Things get a little disturbing in “Kick-Ass”

...and it does.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the movies. From a once-a-week Friday ritual to a rare treat, I missed all the recent blockbusters. Hollywood just wasn’t putting out anything that I wanted to see. Nope, not Avatar. Not even Clash of the Titans (I’ve kinda sworn off remakes). But for my triumphant return to the audience, I went with a flick that I knew absolutely nothing about — “Kick-Ass.”

OK, I knew a little bit about it. Something with costumed superheroes. And guns. And that was about it. So, essentially, I went in blind.

It starts off with us getting to know a little about Dave, and what drove him to become a superhero. The basic burning question he has is “With the millions of comic book fans out there, why hasn’t anyone ever tried to be a superhero?” and “Why don’t people try to help each other more.” So, he decides to find out the answer to his question, with initially¬†disastrous results.

After his initial failure, he knows that he can’t just give up. So, while trying to help rescue a cat, he finds himself helping a guy that is being attacked by 3 others. The attack takes place in front of a little diner, so naturally, what do the patrons do? Whip out their cell phones, film the fight and upload it to Youtube.

He becomes a surprising hit, and even inspires some of the viewers. He sets up a myspace account and web site, calling his superhero persona “Kick-Ass.” His actions even spur a comic. And with his new found confidence, he decides to help the girl of his dreams by telling a drug dealer to leave her alone. (There’s a whole back story to her and his relationship which is kinda comical in a pathetic kind of way, but I don’t want to give away all the details.) During the confrontation there, Kick-Ass finds himself in way over his head, and about to be gutted by the bad guys.

Enter HitGirl and Big Daddy, who save his butt in a way that’s completely unexpected. HitGirl may be 11, but she’s an expert at using knives and tumbles around like Yoda in “Attack of the Clones,” jumping on people’s backs and slashing their throats, and even limbing a guy.

We find out later that he’s an ex-cop who was framed and imprisoned. His wife committed suicide, leaving his daughter to be raised by his best friend. When he got out of prison, he was focused on one thing … getting revenge on the guys who framed him, and training his little girl to be a death machine.

And this is where the “disturbing” angle comes in to play. Kick-Ass himself wants to make a difference without really hurting anyone, but HitGirl and Big Daddy go for the throat. After that encounter, he realizes basically how powerless he is, and that he should quit while he’s ahead.

But, unfortunately, the bad guys that HitGirl and Big Daddy killed are no ordinary drug dealers — and the drug kingpin wants Kick-Ass dead, because one of the bad guys took his picture on his cell before he died.

The story itself has a lot of heart. Kick-Ass narrates it, talking about what he’s thinking, how what’s transpiring around him is answering his questions or how it relates to what would happen in comics. But the violence in this flick is absolutely brutal. Seeing HitGirl — this tiny, little girl — busting caps into people’s heads while simultaneously stabbing them in the heart can be a bit unnerving. And really, it should leave you feeling uncomfortable. In Kick-Ass’ mind, the world is like a comic book, where he can fight evil at certain times and still sleep at night. But in HitGirl’s and Big Daddy’s mind, the world is unfair, and there’s consequences for actions — so it’s best to hit first and hit first. That clash of ideals is interesting to watch play out.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about this flick. Again, the story is good (really, the Kick-Ass/HitGirl/Big Daddy storyline is only 1 part of the flick) and the movie is pretty entertaining — for being 2 hours, it only felt long near the end, where it felt like could end at a couple different places. But the violence can be off-putting for some and is sometimes really distracting. Personally, this is one that will probably end up in my home collection, because I really enjoyed the layering of the storylines and how it was told.

I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5 knives, and remind you that this movie definitely isn’t for kids.


4 Responses to “Things get a little disturbing in “Kick-Ass””

  1. 1 Lightweight
    April 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Going to see it Monday at SSW. Thanks for the review. I trust your opinion more than those by the Post-Gazette!

  2. 2 BJ
    April 16, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    We saw this back when it premiered. What a great ride! It’s best to check the morals at the door and consider the film as a comic book. It’s an amazing comic book flick.

    I do agree that the violence is difficult to negotiate given that the story is kid-based (NOT kid friendly!) and the main character is an 11 year old. There are moments where you can see the fragility of a young psyche, but the young actress portraying hit-girl plays the character as wiser beyond her years.

    I’ll be seeing it again!

  3. 3 funkyskull
    April 20, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Red Mist didn’t even merit a mention in your review? I thought Chris Mintz-Plasse’s character’s struggle between loyalties was interesting and classic as far as villains go.

    I love this movie enough that I’ve seen it twice and I totally want to see it again.

    • April 20, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Red Mist didn’t get a mention because, as with all my movie reviews, I just like to give a taste of what the movie is about without giving everything away. I mean, that’s what got me writing about movies in the first place … I hated reviewers that told you everything about the entire movie.

      Personally, I thought his character was a little stereotypical — there was really only one way the character could go. Kick-Ass’ struggle and the stuff surrounding HitGirl really overwhelmed me, to be honest.

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