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Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass is one of the most divisive pictures released in recent times, particularly on the topic of where people think the line should be drawn on what is allowed to be depicted. It is irreverent, extremely violent, and depicts things with a precocious 11 year-old girl that have absolutely never been seen before.

Telling the story of a teenage boy who ponders why nobody has ever tried to become a super hero, Kick-Ass races out of the gate with hilarious, cringe-inducing answers that only escalate in effect and bodily harm as he delves deeper into a world that, until now, has only existed on the pages of the comics he loves so much.

Based on the simultaneously developed comic of Scottish writer Mark Miller, this story is a true original. The characters are so very real that they immediately come to life for you. What makes this achievement even more astounding is the completely off the wall reality that they inhabit. You see things normal folk like us do and think and then see things no one could never imagine. This is a story where a father turns his daughter into a blood thirsty assassin with a potty mouth, and where a nobody teen inspires an entire city with his lofty ideals more than the skills he wishes he possessed. They are irresistible to watch: brilliant, violent, hopelessly insane people you can’t take your eyes off.

The entire cast from Nicholas Cage to titular hero Aaron Johnson are pitch perfect in their roles. But it is little Chloe Moretz that steals the show and is the source of most of the gasps and shudders from those who believe this film goes too far. Yes, she unfurls language that would make a prison whore gasp, and performs fight scenes that make Steven Segal films look like a Disney flick – but she’s very, very human and likable at the same time. No easy feat for anyone let alone a kid to pull off.

The action is frenetic, frequent, and extremely violent. These characters may have adopted the ways of the costumed hero, but the results of their heroics are shown graphically and realistically in every inch of torn flesh, broken bone, and battered body. Even Moretz’s character Hit Girl isn’t spared the consequences of her choices. No punch is pulled, both figuratively and metaphorically.

The writing is very sharp, combining contemporary settings and people with a mythological hero’s journey seamlessly. No subject is side-stepped around; they’re all tackled head on with zero subtlety and it is refreshing to see such warts and all honesty on things like teen sex, friendship, loyalty, consequences of fighting for what you believe in, life and death, and many other things.

As to those who might decry this a new low point of what society condones as morally acceptable: it’s a movie! All films explore ideas, some to a person’s taste and some not. If it’s a not, then don’t watch it. No one is forcing you to.

Kick-Ass is a rare feat of hyper-reality infused with characters that seem real. No one in their right mind would ever hope to live the lives of these people, but it sure as hell is mischievous thrill to live vicariously through them. For not talking down to their audience (for once!) and for being audacious and forthright with their choices, I applaud the makers of this truly original film. Bring on the sequel.

Component Grades
5 Stars
3 Stars
DVD Experience
4 stars


DVD Details:

Available on DVD - August 3, 2010
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Slim pickings on the DVD: a modestly timed featurette about the creator of Kick-Ass, and his co-creators, putting together the comic. Probably only of interest to those who wanna see how a comic is put together. Shitload of trailers, and a blurb about Blu Ray that seems to be on everything these days.