Stars: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Genre: Action, Dark Comedy
We've been conditioned to the same formula for comic book superheroes ever since Clark Kent ducked into that phone booth, donned those form-fitting tights, and went out to kick some ass. So when a comic-adaptation film like Kick Ass comes along where this nerdy kid gets a mail-order superhero costume, hits the streets to engage the bad guys, only to discover that he has no latent super-normal abilities and is running only on bravado--and, of course, sheer stupidity--we keep expecting SOMETHING to kick in to give him an edge when some truly bad dudes start mopping the floor with his sorry ass. This endears him to us all the more, because he's just like most of us everyday stiffs who are trying to live an honorable life and are appalled by some of the stuff that goes down in the world (only his cojones are bigger than most!)
When his exploits make the headlines, Kick Ass--which is what hapless teen Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) has dubbed his alter-ego-- spawns a couple of more effective caped crusaders in the dad/daughter duo of Hit Girl, (Chloe Moretz) and her somewhat off-kilter father, Big Daddy, (Nicholas Cage) who come to bail Kick-Ass out when he has drawn the attention and the ire of ruthless crime syndicate boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong).
The violence and the splatter-gore of Kick-Ass (based on the comic by Mark Millar) can only be described as cartoonish--it's so over the top it makes Sam Peckinpah look like Walt Disney, and can't be taken seriously. And yet, one could make a case that it's just one more milestone on the to-hell-in-a-hand-basket road of numbness and moral decay our society is headed down.
Another controversy-sparking milestone in Kick-Ass has to be what comes out of 11-year old Chloe Moretz's mouth--and yet she's adorable as Hit Girl, even when the F-bombs and other choice epithets begin to fly. After a while it occurred to me that yeah, that IS the way eleven-year olds (and younger) talk. Anyone who doesn't believe it hasn't listened to the kids who pile off the school bus in front of my house on a daily basis.
Despite all that, Kick-Ass is a movie that will bring out the latent superhero in you...all you'll have to do is decide which silly looking costume to wear.
Grade: B +