Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Aaron Johnson, ChloÃ« Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Release date: April 16, 2010
I’m in love. My heart has been stolen and I may never get it back. I think you’d really like her. She’s cute, she’s into violence, she swears like a sailor, she can name ever John Woo film ever made, she’s into guns and heavy weaponry, she likes bowling and she’s 12 years old. Her name is Hit-Girl (or Mindy Macready if you’re not into secret identities) and when she’s on the screen she absolutely steals the show. ChloÃ« Grace Moretz is amazing in the role and I’m now actually looking forward to seeing her in the upcoming American remake of the Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In (Let Me In). Think of her this way, she’s like John Rambo meets Polly Pocket and she’s involved in some of the best action scenes I’ve witnessed in the past decade. She was my favorite character from the comic book which the film is based on and she did not disappoint one iota in the film.
My history with this franchise goes back a bit. I’ve been looking forward to the film adaptation ever since I got my hands on the first issue of the Mark Millar/John Romita Jr. comic book of the same name way back in February of 2008. Reading the comic was like a breath of fresh air in the now stale and stagnant world of superhero comics. I’m proud to say the movie is equally refreshing to the world of superhero movies.
The film is a twisted, funny, high-octane adventure, brought to us by director Matthew Vaughn and tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name — Kick-Ass — assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There’s only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers. His life is forever changed as he inspires a subculture of copy cats, meets up with a pair of crazed vigilantes — including an 11-year-old sword-wielding dynamo, Hit Girl (the aforementioned ChloÃ« Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and forges a friendship with another fledgling superhero, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But thanks to the scheming of a local mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), that new alliance is put to the test. Put simply, the core concept and driving motivation behind the character and the story as Dave ponders, “Why does everybody want to be Paris Hilton and nobody wants to be Spider-Man?”
For fans of the comic I will say the movie sticks to the original book about 80 percent of the time. There are variations from the book, but nothing that will turn off fans of the source material. I was a little disappointed that the violence was toned down from the book since I had read that the director wanted to keep everything intact from the comic. The same thing happened with another Mark Millar-written comic-turned-movie (Wanted) and I wasn’t a big fan of that. Certain things are changed in both films to make them more “mainstream” and make the characters likable which I didn’t think was necessary because some of those elements in the comics really made them stand out as unique and different from everything else on the market. Yes, the film is really violent and has a lot of swearing in it, but I just felt like they watered it down when the filmmakers and Mark Millar told us they wouldn’t.
Another area in which I felt the movie didn’t quite live up to my expectations or to the comic book source material is in the climax. With the exception of any scene Hit-Girl is in, I felt like the final battle fell a little flat and the gritty realism established earlier in the film and in the comic was jettisoned for a typical Hollywood, over the top shoot out. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was fantastic but it was not the experience I was promised by Matthew Vaughan and Mark Millar.
Overall I did have a great time and I think whether you are a fan of superheroes/comic books or you’re just looking for a great time at the movies, Kick-Ass has you covered. It’s got great action scenes, terrific performances, and hilarious comedy. I can also see many fans falling in love with Hit-Girl the same way I did.
On a personal note, it was great to see my local Arizona comic shop, Atomic Comics, well represented in the film.
The film isn’t going to win any Academy Awards. But It can kick your ass.
The Geek: HIT-GIRL!!!!! Nic Cage’s Adam West impersonation.
The Week: Over the top ending, and an overall “toned-down” feel to the entire film.
Vactor’s Verdict: A 5 Out Of 5