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Kick Ass: An Incompetent (Not So) Super Hero
A blender of heroes, comics and fighting vice, Kick Ass is both a classically assembled superhero film and a breath of fresh air. The film tackles the question that has long daunted comic book nerds: what if an ordinary person actually put on a costume and become a street-fighting vigilante? The film’s answer is: it’s going to hurt them. And while Kick Ass takes the same old route to reach that conclusion, it makes the most exhilarating stops along the way.
Dave Lizewski (Johnson) is a school kid fighting demons like any incubating superhero: inferiority complexes, demeaning encounters with the school bullies, and the holy grail of superhero angst; the unattainable girl. Lizewski has no superpowers, and rest assured; he’s not going to fall into a pot of toxic chemical and gain supernatural abilities. What Lizewski opts for is a scenario of less life-threatening theatrics; so he orders a spandex suit online and starts his intensive training. He calls himself Kick Ass.
As the film moves ahead, the story outgrows the realistic setting and enters the realm of cartoonish fantasy. Kick Ass soon finds a villain (Strong), and he joins forces with the amazing father and daughter team of Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit Girl (Moretz), who end up stealing the show and doing most of the ass-kicking.
Kick Ass boasts some of the most creatively choreographed fight scenes ever, combining tight showmanship with undeniable fun. The spastic music and the glistening images all amplify the roaring punch of the set pieces, making the film’s two-hour running time fly by until the obligatory showdown, where Kick Ass starts to show faint signs of fatigue.
Fans of Nicolas Cage will appreciate his turn as Big Daddy; his finest and loudest performance in ages. However, the biggest standout in Kick Ass is Chloë Moretz’s portrayal of Hit Girl; a foul-mouthed, pig-tailed death machine that will leave you in complete awe. This little girl not only slices and dices every man on screen, she annihilates any language boundaries that Tarantino may have left behind.
They would try anything as if they had no fear of failure. They weren’t afraid of screwing up because the process and the act of creation were the important parts; if the product ended up sucking it was no big deal because they’d already be at work on the next piece. At least that’s the vibe that the documentary gives off. It also helps that the modern day, grown-up No Wavers seem every bit as cool as they did back then.
The actors play their parts dead-pan and watching those serious faces cursing at each other and arguing in over-the-top English accents while clad in medieval costumes somehow doesn’t lose its novelty. You get the feeling that Your Highness was an experiment in seeing just how much the filmmaker could get away with.
In addition to this, McBride’s character Thadeous is a hopeless sexist but his ignorance is presented in such a way that keeps the film light and funny as opposed to hideously offensive.
Acting-wise, some of the best parts of the film take place between Franco and McBride. While the main cast do a good job, the two brothers were given the most to work with seeing as how the film, at its core, is about their fractious relationship. The interaction between Franco’s over achieving, perfect, heroic Fabious and McBride’s immature, lazy, weed-smoking Thadeous provides the film’s heart.
However, Theroux’s villainous warlock Leezar steals the show. From his Blade Runner-inspired hairstyle to his eyeliner and awful teeth, he oozes this combination of smarminess, cockiness, self-entitlement and delusions of grandeur, making for a magnetic and highly entertaining villain.
This is an enjoyable film, but this reviewer found the memories of it upon finishing rather hazy, which is quite a feat considering the amount of weird stuff that takes place and considering just how beautifully shot the film is. The costumes are gorgeous, the stunts and sword fights are really well done and the special effects are rather impressive. Individually, there are a lot of things to like about the film but in the end, they just don’t all add up.