Posted on 5/22/10 02:37 PM
"Film lovers are sick people." -- Francois Truffaut
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Most people go to the movies in order to watch the protagonist defeat the bad guys and get the girl in the end. A happy ending is necessary, of course. That was pretty much the building stone for movies over the years and many have tried evading that situation, but the formula still makes its way into most films to this day. Some think that movies should be in contrast with life, that they should represent the high points of humanity and portray beauty at its finest. Not many want to spend their time on a depressing film that will only dramatize their real life situations even more and it's is only normal to feel that way, but sometimes a realistic movie is exactly what everyone needs, what everyone desires for, even though most of us do not know it.
"Kick-Ass" is not your typical kind of movie. It is a superhero movie to some extent, but its roots go much deeper than that. One would encounter an unnaturally big surprise if one would go into seeing this movie without any knowledge whatsoever of what it is like. Knowing what to expect may not always do the job either, and a lot of viewers will find themselves utterly shocked at all the controversial things that happen throughout the movie. "Kick-Ass" is indeed controversial, but it all depends on the individual as to how striking it actually is. Some may not be able to embrace the movie due to its violent nature and that's totally fine. This film is not for everyone, that's for sure, but the ones who decide to embrace it will find themselves experiencing something very different than what they are used to, something very new.
So what makes "Kick-Ass" such a controversial movie? For all we know, superhero movies are the least controversial because they usually feature one good guy saving the day and teaching the bad guys a lesson. Nothing wrong there. Well, for those who have not heard yet, one of the protagonists (or superheroes, if you may) in "Kick-Ass" is Hit-Girl, an 11-year-old girl. That's right, you'll get to see a mere child killing bad guys (yes, blood will squirt in all directions) and using swear words whenever she gets the chance (including the infamous C word). Oh, she also happens to get shot a couple of times throughout the movie and there's also some strangling involved somewhere. Pretty hardcore, huh? It's not surprising that a lot of people reject this movie due to its immoral nature and everyone else will also have hard time taking in everything "Kick-Ass" throws at them, more or less.
The movie starts off in a rather casual way as we follow the ordinary life of high school student and devoted comic book reader Dave Lizewski as he hangs out with his equally average friends and desperately tries to get noticed by the girls in his school. One day he asks himself a rather interesting question that should have wandered around the viewer's mind as well: why has no one tried to be a superhero in real life? Quite an intriguing question considering that everyone can come up with thousands of arguments, but not one of them would be decisive enough. And so begins Dave's adventure as he struggles to fight crime (more like struggles not to get his butt kicked by crime) dressed in a ridiculous costume and under the not-so-fitting name Kick-Ass. He soon comes across Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, a couple of vigilantes who seem to be practicing his unusual method as well, albeit with bigger weapons and more dangerously.
Matthew Vaughn directs his third film with "Kick-Ass", following his previous work in "Layer Cake" and "Stardust", and his filmmaking skill are really put to the test in this one. He has had quite a difficult goal ahead of him, but he has proven that he knows how to handle action scenes, create impressive visuals and demand quality acting. It's even more impressive once you know that the movie was made with less than $30 million, a rather small budget compared to the money invested in superhero movies these days. What is even more astonishing about "Kick-Ass" is how well it works and how exciting it can become, considering that its subject is much more realistic and grim than most modern feel-good movies.
Giving it a quick look, it seems that "Kick-Ass" has all the right ingredients to make a good movie: it's thoroughly entertaining, the action scenes are really exciting and the acting is surprisingly good. But what makes this movie so special is the increased level of reality present. The action scenes may be awesome, but they aren't perfect like in other superhero movies. They don't like a well-choreographed dance; they look like real fight scenes. The main characters never come out of the fight unharmed while everything is good and dandy. Dave Lizewski shows us how brutal and different real life is compared to all the superheroes in comics from his very first encounter with 'the bad guys,' which also answers the question as to why no one has tried being a superhero in real life before. That's the main feature of this film -- its brilliant use of realistic situations and the gritty feature of our protagonists.
The cast of "Kick-Ass" is mostly comprised of actors of the new generation, but there are a few veterans present as well (Nicolas Cage stars as Big Daddy and Mark Strong plays Frank D'Amico, the 'bad guy'). Aaron Johnson takes on the main role as wannabe superhero Dave Lizewski as he slips into the mask (or overalls, rather) of Kick-Ass. Johnson seems to have no problem leading this movie and he shows potential by displaying a good range of emotions. Let us not forget Chloe Moretz, who plays none other than Hit-Girl, the 11-year-old girl turned into a relentless killing machine by her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage was awesome in this role). Other actors include Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist and Clark Duke as Marty, one of Dave's closest friends.
There's a lot more I could say about "Kick-Ass", especially considering the various discussions and arguments that it sparked due to the controversy regarding its use of profanity and violence, but I prefer not to get too deep into that. Suffice to say that this movie is guaranteed to shock most of its viewers, and not because the increased accent on violence (come on, we've all seen plenty of more violent and graphic movies). It will shock because it does what not many movies have dared to do before with underage actors and it does so without any mercy, without any compromise. Some will love it for its courage while others will hate it even more. It all depends on the individual viewer for the end result, but it's safe to say that "Kick-Ass" did leave a mark on us, on all of us.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>>> Andrei S.