Saturday, 10 April 2010


Universal Pictures
Now Showing

Why hasn't anyone tried to become a superhero? After all, Batman has no superpowers, he's just a rich guy with a lot of hi-tech gadgets. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson, totally unrecognisable as the young John Lennon from last year's Nowhere Boy) thinks he, too, can be a hero and, after ordering a scuba suit online, dons said apparel and takes to the streets to right some wrongs.

But the high schooler has his ass well and truly kicked, not to mention a knife wound to the stomach. A stint in hospital does nothing to quench Dave's desire to dispense some vigilante justice and when a much more successful run-in with a group of bad guys is captured on a cell phone and uploaded to YouTube, Dave, or rather, Kick-Ass, his superhero non de plume, becomes a sensation.

Less impressed is organised crime boss, Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong), who believes Kick-Ass is responsible for the recent disruptions to his business. He wants to put a stop to this upstart and his eager-to-impress son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, McLovin' of Superbad (2007) fame), thinks he can lure Kick-Ass in by himself becoming a superhero, Red Mist.

But D'Amico's woes are actually down to another vigilante, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage). Big Daddy, whose costume resembles a Batman fallen on hard times, as though even Bruce Wayne were not immune to the global financial crisis, is a disgraced former cop. Seeking revenge for the death of his wife, he's raised his daughter, Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz), who goes by the moniker Hit-Girl, to use firearms, wield a samurai sword and, unlike Dave, seriously kick ass.

It is this element of the film, where 11-year-old Hit-Girl maims, dismembers and dispatches the bad guys with an arsenal of weapons and a potty mouth, that has angered some. They believe that the presence of an 11-year-old, and the film's comic book roots, misleadingly suggests the film is for kids. Bullshit. The MA15+ rating strongly implies it is not.

Whether the result of a lazy media trying to beat-up a non-existent controversy, or lazy parents who would rather shift the responsibility of parenting onto some other entity (perhaps a combination of the two), Kick-Ass and its creators, including director Matthew Vaughan, do not disguise the film's violent elements. Anyone who has seen the film's trailer (or the rating!) would be well aware this film is not suitable for anyone 12 and under.

Teenagers may be desperate to see it but they'll have to be accompanied by an adult and that adult has no right to complain, on behalf of the adolescent's innocence, should they not like what they see.

What you'll see if you go along to Kick-Ass, and I highly recommend that you do, is a smart, funny and, yes, bloody violent film. One of the best of the year so far.

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