Saturday, April 17, 2010
A Few Reluctant Thoughts on Kick-Ass
Why reluctant? Because I'm not sure this movie deserves even a few thoughts.
The preview makes it look like a PG-13 teen action comedy. Then I noticed its R rating. As soon as a gangster snips off a suspected stool-pigeon’s finger with huge clippers, I knew I was in for a bloodbath.
Once again, we get the slow-mo shooting and martial arts sprees of The Matrix, whose style spawned an epidemic that just won’t quit. Here the twist is that most of the super-killing is done by “superhero” Hit-Girl/ Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz), an 11-year-old girl raised for revenge by her ex-cop father Damon/ Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage). She wields lance, throwing knives attached to string for easy retrieval, all sorts of guns, and her fists. She appears in school-girl’s plaid skirt and white blouse and shoots guards with a silencer. She slaughters many, and as she impales her enemies or goes for effortless head shots as she somersaults through the air, as her face gets bloodied in fisticuffs, there is something disturbingly obscene about the whole thing.
The film promises some potential working as the Superbad of teen superhero movies, with Aaron Johnson as likable dufus-faced Dave Lizewski, an invisible nobody comic-book nerd, who dreams of getting the girl, who responds to life’s injustices by donning a silly green superhero suit and going out to stand up for justice. A severe beating destroys his nerve endings and leads to metal replacements for many of his bones. Thus, as he continues building his reputation as super-boy “Kick-Ass,” he is able to suffer super beatings though he can’t quite deliver super beatings of his own.
But the focus on Kick-Ass is sidetracked by the vengeance tale of ex-cop Damon Macready (Nicolas Cage), who trains his cute little daughter to wield every kind of weapon in revenge against scum-bucket Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his crime ring. Once the film stages tired, unimaginative action sequences echoing The Matrix and Kill Bill, Vol. 1, the movie lost me, and all you’re left with is little Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl wreaking endless bloody havoc, and Nicolas Cage as superhero Big Daddy, dressed in Batman costume and doing an imitation of Adam West’s stilted delivery that is nothing but annoying.
If you never get tired of slow-mo gun battles reminiscent of The Matrix, or you want to see an 11-year-old girl shoot people in the head, this is the movie for you.