Tuesday night the 15th, I went out to the budget cinemas with Henry
Osier to see "Kick-Ass", the comic-based film about a normal young man
who decides to become a costumed hero and fight crime on the streets of
New York. (Georgie passed on seeing it, correctly estimating that the
"wince factor" would exceed her comfort level.) The rather extreme
violence level aside, we found it a very clever movie with an
interesting and intricate plot, and a storyline that is full of
allusions to both the comics and the crime movies that inspired it.
There is also nicely allusive sound track, that includes music from both
Saturday morning kid's shows and Sergio Leone westerns, as appropriate.
As a world, it lies somewhere between "Mystery Men" and the Hill Street
Blues "Captain Freedom" storyline, informed by the exploits of real-life
superheroes like those found on the World Superhero Registry.
(Apparently Milwaukee has or had a couple of costumed heroes, known as
"The Watchman" and "MoonDragon".)
There was good acting on the part of the mostly-young cast, including
Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass ; Lyndsy Fonseca as Katie
Deauxma, Dave's love interest; Clark Duke and Evan Peters as Dave's
comic-geek friends; and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico / Red
Mist, the son of mob boss Frank D'Amico.
However, the major scene-stealer in the film is Chloe Moretz as Mindy
Macready / Hit-Girl, ably supported by Nicholas Cage as "Big Daddy," her
revenge-obsessed father and mentor. Cage has the bright-eyed fanaticism
I associate with Libertarian survivalists anticipating the fall of the
state, or Triumphalist Christians contemplating the Rapture. Instead,
his goal is the downfall of drug lord D'Amico, the man who destroyed his
career and brought about the death of his wife. "Hit Girl" is a rather
horrifying creation, viewed soberly, a child soldier drafted into her
father's crusade, but on-screen she's so over the top she is amusing, if
frequently shocking. It is only when she is down, apparently alone and
at the mercy of villain D'Amico, and you see pain on her child's face,
that it gets truly disturbing.
Mark Strong, currently one of moviedom's favorite villain actors, plays
Frank D'Amico with a hair-trigger vicious intensity that makes him a
formidable foe for the "good guys".
Comic book background aside, this is definitely a movie for mature
viewers: besides the violence level and body count, there is quite a bit
of bad language (some of it from "Hit Girl"), and some implied sex. If
you can deal with that, it is an enjoyable movie and would be
recommended if you liked "Mystery Men," or "The Watchmen".