Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Kick-Ass" (2010) - Movie Review

Before going into “Kick-Ass”, I need to analyze these supposed waves over the fact that 11 year old Chloe Moretz uttering the C word in the film. But more than that would be the bloodshed she creates. There is a sociopathic smile she drops after she massacres a roomful of supposed criminals but that is how she gets brought up by her Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a man for vengeance in a super hero costume. My take on this is that if Quentin Tarantino did a similar portrait (which he did through cartoons in “Kill Bill” series for Lucy Liu’s O-Ren Isii) and he would be praised for the novelty which he should be. Here when director Matthew Vaughn does something out of a comic book, the world comes in barging with judgments. Did it disturb me? Yes, but that is the nature of the Hit Girl and this is how it will go down when someone grows up by a revenge seeking man.

When the world and Hollywood has ended itself from the unstoppable river of super hero films, here comes “Kick-Ass”. It happens in a very real world and the high school kid Dave (Aaron Johnson) is not doing so bad. He is not the loser kid but not the popular kid. He is the average kid, as many of us are. But we need cravings, itches and then the possibility of being someone to be liked, loved and cared. Dave is no different and as he narrates that the every one at some point or other in their life had this fantasy, he wants to do it. He wants to be the super hero.

Apart from the violence from kids, “Kick-Ass” has lot more to offer than many might ignore. It has Nicolas Cage for starters as this lovable and scary father training his eleven year old girl to create an appetite for violence. She does everything daddy asks which includes sustaining multiple rounds of short distance shots from her dear father himself. She obliges and later they have ice cream together. Underneath this bubbling relationship is a hurt father gone wrong all over his life. We get a snapshot of the tragedy and we are not convinced but good enough for his bloody idea to get even, with the drug kingpin Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong).

On the trend of “Watchmen”, “Kick-Ass” gives a rude shock to the fantasizing crowd to be their childhood super heroes. Dave dresses up in mask and his first effort results in to get steel bones than bringing crime down. One good thing is that his nerves for feeling pain are jacked and he can withstand several beatings though his fighting skills needs more than training. It needs to give up.

Vaughn gets serious, then funny, serious again and poetic and finally an old fashioned Hollywood ending. The dialogues are calculatedly subtle and amplified. It is like programming software, you do not sweat and write a lengthy code to finish your job or sweat a lot and finish it in few lines. Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman do not sweat and yet write one line to finish their job in style. It is evident when Dave compares his jump from fantasy to real action as that to serial killers.

If someone few years ago said that Nicolas Cage as the tied up hostage super hero burning would yell and guide his kid daughter to kill several men in the dark, I would have called you crazy. Who else than Cage can pull out a scene like that to work without embarrassing the film or himself? And who would have thought that the director of “Layer Cake” would make it with style, dark poetry and sentiments?
“Kick-Ass” alters between fantasy and reality that sometimes it takes the former to show the possibility and the later to show how bloody it could get. Though the film does not take the conscience stand of right and wrong, it sees its characters as right and wrong. As any super hero film would do, Mark Strong becomes the unquestionable villain while his aspiring sleazy son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) surprisingly becomes a partner in crime.

Chloe Moretz has proved herself a worthy child actor in “(500) Days of Summer” and the recent “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. Here she pulls the toughest stunt literally in both acting and action. Mindy is a marginally experimental product of her dad and she moderates that with care. We weep for her and are ridiculously worried and scared. She can slice a throat without hesitation and enjoy a hot chocolate simultaneously. What happens to her after the film might not be a pretty picture in the real world, but we are shooed off before that. “Kick-Ass” is violent, disturbing, funny and beyond that, is unique. You might have a problem with kids swearing and spilling blood but that should not be a reason to dismiss this film.

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