Kick-Ass (2010)

Kick-Ass is fantastic. It is fun, kinetic, rude, bloody, incredibly violent and slyly humorous throughout. Watch it.

Dave Lizewski is a geek. Flanked by two nerdy friends and having no hope of ever getting a girlfriend, he fantasizes about being a superhero. Not just to get a girl, but because he sees the injustice in the world, and hates everyone’s ambivalence towards it. Donning a green wetsuit, he decides to deal out his own brand of street justice… only to find himself an accidental internet sensation. Across the city, however, crime lord Frank D’Amico believes it’s Kick-Ass who is responsible for his recently botched drug-deals, and sets about to kill him.…

Kick-Ass is thrilling. The dialogue is snappy, the characters compelling and the moments of violence are so gleefully extreme it requires an instant re-watch. It is, however, very violent. Not slap-stick kapow! violent, but actually violent. People are beaten viciously, legs are sliced clean off, bullets are shot directly into the top of people’s heads, a man is thrown into a giant microwave. It’s manic, bloody stuff, but always entertaining and never too grotesque. The soundtrack really adds to the mayhem, ensuring you’re smiling broadly through nearly every piece of carnage.

There is one thing in Kick-Ass, however, that everyone will talk about – Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. Well, mainly Hit-Girl. Played superbly by Chloe Moretz, Hit-Girl is the foul-mouthed daughter of wronged policeman Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage), who is on a mission to destroy Frank D’Amico’s empire one unfortunate bong-holding goon at a time. They quickly find that Kick-Ass is taking the blame for their “hard work” and decide to team up with him, and that’s when Kick-Ass realizes that fighting crime involves a lot more than just a few nasty bruises…

Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl is great fun. Trained by her father to be a ruthless killer, she runs up walls, fires pistols and knows more about knives than the Swiss Army. Only thirteen, Moretz plays her perfectly, with a mixture of childish amusement and a constant desperation to please her dad. Nicholas Cage is – shockingly – great as Big Daddy. Clearly emotionally damaged by his wife’s death, his vendetta against D’Amico knows no bounds, and Cage shows an emotional depth we rarely see from him nowadays.

And there are moments of surprise like this throughout the film, from Hit-Girl’s brutal first encounter to Big Daddy’s flaming live webstream, and it’s this lack of cliché that really makes Kick-Ass shine. Of course, there’s a love interest, there’s a betrayal, there’s a psycho gangland boss with hundreds of dumb thugs, there’s the corrupt police chief and the oblivious father – a hundred things that should be clichéd, but somehow aren’t. It’s because Vaughn and Goldman expertly weave them into the plot with a tongue firmly planted in a bullet-ridden cheek, so much so that they become a brilliant additional to a simple, smart premise.

Aaron Johnson does very well as Kick-Ass to hold the film together – being the audience’s focal point for our confused looks, bewilderment and horrified expressions at the murdering insanity unleashed around him. He is vulnerable and believable, and despite the slightly mad-capped performances surrounding him, he grounds the movie solidly.

The supporting cast also do fantastically well in helping create the world of Kick-Ass. Gangsters, school nerds, low-level thugs and even hit-and-run car drivers are memorable when in other films they’d be instantly forgotten. There is a plethora of quality British talent dotting the cast list too – Kick-Ass himself is played by High Wycombe-born Aaron Johnson, while Jason Flemyng, Tamer Hassan and the ever-dependable Dexter Fletcher beef up the New York mafia, led by London’s own Mark Strong as Frank D’Amico.

Brit Matthew Vaughn has had a solid track record in regards to films – he was producer on Lock Stock, Snatch and Harry Brown and director of Layer Cake and Stardust, and his British roots and quick-sharp quipperies continue to impress within Kick-Ass. The dialogue is excellent, giving tiny characters the chance to shine before being shot, stabbed, blown up or horribly crushed to death.

It is a visual treat throughout, funny and essentially always watchable. There are moments of genuine sadness, of wincingly painful deaths and of laugh-out-loud hilarity. It is simply very, very exciting.

Kick-Ass is brilliant fun. Brutal, funny, clever and silly in equal measure, the performances are quality, the soundtrack is excellent and the bit with Dexter Fletcher in a car crusher is hilariously cruel. Watch this film.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

One Comment on “Kick-Ass”

  1. Rag says:

    This is a GREAT film!!! And if I had a daughter, I’d want it to be Hit Girl. Does that make me a bad person?

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