Film Review: Kick-Ass

2010 – 117mn - 15

Directed by Matthew Vaugn. Starring Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Review by Walter Nichols

KICK-Ass is going to be one of the biggest hits of the year. Your friends will most likely recommend it. It will make a fortune. Everyone involved will be smiling at you from the pages of Sunday newspapers for weeks to come. And were I still 15 years old, Kick-Ass would be one of my favorite films, ever.

Acknowledging all of the above, the following must be said: Kick-Ass is not only a dreadful film, but a carelessly and shamelessly irresponsible one as well.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an average kid who dreams of being a super-hero. So one day he buys a wetsuit, fashions a costume, and goes out to fight crime under the monicker of Kick-Ass. But he quickly learns that being a super-hero is much harder than it seems, and on his first outing he gets violently beaten and ends up in hospital. Once out, he tries again, only this time he runs into real super-heroes Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his pre-teen daughter Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz).

This story is merely an excuse for two hours of non-stop violence, all of it involving kids and teenagers. Worst of all, the violence – and every sequence is full of it – is absolutely gratuitous: it has no necessary purpose, and it bears no consequence. The first time Kick-Ass goes out, he gets stabbed in the stomach, very deep, with a long blade. He goes to hospital, and the next time we see him, he’s doing sit-ups, as if nothing ever happened. The second time he goes out, he gets beaten to a pulp by fists, sticks, and a trash can. The next scene he’s back in school without a mark on his face.

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It might be a stretch to say the film glorifies violence, but it delights in the idea that violence might be terrible, but ultra-violence is just hilarious. This isn’t torture porn, it’s a torture comedy.

The story is lamely conventional and even the jokes are predictable after a while: think of the most banal, outrageously violent thing that could be said or done, and that’s the punch line, every single time. The overrated Aaron Johnson can’t act and hammily overdoes every single scene. But Hit-Girl, for all the wrong reasons but also a lot of good ones, proves a star making turn for young Chloe Moretz.

Reviewers around the country will most certainly rain down glowing reviews on Kick-Ass, celebrating how entertainingly “over-the-top” and “bloodthirsty” the whole “romp” is, whilst at the same time their editors run front pages about teenage stabbings and broken societies. It isn’t horror films, lads’ mags, or the Internet that are warping our society. It’s this trash.

(0 out of 5 stars)