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Film Reviews

Kick Ass Film Review: Faint Hearted, Turn Tail
Dan Curley , April 1st, 2010 05:36

You probably already know this from the countless rants of foamy-mouthed TV newscasters, but yes, an 11-year old girl does call a room full of gangsters “cunts” before hacking them all to pieces. Kick-Ass is a film so stylish you’ll think you’re watching a transmission from a several light year distant planet, and so comedy-violent you’ll be wearing a shit-eating grin from start to finish. It spoofs a genre while surpassing the best examples from the field it mocks, and everyone from Batman to Spider-man is fair game in the biggest comedy piss-take in town. After watching Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy – a gun-touting psychopathic Batman-alike do his thing, you’ll never be able to watch The Dark Knight again without feeling that Batman’s just a bitch who should start fucking killing villains.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and penned by Jane Goldman (Mrs Ross), it follows the teen-angst exploits of school boy Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a serial-masturbating comic geek with fantasies way beyond his means. The first chapter of the film is him and his geek mates constantly bantering about comic-book culture, and Dave wants to know why there are no real ones. A friend retorts: “because in real life, you’d be dead in a day, dumb ass”. This sound advice doesn’t stop the blighted Dave trying to realise the dream. In fact he clobbers-up in a ridiculous green ski suit and stalks the streets looking to protect the innocent. He is armed only with two sticks, has absolutely no martial art training, no super powers and isn’t even fuelled with a revenge motive. His first attempt at crime fighting leaves him seriously fucked-up in hospital, bones covered in metal plates (a nod to Wolverine) and damaged nerve endings, rendering him almost immune to pain.

This new, upgraded Kick-Ass mark II, immediately takes back to the streets. His next encounter, a clumsy scuffle against three geezers beating someone up, sees him victorious (just), much to the glee of a crowd of bystanders filming it on their mobiles. It’s slapped on YouTube and becomes the highest watched video on the site. Kick-Ass is now a famous superhero, which gains him the attention of a father and daughter crime-fighting duo Big Daddy (Cage) and the 11-year-old Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz). Unlike Kick-Ass, these two live in absolute secret, are lethal vigilante assassins, masters of murder and tooled-up with an armoury big enough to obituarify Rambo.

Big Daddy and Hit Girl are Batman and Robin, dripped through a Terry Gilliam filter and fired from a Paul Verhoeven cannon. Hit Girl, the pint-sized 'cunt'-uttering human killing child, is at the heart of some scenes of violence that makes the Crazy 88 bloodbath in Kill Bill look like an exchange in harsh language. There is one scene when all the lights have gone out and she’s wearing night vision goggles, and it’s all shot from her point of view (you will immediately think of the videogame Modern Warfare). You’ll be gasping for breath as she wipes out dozens of bad guys – all of whom are blindly firing in the dark - as she walks right up to them and point-blank blows their brains out.

It’s a film crammed to the rafters with immense bovver and prolonged stylish set-pieces, but its ultra-violence is set to the Banana Splits theme music. Everything from swords, sniper rifles, giant microwaves, bazookas, jetpacks with Gatling guns are used in a revenge film like nothing you’ve ever seen. Big Daddy was a former-cop, one who refused to go on Frank’s Mafia payroll, was framed for drug dealing and spent years inside, using all his spare time to sculpt his guns and become a martial arts master. During this time, his wife committed suicide, but gave birth to Hit Girl just as she died. And the two like nothing more than wiping out as many of Frank’s men as possible. It’s easy to imagine Cage playing a nutcase (given that’s all he ever does) but here he becomes a human nuclear bomb that won’t stop until Frank’s entire organisation is burnt to the ground. In fact he is fucking awesome – for once in his life – and one scene in which he single-handily wipes out an entire warehouse of Mafia goons will make your brain explode in disbelief.

But this isn’t just a blood-crazed action flick. It’s packed with wonderful story arcs and even when the guns aren’t out you’ll be laughing your tits off at the incredibly well-written dialogue. There is a love interest between Kick-Ass and Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca), who only befriends his real-identity David because she thinks he’s gay. But Kick-Ass reasons that “Peter Parker never gets the girl, only Spider-man does” and reveals himself to her in the hope he’ll get his end away.

There’s also a hilarious sub-plot involving Frank’s son Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse aka Superbad’s Mclovin), who invents a superhero character called Red Mist. His plan is lure Kick-Ass out by befriending him, with intent of betraying him by handing him to over to his Dad.

It is stupendously entertaining, two hours of solid brain-bending berserkery and the second you leave the cinema you’ll want to go straight back in and watch it again. You are not going to see a film so fan-fucking-tastic again this year, and you deserve to have your arse kicked if you miss out on it.

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