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Kick-Ass (2010)

Having no expectations AT ALL for this super-violent super-hero spoof, I found myself cackling with shock and delight from the opening scene of Kick-Ass.
Our Rating

Genre(s): Action, Comedy, Crime

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Actors: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage

Year: 2010

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

Imagine a world, much like our own, where people love super-heroes, but, well, super-powers don’t exist. Sounds like reality, doesn’t it? In the opening scene, a super-hero with metal wings takes a glorious swandive from a skyscraper, and crashes to his death on a taxi cab far below in front of a crowd of wincing spectators. Yes, I could believe in THAT reality.

A nerdy comic book fan named Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) discusses with his nerdy high school buddies that it IS a crying shame that there are no superheros. But, hey, Batman didn’t have extraordinary powers—he just had a lot of money. Dave can’t understand why no one has actually tried to become a real-life superhero. Next thing you know, Dave has ordered what looks like a green wetsuit and mask, dons yellow gloves and Carhartt boots, and becomes… Kick-Ass! Being a nerd and all, it doesn’t take long for Kick-Ass to get his ass kicked, but one crime intervention gets him You-Tubed, then on the news. Next thing you know, Kick-Ass is all over the media.

Meanwhile, there ARE bad guys out there, in the guise of a mafia kingpin (Mark Strong) who has a dorky son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) eager to join the trade, and is being heckled by REAL mysterious superheros. Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his 11-year-old daughter Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) are doing the real ass-kicking against organized crime. And let me just throw this in there, Kick-Ass is really violent! This is one of those movies where someone gets squished in a junkyard trash compactor and explodes like a bag of blood (ew!) and bad guys are shot left and right in the most creative ways this side of Tarantino.

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again: For goodness sakes, Kick-Ass is rated R for a reason! This is NOT your children’s super-hero movie! But, if you are an adult and can handle the guts, gore, and violence… oh my gosh, Kick-Ass is really really funny. There were several moments of the film where the audience gasped in shock, then howled with delight. But there are also moments that are genuinely disturbing. For instance, if you don’t want to see a little girl–even a super-hero ass-kicking little girl–get hit and kicked by a grown man, well, this isn’t the movie for you.

But, if you laugh at little girls with foul mouths and violent motives (Chloë Grace Moretz is GREAT), and if you remember when Nic Cage was funny (and he IS funny), you’ll love Hit-Girl and Big Daddy. And who is this kid Aaron Johnson? I’ve never seen him before, but now he was in two brand-new movies I saw in the same week, in the forgettable but well-meaning drama The Greatest, and now headlining as the title character in this crazy film. It was refreshing to meet an unknown in this role, and Johnson is charming, scrappy, and completely believable as a kid way over his head in the world of crimefighting.

I have to say, this was the most pleasantly surprised I’ve been at a movie in a long time. I left the screening with a big old grin on my face, still chuckling and shaking my head. If you enjoy subversive, twisted humor that targets our culture’s obsession with crimefighters, then Kick-Ass is the movie for you.

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