Monday, May 24, 2010

A Review: Kick Ass (Yes, I know it's a little late in the game, get off me)

"...To go to Marvel's B and C-list characters and try to get movies out about them – what's the point of that?"
                                                                         --Mark Miller (Writer of the Kick Ass comic book series)

My review on Kick Ass. Which, while serving up a whole slue of things, also, kicks much ass suckas...

The rights to this film were sold before the first issue was even published. Miller was writing the comic book the same time his friend, Matt Vaughn was writing the script with his unbelievably hot wife and producer (and model) Jane Goldman. Miller met him at a premier for Vaughn's earlier film, Stardust. They both agreed the pitch from Miller was too good to pass up.

Dave Lizewski (Johnson), is a high school student, who, for no real excuse besides providing the reason the story exists, orders a costume on Ebay and becomes a crime fighter. He ends up getting beaten, stabbed and run over a by a car--nearly dying. Which creates an escape from his zero super-hero training to avoid getting hit by dangerous blows. The damage done, after surgery, provides him with a lot of nerve-ending damage and metal implants. Referring to himself as "fuckin' Wolverine".

Hit Girl and Big Daddy (Moretz and Cage) are not met until a few minutes go by in the movie. Though when we do meet them, Daddy is pointing a gun point-bank at Mindy and giving her a pep talk, some of which goes like this: 
"With a bullet proof vest on, it should only feel like a punch to the chest honey."
He then promptly yanks the trigger back and fires a bullet straight into her chest. They are sweet to each other, but don't hug and kiss. They slap each other five. They talk with love and family values in there voices, but they don't get too gushy. It's just to keep things light and civilized in between cleaning guns and slaughtering criminals. And make no mistake, these two, slaughter. There's something to be said about this film. The times where we see Red Mist and Kick Ass talking like nothing short of typical high schoolers, is a different and appreciated take on what it must be like, to be a "super" hero when you have regular things to say. And it was sorta goofy, giving me a smirk. Most times with super heroes, it's speeches about morality, or "I'm gonna get you!/You won't get away with this!" kinda stuff. Commands and threats to criminals and corrupt. 

But if it proves one thing, it's that's seeing "super" heroes spitting curse after curse, stabbing and shooting criminals to death--treating the whole experience like a video game "First to 100 points wins" kinda thing--isn't very cool. Especially when a 12 year old girl is dishing death out like telegrams, with no pity or regard for the ramifications of taking a life as easy as blowing your damn nose. But it was still very fantastic to witness, which was the point Miller and Vaughn set out to make. A funny, action movie about Average-Joe's becoming "super". Which means, it should be cool, and funny. And they found that balance. If you argue that, then you're just plum dumb, my son. 

In 2010, if you can't away with the content of this film, then why even bother trying to make anything else? But yes, of course, as comic reader myself, and long time super hero fan, Supe's do not kill. The whole point is to separate yourself from the "scum" who walk the streets doing just that. Not setting an example for more of them to follow your lead. A kill for a kill--in comics books--is not a "We're even" kinda thing.

Roger Ebert (who I follow closely and happen to agree with most of the time) called the film, "Morally reprehensible". There are a few areas, where he is mos def right. And he was mostly referring to Hit Girl and the trend she could set in the minds of others her age, or younger. He was nearly afraid for the moral virginity of the youth of America, exposed to this film and agreeing with it's principles. And he's right to be. Film and music figures, set the largest example for the people of this country next to politicians and athletes. The violence in this film, at many times, is completely unnecessary. But then, that was the point wasn't it? A self-regard/satirical outlook on the ridiculousness of how comic books allow themselves to get? Something like that at least. And of course... To also show extremely cool pieces of action. Which it most certainly delivered on.

Anyone who takes this film seriously, or doesn't get the tongue-in-cheek humor involved, missed the whole idea.

I reminded myself once or twice, this film, is a parody of sorts, over-stylizing the cliche's found in the superhero genre. Miller himself, is very good at poking fun, while always giving you quality. Though the quality of this film, while extremely debatable, is good. That's right, terrific. A very well made film, morality aside. Period. Argue that? Please? Matthew Vaughn, takes you from hilarity, to sadness, to vengeance, to thrills, and even chills at a few points. While never making the mistake of not "dropping the ball" with the humor. Black (albeit, the deepest part of space, black) humor is evident in every scene. But Vaughn did a good job, crafting emotions. That's right, emotions are pulled out of this. Fear, sadness, silliness and pride (and a little bit of gimmie-a-damn-break). He mos def knows what he's doing. This film, is a good set up for what we will see in X-Men: First Class. For which, after viewing this film, I am excited. There was almost no time wasted in between opening weekend and the announcement he was helming the next installment in X-Men universe. I was surprised at how dark, things got when they did. Loosing the constraints of this film should be a gift to Vaughn once he gets hands on First Class, dealing with the darkness of mutant life.

Miller, Vaughn, (and Pitt who co-produced with Vaughn--way to go Brad) and the stars, delivered something memorable, funny, pulse-pounding at times, and most certainly funny. This film is almost the first and only of it's kind. And it also happens to be good at the same time. So way to accomplish two feats. Moretz for one, sold her role, and proved what I always say: age is NO FACTOR in determining your value as an actor. She is already going places and will continue to.

Closing this off and borrowing from an IMDB user's comments, "Kick Ass kicked my ass". I tasted a little Tarantino, a little bit Casino meets Spider-Man and a few other things, that are entirely it's own. I'd love to see what this guy could shoot, if it had nothing to do with making a huge statement at the box office or please large crowds of young adults. This film brings more unique and rare elements to it. Our "suspension of disbelief" is stretched to the breaking point, but never exactly snaps in half with the information provided. (Welp... maybe once or twice) Giving us a most certain, hard R, and breaking a few rules in the process as well. But then again, that was the point wasn't it? Breaking rules after all, is what every vigilante has to do in order to dish out the justice, criminals deserve.

 So 3.5 outa 4 for this one son (Hand on the bible about it).

Munki Out.

1 comment:

  1. I liked your review. I fucking hated Kick-Ass. I get the tongue in cheekness. Fuckin still hated it. I think I was expecting WAY MORE. Don't hate.

    That little girl is moderately cute & her chemistry w/Cage is pretty awesome.

    I liked some of the choreography in the fight scenes, & I liked that little bitch's purple wig... oh also the song that they ripped from 28 days/weeks later when Cage is merc'ing all those fools in the warehouse.

    That is all I remember & I watched it like maybe 2 weeks ago. Suck my dick, Kick-Ass.