‘Kick Ass’ is a vulgar and violent visual treat

Masks, violence, and secret identities: it’s the latest ‘comic-book genre’ movie like you’ve never seen before. The highly anticipated “Kick Ass” is based on the comic of the same name and follows a ‘real life’ wannabe superhero as he tries to realise his fantasies.

The wannabe is played by Aaron Johnson, who is joined by Nicholas Cage and up and coming young actress Chloe Moretz. The film is directed by Matthew Vaughn, who produced of “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and directed “Layer Cake” – giving it a real gangster twist.


The highly anticipated movie "Kick Ass" comes from the director of "Layer Cake" Matthew Vaughn. Picture: Lionsgate

“Kick Ass” is full of references to superheroes. This starts with the opening scene, as a wannabe superhero jumps from a building while onlookers point up like in Superman films and comics.

From there the story follows schoolboy Dave Lizewski (Johnson), a comic-book lover who dreams of people in real life becoming a superhero. He takes this dream into his own hands, armed with a wet suit, a mask, and fighting sticks under the alias ‘Kick Ass’. Eventually, Kick Ass’s exploits are caught on camera-phone, uploaded to YouTube, and become a worldwide phenomenon.

However, he gets caught up with ‘Big Daddy’ (Cage) and ‘Hit Girl’ (Moretz) who are in a bloody feud with local gangster and drug-dealer Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). In an attempt to find and stop Kick Ass, who D’Amico mistakes for Big Daddy and Hit Girls’ actions, his son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), takes the superhero alias ‘Red Mist’ to befriend Kick Ass and lead D’Amico and his cronies to the superheroes who are meddling with their business.

“Kick Ass” has had a lot of promotion, receiving some great reviews and does not fail to deliver. The film is styled beautifully as a comic book with extreme angles and comic style graphics, capturing the comic-feel brilliantly. Later on we’re treated to a cel-shaded sequence to explain the back story to Big Daddy.

The gangster element comes through with the conventions of bad language, violence, and crime present throughout. There is also comedy and teen-romance with amusing comic shop scenes and with Lizewski’s attraction to school-mate Katie, who initially only befriends him on the pretence that he is gay.

There has been huge amounts of controversy concerning the character Hit Girl. She is possibly the most violent character in the film, has the crudest one-liners, and is played by a twelve-year-old girl.

Strong language and violence used by this young actress is prominent, but her character makes the film. The innocence coupled with deadly violence; the one-liners; the amazing choreography in her fight scenes. Without the bad language, no matter how wrong it is ethically, she wouldn’t be the great character that she is.

With similarities to “The Matrix” and “Kill Bill”, the fight scenes are spectacular in vision and sound. Each scene is waited for in anticipation and Johnson’s portrayal of the vulnerable Kick Ass is extremely believable and very well done.

“Kick Ass” is funny, action packed, and full of talent (a lot of it British). Perhaps children should stay clear due to the bad language and violence, but otherwise this is a great example of a film which will appeal to a wide ranging audience as there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Kick Ass = 8/10

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