Published Apr 15, 2010Based on the comic book by Mark Millar, Kick-Ass blends an awkward teenage coming-of-age comedy with an ultra-violent revenge fantasy (think Ghost World meets Kill Bill) and the results are surprisingly successful.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a non-descript comic book geek who decides to turn himself into a superhero. Donning a mask and scuba suit, Dave becomes Kick-Ass and tries to take on local thugs, despite a distinct lack of superpowers, strength and training. He meets up with some other self-made superheroes (Nic Cage and Chloe Moretz as awesome father-daughter team Big Daddy and Hit Girl), who are bent on bringing down crime boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) by any means necessary, and realizes that he is way out of his depth. As Dave's regular life starts to seem more appealing and less hazardous, he can't quite divest himself of his alter-ego.
The film sets itself apart from other comic book movies with its unexpected, offbeat humour, which strikes an interesting balance with a steady stream of violence that's sometimes over-the-top and sometimes sickeningly realistic. Mathew Vaughn's direction is stylish and fun, retaining a comic book feel while packing the movie full of innovatively choreographed fight scenes. The concept is fresh, the dialogue is clever and the action is unrelenting and entertaining.
A minor flaw is that it lacks a really good villain, with D'Amico and his crew being cartoonishly evil and pretty unimaginative mob stereotypes, though D'Amico's son Chris (Superbad's Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has some super-villain potential.
However, Kick-Ass belongs to its superheroes. Johnson's Lizewski/Kick-Ass is likeably hapless and Nic Cage is at his bizarro best as the deeply damaged Big Daddy. But it's pre-teen Chloe Moretz as the foul-mouthed, ass-kicking Hit Girl who steals the show. (Maple)