Film Review: "Kick Ass"

(Lionsgate. 1 hour, 53 minutes. Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use - some involving children. Directed by Matthew Vaughn.) Aaron Johnson (Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Chris D'Amico/Red Mist), Mark Strong (Frank D'Amico), Chloe Moretz (Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl), Nicolas Cage (Damon Macready/Big Daddy). Music by Marius De Vries, Ilan Eshkeri, Henry Jackman & John Murphy.
Based on a comic by Mark Millar (Wanted), Kick-Ass follows Dave (Johnson), a geeky high schooler who decides to don a scuba suit and fight crime under the name "Kick-Ass." After his exploits go viral online, he gets dragged into a battle between the brutal father-daughter team of Damon and Mindy Macready (a.k.a Big-Daddy and Hit-Girl, or Cage and Moretz), and sadistic mobster Frank D'Amico (Strong) and his son Chris (Mintz-Plasse). A superhero-action/comedy that lives up to the name.

While the comic has a much darker tone, Kick-Ass wears its costume with a manic, infectious glee. The story is effective not only because of the cliches it skewers (such as Kick-Ass's lack of a dramatic origin), but in how it portrays the usually unseen parts of the superhero experience: the beatings, the deaths and the abject failures. Johnson does a great job in bringing humanity and charisma to Dave/Kick-Ass, and even pathos as he gets further out of his depth, but he never devolves to cynicism. The duo of Nicolas Cage (doing his best Adam-West-Batman impression) and the adorable-yet-terrifying Chloe Moretz steals their every scene. Her action sequences are amazing, but also a little unsettling, watching an 11-year-old deal death so readily. That will probably be a sticking point for some (along with the language and overall gruesomeness of the violence), but there's a lot of heart to balance it out. Definitely not for kids or the faint of heart, but a fun time at the movies.
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Jared Counts

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Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies...