Thursday, 15 April 2010

Not-So-Superman Kicks Serious.... Butt

I really have to give myself a right shake when it comes to blogging over the holidays. It seems to fall by the wayside quite a bit. Ironically enough, I've been working alot of night shifts, so mostly I just sit on the computer, watch DVDs or take full advantage of my unlimited cinema card, passing time before I have to go sell my life for minimum wage.
Soooo, with our impending return to the Academy almost upon us, I decided it was about time to get writing again...especially after my lack of blogging over the Christmas holidays meant I had to write an epically long make-up effort to compensate.

I decided for once to follow up on the hype and actually go and see a film which was receiving rave reviews from...well, everyone. That, and posters for it were plastered all over Cineworld in the week or so prior to its release. Not exactly subliminal, but hey, I figured it'd be worth checking out. I've made no secret of my love for comic-book adaptations in the past, but the last effort I saw in the cinema really soured it for me... I won't say much more about it, except this- if you love Frank Miller, DON'T watch The Spirit. I've never seen so many walkouts during a film, and I was seriously close to smashing up both of my copies of Sin City, so gutted was I.

Happily, there were no such problems with Kick-Ass. I first saw the trailer for it last year, and was immediately hooked. I haven't read the comic, but I liked the premise- what if an ordinary high school kid, no different from anyone else, decided to become a crime fighting vigilante? After all, if Bruce Wayne did it, it can't be that difficult, right........?

Current wunderkind Aaron Johnson is Dave Lizewski, a regular teenager who's not popular, has zero luck with the ladies and isn't even smart enough to be a nerd. What he does have are his comic books and, after being mugged, he decides to take matters into his own hands, don a...erm...scuba suit and take on the bad guys himself. After a video of his first fight makes it onto YouTube, he becomes an overnight sensation, and teams up with 11-year-old mini-assassin Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and her ex-cop father, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage, the coolest he's been in years) to take on crime boss Frank Damico (Bad Guy of The Month Mark Strong). Unfortunately, d'Amico is not one to let a mere teenager get in his way, and he employs his son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse/McLovin) to lure Kick Ass by pretending to team up with him as Red Mist.

It's a hilarious overblown adventure, genuinely violent but also hugely entertaining. It helps breathe new life into a tired genre, currently enjoying revival following a disappointing late 1990s. It's a gleefully silly and deranged as Chris Nolan's Batman is po-faced and seeeerious. Usually anything which plays to heavily on so-hot-right-now trends makes me cringe- references to Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, iPhones, etc really date films and seem like an embarrassing attempt to appear 'in touch' with the yoof audience. In relation to this film though, it's used in quite a novel way that's actually pretty funny. Nicholas Cage erases all memories of the awful Ghost Rider and channels the old-school Adam West Batman, while Aaron Johnson pulls off an American accent with aplomb and plenty of nerdy charm.
The real star here though, is Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl. She single-handedly assassinates men twice her size all the while qupping more expletives and killer one-liners than most grown-ups. Her rampage of vengeance in the final act actually got an applause from the audience, and while much has been made of her dropping the 'C-Bomb', (and it is truly funny), it'd be derivative to her awesome performance to focus on it too much. Maybe because I over-use it myself and don't really understand what's taboo about it... hmm!

While my cinema going may have flagged slightly over the holidays, I'm definitely glad this was the one film I went to see. It's great fun, fast paced, quick witted and giddily violent in all the right places. Sure, its reliance on 'modern' references might not stand up in years to come but who cares about that when you're enjoying yourself this much? A great one for any kid who's ever dreamed of becoming a superhero... and for those big kids of us who always clung to the hope that it could really happen.

1 comment:

  1. Hit-Girl was definitely the highpoint for me (though I loved the whole film, don't get me wrong). If they make a sequel, and I can't imagine why they wouldn't, then surely it should focus more on her. I know I'd watch it.