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Early Fan Review: Kick-Ass


To be clear, I have not seen KICK-ASS yet. This is NOT my review of KICK-ASS. One of our intrepid readers, who asked to be called Leon McClane (??), saw the film recently and sent in this review. I just want to make clear that I didn't write it because the last time I ran an early review, I wound up getting quoted in the ad campaign for a movie I hadn't even seen, let alone reviewed...

But Mr. McClane DID see KICK-ASS and he wants to share his thoughts with you. I thought I'd share them because he saw the film outside of the now legendary BNAT screening in Austin where the audience went ape shit. I was curious if it's playing that strongly across the board and, from the sounds of things, it most certainly is. Check out the review (which has some mild spoilers) below!


Before I begin this review I should mention that, unlike most every other advance screening I’ve attended, before presenting Kick-Ass, the studio asked us to sign no non-disclosure agreements going in, and made us fill out no survey before heading out. Even stranger, the film was not yet complete; a few VFX shots weren't done, and several very recognizable temp tracks substituted as the score, as the music had not yet been composed. And yet, the studio boldly believed they could show their film to a general audience. If that’s not a vote of confidence, I don’t know what is. So did the film boast the same giant-sized balls that its producers did?

Abso-frickin-lutely! And then some.

I’ve never read this comic, but I get the feeling it’s a pretty faithful adaptation, as it's clear straight away that a lot of passion and dedication were required to make this film what it is. There is little about Kick-Ass that’s easy to summarize (in this case that’s a good thing), but I’ll try my best. One half of the plot plays out like a younger, more lighthearted Watchmen, with none of our heroes or villains possessing any kind of real superpowers. In fact, imagine the kids from Superbad deciding to become crimefighters and you’ve got half the characters in this film (though Christopher Mintz-Plasse is a tad under-utilized here). I really admired the film taking a [somewhat] realistic approach to what would happen if a dorky teenager decided to become a superhero, while not forgetting that this was at heart an action movie that needed to deliver what us superhero fans crave. Relative unknown Aaron Johnson is certainly serviceable in the titular role and brings the funny at times, but by no means was he one of the more memorable superhero characters I've seen. The same can be said for Mark Strong as the film’s gangster villain (making a name for himself as the new go-to baddie of late). He's menacing when he needs to be, but never quite steals the show.

The other half of the plot, where most of the actual ass-kickery goes down, is left in the capable hands of Nic Cage- absolutely perfect here as Big Daddy- and his daughter Hit-girl, played by incredibly-wise-beyond-her-years up-and-comer Chloe Moretz. Her character steals the show every time she graces the screen, mercilessly spewing F-bombs and slaying bad guys with equal ease and pleasure. Director Matthew Vaughn orchestrates a refreshingly original dynamic between Cage and his onscreen daughter, one that’s at times hilarious at other points heartwarming and sincere. It's this deft balance between quirkiness and reality that makes the film stand shoulders above most of its predecessors.

This film, though featuring a cast of teens and tweens, is certainly not the next Sky High or Zoom- and thank God for that! Huge, huge props to the producers, who are clearly comfortable with the hard R rating they’ll be getting. The healthy dose of blood, foul language, and just plain immorality really upped the fun factor and allowed for some of the film’s finest moments. This is NOT the kind of movie where the bad guy gets beat up, taught his lesson, and then neatly tied to a light pole for the cops to come take them away. You commit a crime, you get a trip to the cemetery in the world of Kick-Ass. All that said, this is not a pulpy or FX-heavy affair in the vein of Sin City. These characters live in our world and there is genuine emotion and plenty of realistic storylines amongst the dark comedy and comic book action. In fact, Vaughn pulls off something truly rare here, getting us emotionally invested in the action scenes.

It’s clear from watching these segments that the limited budget only helped fuel the action, as the shortage of funds forced the filmmakers to get more creative with their choreography (I can think of a few big name action directors who should be taking notes). Instead of explosions and car chases, we get inventive camera angles and wickedly creative killing methods, and on more than one occasion, I was genuinely nervous for our heroes and totally unsure if they were going to make it out of each scene alive. The audience shared similar sentiments as the theatre routinely erupted in applause.

I could go on longer, but I think I’ve gotten my point across. Before the rest of the critics get their crack at this way-too-easy pun, let me take the easy way out and be the first to say that Kick-Ass is an absurdly appropriate title- this flick kicks ass (and brings laughs) in spades.

My rating: 9/10





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10:44AM on 01/21/2010
I cant stop watching the red band & the latest trailer. I just keep playing it over and over.
I cant stop watching the red band & the latest trailer. I just keep playing it over and over.
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3:30PM on 01/19/2010


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