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Kick-Ass - Blu-ray Review


Kick-Ass

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Lighter in tone and message that the comic book series of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass manages to deliver a calculated and impressive thump straight into the collective chest of the superhero movie franchise. Entirely deserving of its early critical praise, this darling of the underground film circuit - especially in its apprehensive position before the release of Iron Man 2 - will certainly find an audience among those who are, to paraphrase 1976's Network, mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. Indulgent with its expressive violence, Vaughn's third feature (Layer Cake and Stardust came before) is more about its grindhouse than its powerhouse.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is a mild-mannered teenager with one unbalanced and unchecked obsession: comic books. Perplexingly persistent and maybe a little too determined, Lizewski gets himself a superhero (diving) suit from, of all things, ebay and decides to give crime-fighting a try. The results are predictable (yet never disappointing) and hilariously violent. While injured, Lizewski is adamant about his new-found extracurricular activity and, upon meeting another harebrained vigilante named Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage channeling Adam West) and his 11-year-old daughter, Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), is more determined than ever at bringing down an evil drug Lord... even when he becomes the talk of the town thanks to YouTube and like-minded faithful followers.

The movie, while sounding like a silly American teen comedy, creates a dead-pan reality in its handling of bizzaro comic-book motifs, courtesy of its deliberate design, through its use of violence and gore and treatment of characters. The very premise of Kick-Ass screams of idiocy and, yet, its writers and director play off the insanity by delivering exactly what you expect to happen: total carnage as Lizewski is nearly beaten to death the first night the diving suit is worn. Kick-Ass, as he is later knighted by his fans, is stabbed in the stomach, smashed in the street by a racing car, and nearly dies; all to the laughter of the audience and discovers, much to his non-super heroic human frame that his tolerance to pain has increased due to damaged nerve endings. As a result of this insanity matched with even more insanity rationale, not only is the movie a great send-off (or love letter) to all things super heroic, but the film definitely plays as rich satire for the more literate crowd.

Don't worry, though. Vaughn doesn't squeeze or suck from this analytical lemon too hard. Showcasing some seriously seedy and bad ass action sequences, Kick-Ass also delivers tenfold with the action of a passionate comic book universe. In fact, the film is mostly sensation; all flash and bang pleasure and goes down relatively quickly which should be a great draw for repeat viewership. Kick-Ass is blatant and brass; it is the gun-toting Dirty Harry of the faster-than-a-speeding-bullet Superhero genre. It's going to upset some and entertain others especially if you like your caped crusaders to be a little more grounded in reality.

While some members of the press and public are making social waves with their decrying of the film's treatment of teenagers and of Hit Girl, there is seriously too little to work with here in a script penned by Vaughn and Jane Goldman to ever make a serious argument over; these are comic book thrills for the sake of comic book thrills and right when you recognize something from the real world they take it away. Kick-Ass is a pleasure of a gladiatorial battle... a bloody and brutal spectacle, but an entertaining fight to the death nonetheless.


Component Grades
Movie
Features
5
5 Stars
Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 3, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy; Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; D-Box; Social network features

Supplements:

Commentaries:

Featurettes:

DVD copy of the film, and a Digital Copy disc with an included download code (Itunes compatible)

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