Monday, April 19, 2010
WORTH IT'S WEIGHT IN VIOLENCE: KICK-ASS REVIEW
Any fan of violence will be right at home sitting down to watch this movie. The theme of the movie is practically violence. The violence is not only prominent, but it's graphic. Watching the best character Hit-Girl dissect the movie's pawns is entertainment in itself. The violence is so breathtaking and fun to watch it brought me back to the first time I saw Kill Bill Vol. 1. If you like violence in movies, see Kick-Ass immediately.
This movie is based on the graphic novel with the same title written by Mark Millar, who also created the comic that Wanted is based on. As someone who has not read the Kick-Ass graphic novel, this review is based strictly on a the film-going experience.
Kick-Ass was directed and co-written by violence lover Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake). He worked to make the violent graphic novel into a violent movie. Like I said before, the theme of Kick-Ass is violence.
The movie follows a teenager named Dave who begs the question: "Why hasn't someone tried to be a superhero before?" His friends aptly respond, "Cause you would get your ass kicked and die, in like a day." This doesn't deter Dave from fashioning himself a costume, a superhero name, and a Myspace page to promote his heroic deeds.
I found it amusing to see Myspace used as the social networking tool; mostly because it was odd to see people in the movie still using Myspace (which real people aren't). The dying social network must have shelled out big bucks to be featured so abundantly in Kick-Ass. Myspace advertising in Kick-Ass is like me advertising for Circuit City.
Ok, back to the story. Dave is caught by a cell phone camera saving a man from several attackers and gains fame from the public and the even grabs the attention of a mob boss played by the great Mark Strong. As Dave the superhero becomes more prominent, he is befriended by two actual well trained heroes called Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (NicholasCage). As you can infer, this ends up as the battle of good vs. evil... blah blah, roll credits.
This movie stirred up so many different emotions ranging from laughing at the comedy to gasping during the awe inspiring action. The violent action sequences are not all that makes this movie great though. The characters in this movie are well constructed and make the audience care about this narrative for more than just being another superhero movie.
Dave and his two comic book loving buddies (one is the hilarious Clark Duke) provide context to world these heroes live in (a reality that is pretty much our own) as well as some great comedic relief while watching the story unfold. What is at stake for Dave and the other characters creates tension in the movie and draws the viewer in even more during the intense action. This is what I like to call, good writing.
The blend of comedy, violence, and serious themes (torture, death, etc.) are sometimes not executed to the point where the audience can clearly understand how they are supposed to feel. There were more than a couple of times in this movie where I was not sure what kind of reaction I was supposed to have.
The overlap was sometimes confusing about what the storytellers were trying to convey. This is what I like to call, bad writing. Great filmmakers tell the audience what to think and feel, not leaving it up to the viewer to decide. Combining two contrasting elements always proves difficult in cinema, and this movie does not accomplish this as well as it should have. I downgraded Kick-Ass for that fact.
The second downgrade comes from the casting of the atrocious acting talents of Nicholas Cage. He has been great in the past (Face/Off, The Rock), but recently has turned out nothing but garbage movies (Knowing, Next, Bangkok Dangerous) Does he take those crappy scripts because he is broke and desperate for money? (most likely) Sure, the two National Treasure movies are decent, but definitely not because of Cage.
Anyway, he was so bad at times in Kick-Ass, I was overwhelmed with the sensation to roll my eyes. I am not sure if his delivery was supposed to be so forced and fake, but that's how it came off. I also don't know if this is how the father is portrayed in the comics, but I could not believe some of the flat, goofy, and non-funny laughable lines coming out of Cage's mouth multiple times in this movie (ah child, you always knock me for a loop).
Even if that is how the character is written in the comics, it should have been changed for how ridiculously stupid it was and how it came off. They changed other details right?
This last part is definitely nit-picking, but the costume department ripping off the ears on the Bat-suit to create the Big Daddy ensemble really annoyed me. He even has a similar yellow utility belt. From what I have seen in the comics, Big Daddy is not drawn that way. The lack of creativity was extremely annoying. He literally looks like a crappy clone of one the world's greatest superheroes (Batman duh).
Overall, Kick-Ass is a solid movie-going experience. It only turned in $19.8 million this weekend and finished second in the box office standings behind the rave reviewed How to Train Your Dragon. Kick-Ass definitely will appeal to the niche audiences who like violence and super hero flicks. It is worth the price of admission to see the well executed violence, the intriguing characters, and to watch Nick Cage do it again (suck at acting).
The movie is not an instant classic, but if you fall into the film's target audience I am sure you will not be disappointed. Matthew Vaughn and Co. have a great product that apparently not many have heard about, (less than $20 mill at the box office?) but deserves your attention. Go forth, and see Kick-Ass.
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