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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Kick Ass (15) ★★★★★
Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Kick Ass is a bolt out of the blue. A comic book movie which echoes Sam Raimi's Spiderman prominently as well as others in many scenes and characters but puts its own stamp of authenticity all over itself to give us one of the most entertaining and violent films in a long, long while. PC brigade, strap yourself in, this is going to be messy.

As comic stories go its simple by the numbers plot, geeky high schooler who has no luck and is invisible to the girls becomes a superhero and takes on a local kingpin. You read the plot and think, oh this is Spiderman retold, but you'd be way off the mark. Although Kick Ass at its heart echoes Spiderman the flesh and bones are those of an original piece of work resonating with new ideas and setting the bar for all comic book adaptations to reach, which I doubt they ever will.

Kick Ass himself is born out of  Dave Lizewski's simple thought "why doesn't someone try to be a real life superhero?". After being beaten up for the umpteenth time Dave buys an online wetsuit and becomes Kick Ass, determined to fight crime and stand up for the little man, his first encounter however doesn't exactly go to plan and is hospitalized. This is where the film starts it shock value and never really lets up.

After rehabilitation Dave is reborn with metal rods in place of his previous broken ones (an obvious nod to Wolverine) and shattered nerve endings which means that he feels less pain than normal. With his new indestructible outlook he tries once more to fight crime, this time with much better results. In a brilliant nod to current culture Kick Ass is filmed by an onlooker and becomes and instant hit on You Tube amassing millions of views. Its this visibility that triggers the interest of father and daughter actual superheroes Big Daddy and Hit Girl who are actually the real deal when it comes to *ahem* kicking ass.

When Big Daddy and Hit Girl aid Kick Ass in killing some local thugs this alerts the bad guy in town Frank D'Amico who then decides to wipe out Kick Ass to send a message to all budding superheroes. This is when the film really takes off.

From the outset Kick Ass is littered with profanity, ok no big deal, even The 40yr Old Virgin has swearing throughout, but this is supposed to be a comic book yes? Aren't they for kids? Well yes and no, the new wave of comic book adaptations (300, Sin City for example) are being catered to a much more mature market and Kick Ass is definitely for this audience. Much has been made of Kick Ass's violence and although it is very graphic it is also very necessary, the film just wouldn't work with dumbed down fights and characters. You add on top of this the fact that Hit Girl is in fact an 11 year old girl who swears, is handy with guns and knifes and severs limbs almost everytime she's on screen and you have a ready made campaign to boycott. You have to remember though that this is a comic book adaptation that you are watching, so the characters, situations and violence have to be acknowledged as such, if you don't you just wont 'get' or enjoy the film.

The fight scenes are of the highest quality and are unflinching in the way they show the carnage. At times you will want to jump out of your seat and punch the air when Hit Girl disposes of another bad guy in a grotesque way.

Everyone of the characters is portrayed brilliantly, there is no weak link to be found anywhere in this department so when you've got everyone on top form your confidence as a film maker and the audience is bolstered. The scriptwriting matches the actors performance and its good to see that they don't hold back, I can imagine Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughan writing down various scenes and thinking, "we surely can't get away with that can we?" but they do and it works to perfection.

Credit to Matthew Vaughan for bringing all this mayhem together, shot in a similar aspect to Spiderman right down to the streets, alleyways and rooftops it makes the viewer feel comfortable that they are watching a good superhero movie. He lets the violence flow and isn't afraid to show everything and let it play out as it is probably written down on paper.

You need to see this movie whether your a comic book fan or otherwise. This is a film that demands your attention and it shows that for all the mainstream money making comic book films out there a little known film can come along and kick their ass. Yes I went there.


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