SXSW 2010: KICK ASS Review

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, USA (@peteramartin)
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SXSW 2010: KICK ASS Review
KICK ASS does. At its most elemental level, it's tremendously exciting to see a superhero flick that embraces unadulterated bloodshed and violence while promoting the idea that deranged destruction can happily co-exist with responsible hero-hood. It's a movie that gleefully dances on the grave of political correctness, readily serving up a young girl as a foul-mouthed, highly-trained assassin named Hit-Girl, played by Chloe Moretz. She is an action star for the ages. 

Yet it's also a movie that loses focus as we gradually come to appreciate that the supporting characters are far most interesting than the leads.

The best scenes in the movie are the ones in which it plays out as an outrageous action comedy. The opening scenes are fine: high school loser Dave Lizewski (newcomer Aaron Johnson) wonders why no one ever's just tried to become a superhero, without science or some cosmic accident. He decides on a name and a costume -- a green scuba suit -- and starts to make a name for himself, even while he still faces problems with girls and bullies.

KICK ASS ratchets itself up a serious notch when it introduces Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready (AKA Big Daddy) and the amazing Chloe Moretz (just turned 13) as his daughter Mindy (AKA Hit-Girl). Cage's prediliction for outlandish character tics finally feels organic to the character he's playing, and it's marvelous to watch as he pushes his behavior further and further into a fantastic realm where silliness dances with unreality. As he pursues his agenda, we know Big Daddy has serious issues to resolve, and we know it will pay off -- it must pay off -- in a grand, operatic manner.

That it does, and the smashingly-choreographed action sequences establish new benchmarks in bullet ballet -- not to mention the dance of every other kind of sharp object and projectile weapon you can imagine. 

The high school antics are winning but not particularly fresh or new, remaining firmly within the ever-common wish-fulfillment scenarios for geeky teenage boys. They're funny without shedding any additional light on the psychology that drives certain individuals to want to don masks and costumes and fight crime. 

Once Dave becomes Kick-Ass and gets thoroughly thrashed for his trouble, Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), winsome unrequited objection of his affections, finally takes notice of him. (Of course, it's because she thinks he's gay because of a rumor, but still.) Christopher Mintz-Plasse generates laughs with his body language and delivery of dialogue as Chris D'Amico, who takes on the persona of superhero Red Mist. He's the son of gangster Frank D'Amico (the ever delightfully villainous Mark Strong) and wants to prove himself. 

That being said, and despite its flaccid middle section, KICK ASS makes up for most of its sins with two especially stunning sequences that frequently moved the opening night audience at the Paramount Theatre (packed to capacity and turning people away) to cheers and applause. Imagine every type of bad behavior that children should never even watch, and chances are they are acted out in high fashion and style sometime during the movie.

Director Matthew Vaughn was on hand along with members of the cast and comic creators Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. Though recent "secret" public screenings have been held, Vaughn said the film was only locked one week ago. KICK ASS opens in wide release in two weeks.

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Matthew VaughnJane GoldmanMark MillarJohn Romita Jr.Aaron Taylor-JohnsonGarrett M. BrownEvan PetersDeborah TwissActionComedy

More about Kick-Ass

Sean "The Butcher" SmithsonMarch 13, 2010 1:15 PM

It won't be long now...until I'm half tanked on Basil Hayden scotch and Sugar Hawaiian, sitting in a theater screaming "Fuck yeah!" myself.

The countdown has officially begun.

Arch StantonMarch 13, 2010 2:04 PM

Thanks for the review,can't wait for this one,love to see something that isn't a watered down sausage from the factory.

Michael GuillenMarch 22, 2010 4:46 PM

Found this to be a lot of fun, primarily--as you suggest--for Chloe Moretz's pitch-perfect performance of Hit Girl.

johnholland53April 7, 2010 1:07 PM

Today is 4/7/2010 and I just viewed a dozen different trailers for the upcoming movie “Kick-Ass”.
This comment is an urgent appeal to every parent reading this. Please protect your kids (older and young) from this devious attempt to pervert our children’s minds and hearts, disguised as entertainment.
I am quite shocked at a few things and I don’t shock easily. The language is hard core and completely un-necessary to tell this story, especially when it requires cursing from a 13 year old girl (Chloe Grace Moretz - born February 10, 1997). Not light cursing, but the kind of filthy cursing that makes you twinge. There are so many young actors in this movie delivering such filth from their mouths. I just sat here at my computer with my jaw hanging as I listened to some of the disgusting words kids were saying. The filth just wasn’t necessary. How perverted can you be to subject our youth to this kind of filth in language. I say “subject our youth to this” because what kid doesn’t want to see good guys beat up the bad guys, so they will find a way to see it. But unfortunately, here the good guys are as bad as the bad guys. Every kid in America will watch it somehow because of the young cast and the fantasy of being a crime fighter.

I am equally shocked at the adult actors that have willingly contributed to the killing of adolescent morals. I thought actors who were also parents had some moral standard for their children’s sake and would only go so far in the type of characters or the kind of movies they would do. I guess I was wrong there!
The nudity that was shown in a trailer was a deliberate effort to entice the viewer into thinking there was more to be seen. Again, this whole movie is simply an evil attempt to pervert the minds of our young.
Even the graphic killings and mutilations that kids were performing is disturbing to me. I don’t want my children ever thinking that murder is entertaining. A 13 year old, killing people with a sword. Imagine that!
The guys who are responsible for this script and this movie (and I do mean they are responsible for all of the affects this movie will have on the minds of our young) are nothing less than people who have prostituted themselves for the sake of the almighty dollar, at the cost of our children and our society.
I know that some people will say that the “R” rating protects children, but that is pure garbage. In the technological age we live in, our young and even small children have a multitude of devices and places to gain access to this and other movies that should never have been made. It’s not entertainment when it erodes the very fabric of a decent society… in fact in the minds of the moral majority, its criminal!
Lastly, I will say to the creators of these kinds of movies, this script could have been a really great adventure story for kids. But instead it is a horrible, blatant attack to further destroy the moral standard of our lives through our young. And greater still, it is another piece of a large agenda in Hollywood to destroy the moral character of our future generations, so that their standards will be more accepted.
But I say, change your minds, not ours!
These are the people responsible for creating this filth. Boycott anything they do:
Matthew Vaughn – Director
Jane Goldman, Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn – writers
Nicholas Cage – Actor - He has always been my favorite, but I can no longer support anything he does! He is the only big name actor here but the other actors also deserve to be boycotted. What a shame!
Rest of the cast:


A concerned citizen and parent 7, 2010 2:14 PM

Invalid argument due to something called suspension of disbelief. We know that killing is wrong but for the sake of this movie we dispell that thought. Children of a high enough age to be interested in a movie such as this should understand this. After all, a child's only as bad as their parents. An extremely good movie-believing that children will be interested because the actors are young is frankly naive. Think about that logic.

Rhythm-XApril 7, 2010 2:50 PM

NOW I'm sold on KICK-ASS.

suchacynApril 20, 2010 3:18 PM

I REALLY loved this movie, and I had been anticipating it for a long time.

I actually even did a little video showing my enthusiasm for it :) :

Thanks for the positive review!


InktcartridgesJune 11, 2010 9:27 PM

This movie is a lot of fun. I saw it and I found it hilarious. You should definitely go and watch it. I'm sure you will love it too.