DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
KICK-ASS (director/writer: Matthew Vaughn; screenwriters: Jane Goldman/based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.; cinematographer: Ben Davis; editor: Jon Harris/Pietro Scalia/Eddie Hamilton; music: John Murphy/Henry Jackman/Marius De Vries/Ilan Eshkeri; cast: Aaron Johnson (Dave Lizewski/ Kick-Ass), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Chris D’Amico/Red Mist), Mark Strong (Frank D’Amico), Chloë Grace Moretz (Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl), Omari Hardwick (Sgt.Marcus Williams), Xander Berkeley (Detective Gigante), Michael Rispoli (Big Joe), Nicolas Cage (Damon Macready/Big Daddy), Lyndsy Fonseca (Katie), Evan Peters (Todd), Clark Duke (Marty), Garrett M. Brown (Mr. Lizewski); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mr. Vaughn/Brad Pitt/ris Thykier/Adam Bohling/Tarquin Pack/David Reid; Lionsgate; 2010)

 
"The longer it goes on, the more revolting it becomes."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

Brit filmmaker Matthew Vaughn ("Stardust"/"Layer Cake") directs and cowrites with Jane Goldman one of the more morally revolting 'revenge of the nerd' teen films, that's based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The longer it goes on, the more revolting it becomes.

New York high school student geek 
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson, British actor) asks himself "How come nobody's ever tried to be a superhero?" With that the bullied and often mugged kid and avid comic-book fan puts on a green-and-yellow wet-suit superhero costume and takes the name Kick-Ass. Despite being ineffective on his first vigilante mission and winding up in the hospital after being stabbed and hit by a vehicle, he tries the caped crusader thing again and is captured on a cell-phone cam of preventing three thugs from beating a helpless guy on the sidewalk while no one in the gathering crowd helps or calls the police. Dave becomes the darling of the media thanks to MySpace and YouTube, when the video is uploaded on the Internet. This brings Kick-Ass into contact with effective superheroes, father-and-daughter vigilante team Big Daddy and Hit Girl (Nicolas Cage and Chloë Moretz)--with him sporting in action a Batman costume and his daughter a cape, mask and purple wig. Dad is a former hero cop framed for drug possession by drug lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and sent to jail for five years. When he gets out his wife died (which he blames on the drug lord) and Big Daddy obsessively raises his 11-year-old daughter to aid him in taking down the powerful crime boss. The mafia boss's nerdy son Chris also gets into the superhero game, taking the name Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), to curry favor with his dad in his quest to stop the other superheroes from bringing dad down.

Throughout the film t
he theme song of The Banana Splits plays while Hit Girl uses her birthday gift from dad, a butterfly knife, to slice the bad dudes. It leads to the climactic scene when the feisty little girl does her superhero thing and confronts a building filled with heavily armed thugs and dispatches all of them by shooting, stabbing and kicking them all to death.

The exploitative shocker gets its kicks as a satire on the Spider-Man comic book film and on the Tarantino martial art/pop culture films (as it embraces wholeheartedly the superhero convention while seemingly mocking it). It runs to nowhere with its fantasy tale of a repressed high school wimp who thrives on his super alter ego to get the pretty girl (Lyndsy Fonseca) and become famous. The Batman-like talking Cage and the foul-mouthed Moretz have a good comedy routine going in between all the gruesome violence, which is about all the titillating wit this reprehensible film can muster. 

REVIEWED ON 4/16/2010       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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