Skip to main content

Review: Kick-Ass

After attending a screening of Matthew Vaughn's film, was surprised how badly this film played to me. I fit the main demographic Kick-Ass is aimed at (under 25 male, superhero enthusiast) and despite that everyone else at the screening really seemed to enjoy Kick-Ass. I wouldn't have written anything about the film, except the general theme of reviews seems to be that this is Pulp Fiction meets Spider-man. While it could be argued that the film is fun, it isn't up to par with a Batman Begins, or Iron Man.

The story starts off with a voice-over narration of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as the overlooked high-school student who decides that becoming a superhero in this day and age can be achieved. He dons the suit and mask of Kick-Ass and the story goes on. Unfortunately for Kick-Ass he discovers that he isn't even the most qualified vigilante on the streets and is soon outshined by the foul-mouthed and probably deranged Hit-Girl (Chloe Moritz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, doing his best Adam West impersonation).

Red Mist also makes an appearance (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) but he's definitely not my cup of tea - in any of his roles.

Now, walking into a film called Kick-Ass you expect some extreme action, and or violence. Beheadings, shotgun blasts to the face, etc. But when Kick-Ass and Big Daddy end up in a bad way, that is really unpleasant to watch, it becomes too much. If you watched No Country for Old Men and thought, "Why is this Anton Chigurh guy such a choir boy? He should act with some malice!" then this scene with head mobster Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong) might be your cup of tea. Anyone else, however, will probably be disgusted.

But there are two things going for it: Chloe Moritz and Nicolas Cage. Hit-Girl is an interesting take on why a sidekick becomes a sidekick, but ultimately it's just funny to watch a twelve year old girl kick the asses of low-life thugs. Nicolas Cage looks like he's finally found some career resurgence with this and the Bad Lieutenant reimagining, hopefully this career transition manages to last past Sorcerer's Apprentice and Season of the Witch. Cage, an avid comic-book aficionado  got his chance to play a decent superhero - no, I'm not counting Ghost Rider.

I didn't hate this film (violence against children aside), but it just doesn't seem to have that spark that most comic book films have. If you want a subversive film that skews the conventions of a comic-book film rent Defendor instead.


Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…