Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass
Starring:
Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong


Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: April 16, 2010 Released by: Lions Gate Films

This above-average action movie is an edgy unconventional ride when it comes to the idea of being a superhero, giving a little more meaning to putting one's life on the line.

Kick-Ass features Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, and Mark Strong and is the kind of film that provide a challenges for cineplex staff against under-age high schoolers.

Director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layer Cake) confidently directs and co-writes with Jane Goldman a tale that will easy appeal to comic-book fanboys like Johnson's reticient Manhattan teen Dave Lizewski. Their "interpretation", an adaptation of an on-going comic-book has a snarky, spry quality about it that lives up to its title in ways that would make folks like Quentin Tarantino smile.

Dave's secret obsession is to become an actual superhero even if (on the surface being kind of invisible to girls) he has no extraordinary abilities wanting to be able to standup for someone. He's not the cool guy or nerdy, just an average Joe with a crush on a sweetie (Lyndsy Fonseca). He develops a titular alias after ordering a greenish-yellow scuba suit on-line trying to be a person of significance. His first attempt into this line of work results quickly in physically diminishing returns.

Some of the originality in the story wrangling comes from the perception of what Dave is doing, catching the fancy of a city glued to viral video sources like YouTube. Crime syndicate boss Frank (Strong of Sherlock Holmes) sees Dave's new alter-ego as more than a nuisance. He helps his son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Dave's classmate, counter as "Red Mist". All the while, the gangster's problems are really due to Damon (Cage) who has helped transform his 12-year-old daughter Mindy (Moretz of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and 500 Days of Summer) into a lissome, lethal presence.

Kick-Ass gets off on a certain instant subversiveness, weirdly refreshing in its visual palette of a decidedly less refined production. It has an off-color pungency that may end up as a gratuitous blemish for some as the twisted entertainment rushes to its high point.

Vaughn brazenly adjusts the comfort level for his performers to amuse in this gleeful politically-incorrect foray. Johnson (who appeared in The Illusionist), a maturing British actor, is believable as the empowered everyday teenager. Cage, so good in the recent Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans essays a credibly comical portrait through his Adam West-like "Big Daddy" while Mintz-Plasse and Strong play noticeably well off of their respective heavy, geeky personas. Yet, it's clear that for all of the surprises and over-the-top violence, Moretz's sinfully snappy Mindy and "Hit Girl" helps make it more of a high-octane pleasure than a turn-off.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Kick-Ass  B      B            B-      B 

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