As comic book fans we’ve probably all wondered what it would be like to throw on a cape and go out to fight the bad guys. Mark Millar’s “Kick-Ass” is based on that premise of ordinary people becoming costumed crime-fighters…often with disastrous results. Such is the case with Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), as average a teenager as you can possibly find, who orders a wetsuit online to serve as his costume. Dave triumphantly takes to the streets…and promptly gets his ass kicked by two thugs, and then hit by a car. One can imagine that this would be the most likely outcome if someone were that foolhardy. Thanks to having his body pieced together with metal pins and rods and nerve damage, which leaves him somewhat pain resistant, Dave becomes a bargain basement Wolverine and his resolve is even greater. His exploits soon become the rage of the Internet as he takes the name “Kick Ass”.
Dave isn’t the only hero in town, however. While issuing a warning to a drug dealer and his cronies, Dave is caught and rescued by a foul-mouthed, ultra-violent 11 year-old sweetheart named Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz). Together with her father Big Daddy (Nic Cage) the pair make Batman and Robin look like a couple of altar boys, with their arsenal of weapons and deadly tactics. Big Daddy, a former cop, was sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, leaving his pregnant wife to take her own life. He’s now after crime lord Frank D’Amico, the man who framed him. Dave quickly realizes he’s in way over his head and tries to give up his costume for good when he’s targeted by D’Amico who thinks he’s the one responsible for the attacks on his organization.
Some are simply aghast at Kick-Ass’ treatment of the Hit Girl character. When we first meet her, she dressed in a cute pink coat as her dad is firing his pistol at her at point blank range to test out the new bulletproof vest and to “train” her to accept the pain of a slug. This is a little girl who is ecstatic over receiving a new stiletto for her birthday when most girls her age are receiving Barbie dolls. Her dad has trained her from birth to be the ultimate killing machine. She takes out a room full of baddies, lopping off limbs, and stabbing thugs through the heart as gleefully as if she were having a tea party. I cannot emphasize how brilliant it was to have the theme from the old Saturday morning TV show “The Banana Splits” playing throughout the carnage. But it is the very epitome of comic book violence, even if it hadn’t been based on a comic. Even as Hit Girl is being pummeled by an adult, you don’t get upset because you know she’ll eventually win the battle. Chloë Grace Moretz gives the most memorable performance by a child actor since Linda Blair puked out split pea soup in “the Exorcist”.
The character of Kick-Ass was changed a bit from the comic if only enough to make him look a bit older and physically more believable than John Romita’s comic version. Cage is remarkably reserved in his role, considering his penchant for chewing up scenery. He could have been way over the top and yet he’s more like a skewed version of Ward Cleaver or Cliff Huxtable or any other kindly TV dad. Instead of helping his child with her math homework he quizzes her on firearms. Is he seriously traumatized? You bet, but he cares for his child as much as any father…despite putting her life in constant danger. Such is the warped but appetizing world of Kick-Ass where violence and mayhem become irresistibly and unapologetically entertaining.
The outstanding away of extras makes this a must purchase!
Audio Commentary with Directory Matthew Vaughn
Ass-Kicking Bonus View Mode. Similar to Warner Bros. Maximum Movie Mode, this allows you to watch the movie in a picture-in-picture format. The movie plays in a small screen while the main view features interviews with cast and crew and running commentary with Matthew Vaughn who takes you through the various scenes in the film. Vaughn discusses the use of the controversial “C” word uttered by Moretz and opted to use it to remain faithful to Mark Millar’s story.
A New Kind of Super Hero: The Making of Kick-Ass (1:52:00) this multi-part documentary is as long as the film itself. In “Pushing Boundaries” Millar discusses the creation of the comic story and how the comic’s film rights were sold even before the mini-series was complete.
“Let’s Shoot this F**ker!” Covers the film’s production as Vaughn discusses the benefits and problems of working with a mainly younger and inexperienced cast of actors.
“Tempting Fate” Looks at the climactic battle at the D’Amico penthouse apartment including the stunt work and sound editing.
“All Fired Up” The final part of the documentary covers the set design and visual effects.
It’s On: The Comic Book Origins of Kick-Ass (20:30) This focuses entirely on the development of the comic book series as Millar and Romita, Jr. discuss the evolution of the series which was originally intended to be about Hit Girl and Big Daddy only. You get to spy over Romita’s shoulder as he works on some of the original pages.
The Art of Kick-Ass Multiple galleries of sketch and storyboard art, concept art, on-set photos, and promotional art.
The only disappointment in the extras was the lack of deleted scenes, particularly since Vaughn mentioned there was a good deal of cut scenes and he was considering a Director’s Cut.