Film Review – Kick Ass

Kick Ass posterIf you read The Daily Mail you may already have the opinion that Kick Ass (directed by Matthew Vaughn) is proof of the decline of western civilisation, featuring as it does, a 13 year old foul-mouthed assassin.

However, to judge Kick Ass solely on this is to misunderstand the movie on a gross scale.
David Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an ordinary 17 year old, who doens’t understand why no-one has ever tried to be a super hero. He’s an average kid, with no special powers, training or tragic backstory to spur him on, just a the desire to to do good. And so he becomes Kick Ass, New York’s only super hero, or so he believes until he meets Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), the aforementioned teen assassin.

This is not your average superhero movie, and Lizewski is no Peter Parker, thank god. What we have here is a super-smart, funny, and visceral teen movie hung around a superhero framework. Johnson is terrifically charming as the average teen and carries the movie well. Moretz, as Hit Girl, deserves plaudits, not brick bats. She has great comic timing, is cute as a button, and carries off the action sequences with aplomb. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is the third of the young cast as son of mobster Frank D’Amico and does well with quite thin material.

The two main adults in the movie, Frank D’Amico and Damon Macready (played by Mark Strong and Nic Cage respectively) give two very different ideas of fatherhood. Strong, as ever plays a brilliant bad guy, while Cage’s performance will charm or irritate depending on your view of him. Personally I think it fits into his pantheon of father roles quite well, along with Hi from Raising Arizona and Cameron Poe from Con Air.

Jane Goldman’s adaptation of Mark Miller’s comic, is a breezy, well-paced, witty affair, and Vaughn’s direction is excellent. The action sequences are particularly well cut, and while fast paced, not so giddy as to make your head spin.

As for the violence, yes it’s graphic, but not done in lingering detail, and Lizewski’s shocked and emotional reaction to the violence he sees, grounds the audience in reality. Hit Girl’s motivations are well explained and central to the story, and Moretz imbibes her character with all the behaviours of a young girl that we would expect.

Kick Ass is, without doubt, up there with Heathers, Clueless and The Breakfast Club as an exceptional teen movie that manages to be relevant to any audience. It is ridiculously good fun, highly entertaining and worthy of your time and money.

Huge thanks must go to Brendon Connelly of Slash Film for being generous enough to share his Plus One for the premiere of this on Twitter.

This was originally posted on 23rd March, 2010 at my old blog and also over at The Day Hollywood Stood Still.

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on May 25, 2010.

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