).

So brushing up on the knowledge, I decided to go in clean and not pick up the comic at all. I usually do read the comics most comic book movies are based on but I decided not to on this one. And I'm glad I didn't.

The movie stands alone and riddled me with a thousand bullets of glee. And to NOT know anything made it all the waaay awesomer. So lets get to the awesomeness.

Every movie has 3 acts. So I'm going to break it down that way.

Act 1: "Dave Lizewski meet Kick Ass"

The opening of Kick-Ass is in the trailer. And every time I watch it, I LOL. Act I is the origin of Kick Ass and it starts with the question. Why hasn't someone tried to be a real life superhero? That's what Dave Lizewski decides to do. The brilliance of Kick Ass is that it slightly parodies the Spiderman origin story.

We have the same NYC setting, a nerdy loner, a crush on the hot girl, dorky friends and an arch enemy whose filthy rich. But if Spiderman is all that is right, Kick Ass is all that is bizarro. Dave doesn't have special powers and thus why the line I started this review echoes loudly.

Soon, Kick Ass is an Internet sensation racking up YouTube views and MySpace friends (what no Facebook?). Dave is enjoying his alter ego and who wouldn't enjoy being a full fledged superhero, hooking up with the hottie and being popular.

Top 3 Scenes of Act 1
  • Kick Ass gets his ass kicked
  • Kick Ass gets his ass kicked again but kicks ass himself
  • Kick Ass becomes a phenomenon
Act 2: "Kick Ass meet Big Daddy and Hit Girl"

Our introduction to these two is best illustrated through this awesome clip below.

Damon Macready was once a supercop (his back story is told in an animated comic panel) and with his daughter Mindy are the living parody of Batman and Robin. I'd like to say they are BETTER than that ambiguous gay duo. As Big Daddy and Hit Girl, they are a lethal combination and every scene they're in is magic. Nic Cage plays the crazy, vigilante father so perfectly, it's like he was born to play Big Daddy.

But Chloe Moretz as Mindy aka Hit Girl is so tweeny cute, when she goes into action against a street gang whose got Kick Ass on the ropes, it's violent gory fun. The comic doesn't spare you the gruesomeness of annihilating the criminal underground and the movie is slickly splatterific as advertised. Head wounds, gunshots and some slice and dice by our minuscule misfit are violent poetry.

And she's waaaaaay Buffy funny too replying to Kick Ass in one scene.

Dave Lizewski: How do I get a hold of you?
Hit Girl: [sarcastically] Just contact the mayor, he has a special signal that shines in the sky! It's in the shape of a giant cock

Top 3 Scenes of Act 2
  • That scene above
  • Hit Girl goes Hit Girl (little tween girls saying cunt is soooooo cute)
  • Introduction of Red Mist (played by McLovin guy from SuperBad...that guy is awesome!)

Act 3: "Kick Ass, Big Daddy and Hit Girl meet Red Mist and Frank D'Amico"

So whose the big bad in this movie? Well we get a NYC kingpin (diet version) named Frank D'Amico. Seems Big Daddy has a vendetta against D'Amico and he's cleaning up D'Amico henchman faster than you can say cunt. Soon Kick Ass is not alone in the superhero business. Red Mist aka Chris D'Amico aka McLovin join Kick Ass in his crusade but not everything is as it seems.

Our heroes face endless peril, one of them goes down and all hell breaks loose. It's an ending that kicks so much ass, my ass still hurts. The movie balances ha ha's and visual comedy but then smashes you with the over the top action you crave in any comic you'd read. The ending is satisfying in that ice cream sundae sorta way. After the movie had ended, I felt the urge to run to my comic book store and pick it up. OK, I think I'm done comic orgasming.

Top 3 Scenes of Act 3
  • Hit Girl to the rescue!
  • Hit Girl infiltrates D'Amico HQs
  • The final battle
Matthew Vaughn (who directed Stardust and financed this movie by himself and a few others) balances Millar's story, picks a few choice panels from JrJr. and amplifies Chloe Moretz's performance to the max. It works on so many levels: comedy, action and comic genius.

This is the best movie of 2010 so far, I can't see anything being better. When you watch Kick Ass it reveals the not so secret of comics these days. There are comics for adults that flip upside down the conventional comic book narrative.

Garth Ennis and Frank Miller you've seen. Hell if people actually understood what Alan Moore and Dave Gibson did in Watchmen, they'd understand how awesome a movie and comic it is and how it too rewrote the standard comic book formula.

Kick-Ass is simply perfection in what a comic book movie is suppose to be. It politely mocks the genre but knows what the audience came to see. Witty humor, POW! BAM! action and a new band of heroes that you won't ever forget. Kick-Ass sits on the throne of comic book movie royalty daring anybody to take away it's crown. Hit Girl says it best.

"OK cunts, let's see what you can do now"


Gunshot trauma
Slice and Dice
Lots of ass kicking
Massive amounts of violence

WTF moment

Hit Girl's one girl army rescue operation

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Kick-Ass comes out on April 16th. I can keep telling you how awesome it is but you'll have to see it for yourself. Seeing a 13 yr old girl kill without mercy, spew fuck and cunt in a few lines and use a hit-arang is so satisfying you may actually see this more than once.

As promised, below is some video of the NYC premiere. If you need some Kick-Ass info, UGO has a few cool articles that include a Kick-Ass 101, Top Groups to be Offended by Kick-Ass, Mark Millar bio and the Most Kick Ass Panels in Kick-Ass.

Finally, here is footage of the NYC premiere of Kick-Ass with a Q&A with Millar and Romita Jr.

No doubt it gets 4 spinkicks. It's your responsibility to see this movie when it comes out on April 16th. That's your power.


The Trailer


  1. Holy crap four spinkicks! I wasn't particularly excited about this one, but goddamn am I waiting for it to come out now. Cheers!

  2. Awesome review--I can't wait to check this out.

  3. Love the comic, between this & Scott Pilgrim, my indie comics to film love is in full bloom!

  4. JV, lets be honest for a moment.. Who could possibly NOT go see the flick with a review like that? Now I just have to convince the wife.. Maybe Ill tell her the Predators trailer is at the beginning?

  5. Dying to see it. You lucky dog.

  6. Awesome review. I read the comic book series and I hope it lives up to it. Cool blog.

  7. You lucky bastard. I have to start writing for UGO, seriously. The perks. Pass my info along. Bastard. I have the comic on my harddrive. I should dig into it.

  8. Wouldn't the kid just get his ass kicked on his first run?

  9. I was really disappointed with this film. The trailers are better than the actual film. That goofy ending was nonsense. I wrote a 1300 word review on it if you are interested.

  10. Totally agree with you on this one fella. My film of the year too. It worked on every level and i even had a tear in my eye throughout the entire Hitgirl rescue scene. I was blown the fuck away with that one. The humor was spot one. I loved when one of Kick Ass' mates pulled that girl during a traumatic moment.
    This is another comic book adaption that i had never read before. I am very familiar with Mark Millar from his day's with 2000AD in the early nineties. He's not a writer i rate very highly (sorry). I think Garth Ennis and Al Ewing (look out for the 'Zombo' "Can i eat you please?" trade this Halloween)) do the mayhem with comedy of the Sam Raimi school of craziness much better. So i picked the Kick Ass trade last week at a airport. I have to say i was not overly impressed with it IMHO. The film captures it so much better and a brit director handles the humor much much better than the comic even tho Millar is a scot.
    If i watch a comic book adaption i am not familiar with i tend to buy the trade later or prior. I am glad i had not read this beforehand.

    That'll do. FILM OF THE YEAR.

  11. Cool Rhino. Glad you agree with me. I too bought the hardcover graphic novel and am reading it now and I'm not impressed by it either. We'll see how it goes.
    The film is slickly awesome and I'm glad Matthew Vaughn directed it as anybody else would have made this PG-13.

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