When Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), an ordinary New York teenager and comic-book geek dons a green-and-yellow internet-bought wetsuit to become the no-nonsense vigilante, Kick-Ass, the eager yet inexperienced Dave becomes a phenomenon, capturing the imagination of the public. Meanwhile, highly-trained and motivated father-daughter crime-fighting duo, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) have been crusading against local Mafioso, Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). And, as Kick-Ass gets drawn into their no-holds-barred world of bullets and bloodletting with Frank's son, Chris - now calling himself Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) - the stage is set for a final showdown between the forces of good and evil.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
One of my favourite comic-book-to-screen adaptations is Sin City (2005), a graphic and violent comic with indelible characters and strong visuals, which is transferred with great flair to the screen, retaining its look and feel beautifully. It's probably a work of art, dark and violent as it is. It is ironic that there is a line of the narration in Kick Ass that refers to Sin City (self referentially about a plot point), because Kick Ass abuses the comic book violence, placing it into its comic terms of reference. Black comedy is one thing (and I like it well done) but this is far from that. Sometimes shootings are intended to raise a laugh and sometimes the killings are in deadly earnest. As the tone swings from one to the other, the film sinks into juvenile excess that soon loses interest for all but the least demanding 16 year old.
Still, the wimpy, nerdish, gormless (and horny) Dave is presented as the ultimate outsider whose very few friends are also shunned by their peers, and his journey will entertain those kids who associate with a character like this. But this isn't just Dave's journey; it is also the profoundly sad story of Damon Macready alias Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his little (but not helpless) daughter, Mindy alias Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). I found their scenes far more engaging and often entertaining than the rest of the movie, but when the deaths aren't at all funny, tone just collapses. Indeed, Chloe Moretz is the best thing in the film, delivering one of those milestone performances that propel child actors into the big time.
Their story links badman Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) to the antics of Dave as Kick Ass the sorta superhero, and to D'Amico's son, the lithping nerd Chris - now calling himself Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who goes around in copycat wannabe superhero mode. All the while there is a creaky romantic subplot around Dave and Katie (Lyndsy Fonesca) the girl of his dreams at high school.
To be fair, I should also give credit to patches of the script when it stays within its comedic confines. But these just highlight the many shortcomings of the whole show. Dave the wannabe superhero doesn't fly - and neither does carnage comedy.
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KICK ASS (MA)
CAST: Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Chloe Moretz, Aaron Johnston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jason Flemyng, Lindsy Fonseca, Clark Duke, Xander Berkeley, Tamer Hassan
PRODUCER: Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, Brad Pitt, David Reid, Chris Thykier,
DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn
SCRIPT: Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman (comic books by Mark Millar)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Davis
EDITOR: Eddie Hamilton
MUSIC: Ilan Eshkeri
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Russell De Rozario
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 8, 2010