• Kick-Ass


    (Watched this via Netflix streaming - NB)

    Kids in movies typically exist in a precarious situation: They’re either used purely as motivational staples (“I must save my family!”) or for hoisting all of the adult problems and fixes upon (kids talking like screenwriters instead of kids) or pretty much exploitational (“Get it? It’s a kid doing it this time!”). In the hands of a hack comic writer like Mark Millar - seriously, how does this guy get work? - it falls heavily into that final categorization in Kick-Ass. Fortunately, it’s saved by some decent acting and fast-paced directing.

    Kick-Ass is the name donned by the main character (Aaron Johnson) as he seeks to find some kind of meaningful outlet for his teenage angst beyond masturbation and comic books. After a helluva learning curve he’s captured on video fighting for someone. His popularity soars (his MySpace page has mad hitz!) and he comes to the attention of both sides of the crimefighting world. Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, appropriately goofy here) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) are a father-daughter team of crimefighters bent on bringing down crime kingpin Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong, good but why the American accent?). They take a bit of a liking to the gutsy Kick-Ass and end up enlisting his help in their quest.

    Things go bad quickly, though, and the introduction of Red Mist (Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse) doesn’t help. The story muddles a bit as it clearly waits around for the action to kick back in continuously. A hammy love story of geek-gets-girl just clogs all the storytelling machinery, grinding the film to a halt. But, finally, you get two big action scenes that are pretty darn well done at the end as both sides strike devastating blows against each other.

    The jewel of the film - beyond Nic Cage finally getting to do Batman, basically - is Moretz as Hit Girl. She carries the film much more than is probably intended by being playful and resolute. She’s also quite a bit more bloody and violent than most would probably expect. That helps soften the blow a bit, actually, when viewing her character as a too-smart-for-a-12-year-old smart alec. She (and Red Mist, too) gets to overwhelm the film and that’s too its credit - otherwise, the story is pretty stale and the “Hey look - a little girl’s saying naughty words and stabbing people!” stupidity would have overtaken instead. The action’s pretty good, though, and the editing on display is top-notch, helping speed along or cover up slow points in the storytelling, for certain.

    Rating: B
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I watched this tonight and the one saving grace was Hit Girl. I really dug how she was a cold killer. She was great. The rest...meh. Entertaining enough and full of violence (although cartoon blood) and good acting. I could watch it again someday.