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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Chloe Moretz
Nicolas Cage
Aaron Johnson
Mark Strong.
Directors
Matthew Vaughn.
Screenwriters
Jane Goldman
Matthew Vaughn.
Running Time
106 minutes

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Kick-Ass
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Plot
Hapless teen Dave Lizewski (Johnson) decides to man up and fight crime as a costumed vigilante, Kick-Ass. After first becoming an internet phenomenon, he quickly bites off more than he can chew when he falls foul of a ruthless mobster, but two genuine superheroes, Big Daddy (Cage) and his daughter, Hit-Girl (Moretz), may hold the key to salvation. And kicking ass.


Review
Kick-Ass
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Where the heck did this come from?

Clearly, Matthew Vaughn is not a man lacking in confidence. After all, anyone who can chat up Claudia Schiffer is doing okay in the stones department, while he’s never been backwards in coming forwards about the merits of his movies. Stardust and Layer Cake, his two films to date as director, were entertaining and satisfying; no mean feat.

Kick-Ass, though, is an evolutionary leap, and the work of a director ready to gatecrash the A-list. If there’s a more entertaining movie this year, then 2010 is going to be a belter.
Vaughn went outside the studio system to independently fund and make Kick-Ass; it was the best move he could have made. Without studio stormtroopers breathing down his neck, Vaughn found the freedom to make a thrilling, hugely violent, darkly funny comic-book

flick that didn’t have to pander to toy manufacturers or fast food chains putting pressure on him to pull his punches. Little girl in a superhero costume? Cute. Shifts Happy Meals. Little girl in a superhero costume slicing people’s legs off and saying the C-word? Not so much.

Like Watchmen, Kick-Ass is a comic-book movie that knows it’s a comic-book movie. In fact, it’s a film that couldn’t exist without previous comic-book movies, with constant references to its predecessors — Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy wears a suit that’s about one button from receiving a cease and desist letter from Batman’s lawyers — but here, the emphasis is on fun, not po-faced profundities. Here, the smiley face is genuine.
It starts — after a crunching opening gag — with a raspy-voiced, ‘Who am I?’ narration from Aaron Johnson’s Dave Lizewski that obviously recalls Tobey Maguire’s Moaning Minnie ways in the Spider-Man series. A normal teen — bit geeky, bit gawky, very invisible to girls — Dave is driven to answer his own question — why does nobody ever try becoming a superhero in real life? — when he’s beaten up, for the umpteenth time, by snarling thugs.

With a web-bought wetsuit as a costume, Dave transforms himself into the world’s weediest vigilante. From there, we all know how it’s going to play: the nervous newcomer must
have his mettle tested and his ass kicked in order to learn from the experience and become a better hero. Right?

Well, ish. Vaughn’s creative freedom means that not only does he pull no punches, he throws in some kicks, a quick stabbing and a moving car for good measure. The incident gives Dave metal plates in his bones — a clear nod to Wolverine — and deadened nerve-endings, more than enough to ensure he can take a beating, and so the newly named Kick-Ass returns emboldened and rapidly — in just one of the many neat pops at modern culture — becomes an internet celebrity.

But that brings him to the attention of local Mafia boss, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong, continuing his run of menacing bad guys), whose people are being butchered by a superhero. D’Amico, heading for a Scarface-esque meltdown, thinks Kick-Ass is responsible and, with the aid of his wannabe superhero son, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, showing another string to the McLovin bow) tries to hunt him down. But the real culprits are Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, a father-daughter vigilante team who are the Real Deal when it comes to offing bad guys.

Ah yes, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. One of Kick-Ass’ many glorious perversions of the superhero genre is the admission that none of the main characters is playing with a full deck. At one point, Dave compares himself to a serial killer, pushing his fantasy into reality for bigger kicks, and while the motivations of our heroic crimefighters may be noble — essentially, with no power comes great responsibility — their methods and behaviour is borderline bonkers.

But the father-daughter team who propel both the plot and most of the film’s genuinely world-class action sequences are something else entirely. A former hero cop with a wispy ’tache on his upper lip and vengeance on his mind, Big Daddy has spent years of his life training his 11 year-old daughter, Mindy (Chloe Moretz), into becoming a pint-sized Angel Of Death. When we first meet them, he’s shooting her at point-blank range then buying her ice cream. They are, the pair of them, batshit deranged. They are, the pair of them, a complete hoot.

Cage, who’s been on moon-faced auto-pilot for a while now, is a revelation here. Maybe it’s because — whether it’s taking on
a warehouse full of bad guys in a single-shot action scene that bears comparison with Oldboy’s corridor punch-up, or suddenly lurching into a wonderful Adam West impression when speaking as Big Daddy — he’s having fun again. But it’s clear from the first moment we see him, sporting a ’70s gay-bar ’tache and drawling, “Good call, baby doll,” as he shoots his 11 year-old daughter in the chest, that this is the vital, energised, anything goes Cage of yesteryear.

But really, this is Hit-Girl’s show. She’s the character that will
be on most people’s lips when they leave the theatre. Some, especially if they write or read the Daily Mail, will be falling over themselves to decry the character as a shockingly irresponsible, blindly violent encapsulation of everything that’s wrong with modern society. The rest of us, though, will be too busy noting that the film’s violence is clearly fantastical and cartoonish and not to be taken seriously. In fact, as Hit-Girl mows down scores of henchman with murderous élan, like a cross between The Bride and Leon’s Matilda, there’s no doubt that Vaughn has opened a packet of instant icon powder. Just add water.

And, as with Cage and Big Daddy, it’s all in the casting. Vaughn has an unerring eye for talent — would Daniel Craig be Bond without Layer Cake? Would Mark Strong be Hollywood’s go-to bad-guy without a trial run in Stardust? Would Vinnie Jones... okay, we’ll stop there — and in Chloe Moretz, he’s locked in on another sure thing. Mature beyond her years, Moretz is a dab hand with the knives and the cocky one-liners, but never lets us forget that, beneath the bravura and butterfly knives, Hit-Girl is just a kid.

With characters as luminous and exciting as Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, it’d be easy for Kick-Ass to pull a Clooney Batman and get lost in the scrum. But Vaughn, working from a wonderfully zesty screenplay written with Jane Goldman, ensures that the focus remains on Dave.

In fact, the real trick — the genuine triumph — is that Vaughn makes us want to follow Kick-Ass, throwing in all sorts of interesting story wrinkles (the girl he’s after thinks he’s gay, so he plays along) and making Dave’s teen angst compelling in a way that Sam Raimi’s otherwise excellent Spider-Man work missed by a mile. And Johnson — a world away
from Nowhere Boy’s John Lennon — even gets the big, barnstorming, standing ovation hero moment at the end of the film’s insanely OTT finale. We won’t say too much, but for this: you’ll never think of Elvis Presley in the same way again.

But the real hero here is Vaughn, steering this material like he’s been doing it all his life, handling wild tonal shifts with the implacable calm of an opening batsman, and marshalling a series of world-class action scenes, including a standout strobe-light shootout that nails the video-game aesthetic more perfectly than any movie to date, as if he were the bastard son of John Woo and Tony Scott. We’ve still no idea where the heck Kick-Ass came from, but we’re glad it did.


Verdict
A ridiculously entertaining, perfectly paced, ultra-violent cinematic rush that kicks the places other movies struggle to reach.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Kick-Ass
Empire Star Rating

Five stars for this??? Honestly.

Even 4 would be very generous. How can be it ridiculously entertaining when it's same old fare we've all seen umpteen times before? Cut-cut-cut, slow-mo/speed up/slo speed up/flying through the air/tons of badly aimed bullets/rip-off Matrix and John Woo etc. I don't see anything special about this, the only USP it seems to attempt is "How would trying to be a superhero pan out in reality?" but it soon plunges into a daft fantasy world that's no different from any other superhero movie. It felt... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by G MAN at 20:38, 17 August 2013 | Report This Post


Terrific entertainment

For the most part I really like this movie. I would love it if it weren't for the somewhat unnecessary VoiceOver, the ugly vibe I get from the scene where the Kick-Ass impersonator gets capped, and - as I've come to expect from Matthew Vaughn movies - the pretty crap special effects. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT the kind of filmgoer who considers that a serious flaw in a movie. It's the CGI blood in particular that really annoys me and often takes me out of the film (it's just a personal thing -... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 19:55, 18 March 2013 | Report This Post


Kick-Ass

Some will find it highly offensive, while others will immediately want to sign themselves up on the cult list. Not for the faint of heart, but Kick-Ass is violent, hilarious, moving and outrageous. Its postmodern script is translated to screen amazingly by its great cast and irresistible humor. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 05:01, 18 June 2012 | Report This Post


One of the funniest films i've seen, brilliant fight scenes, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mark Strong and Aaron Johnson are all fantastic in the film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gears of Kong at 03:50, 10 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: good but

The only things I liked about this film were: Cage and looking at John Romita Jr Artwork. ... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 17:06, 01 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: good but

The film seems to ridicule unbelievable comic book movies like Batman, then turns into the most ridiculous action movie of the year. Strange. I was loving the movie until Red Mist was introduced. It was all downhill from there... ... More

Posted by Jasper_29 at 16:31, 01 May 2012 | Report This Post


good but

liked the idea this film tried to go not sure a second is needed as nic cage died and would recommend worth a watch however after watching scott pilgrim vs the world sorry kick ass you would take second plac ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chrisharvey1551 at 00:59, 01 February 2012 | Report This Post


What A Film - Excellent

Top Acting, Good Plot, And I Fell In Love With Chloe Moretz !!!! Kick On Number 2 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ryanchallenger at 13:48, 07 January 2012 | Report This Post


What A Film - Excellent

Top Acting, Good Plot, And I Fell In Love With Chloe Moretz !!!! Kick On Number 2 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ryanchallenger at 13:48, 07 January 2012 | Report This Post


Fresh, Daring and Instantly likeable

Despite what you might expect, Kick-Ass isn't as interesting as you hoped and isn't as loveable as Scott Pilgrim versus the world released later that year. That said, there is reason for such praise, it is at times funny and exciting entertainment which seems destined for some iconic status. As for Hit-Girl shes the best thing in this. So much so, that the character as well as Nicholas Cage's Big Daddy outshine everyone else. Not to say that they arent bad, the acting is fine. Yet the viewer may... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 23:48, 20 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Deliriously Entertaining

I thought it was quite a decent film with a relatively realistic approach, until the ending when they added the packsheer stupidity of it all just made the film nosedive in my opinion at that point. A 3/5 ... More

Posted by sanchia at 16:24, 28 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Deliriously Entertaining

Wonderful comedy. It's very violent though. It has superb, almost Hong Kong style action, but it's still a comedy. I laughed so hard at times. I like the references to the superhero genre. Cage is back to what he used to do best: freaking out onscreen. He is enjoying himself inmensely. I read comments on plotholes, sillyness and other serious critique, but all ofi this is useless. This is not a serious action movie. It is a comedy in the same mold as Raising Arizona was, or even the fir... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BobM70 at 13:43, 28 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

From one of Edward Nygma's posts, I saw: "8/ Did the mafia guys hire a net designer to set up the whole Kick Ass unmasked online thing? It looks pretty professional. And if so...Why? Who cares if people see Kick Ass unmasked or not, isn't it just risky and ridiculously unnecessary to show themselves online killing these two guys? I really don't get that whole thing. Just kill 'em! WTF???' The mafia goons intended to torture Kick-Ass and give him a horrible death - they believed doing ... More

Posted by VincentOMoh at 05:15, 02 February 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Weird, very weird!

L: Sphinx  Nic Cage plays Big Daddy and has just outed himself in this film as a comic geek, now wrong with that I...guess. asn't naming his son Kal-el after Superman the giveaway? ... More

Posted by Darth Marenghi at 00:41, 25 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

not be as dark or as insightful asent isn’t meant to be think it is a very modern version of nstill dark, but also very entertaining and funny. You can see how they highlight the issues ie the burdens being placed upon the youth of today, in the same manner. ... More

Posted by properdave at 00:32, 25 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Weird, very weird!

Unbelievable. I've been a movie fanatic since the early 90s and I've watched countless films, but I don't remember EVER being so impressed, entertained and downright awed by a film. Courageous, meaningful, funny, stylish, awesome movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bozo at 19:49, 19 October 2010 | Report This Post


Weird, very weird!

This thing takes forever to get going, Aaron Johnson plays the title for no apparent reason other than a brainstorm, Mark Strong has been tangoed and is a bad guy - Cool American accent - Nic Cage plays Big Daddy and has just outed himself in this film as a comic geek, now wrong with that I...guess. There there's the kid that is seemingly the love-child of Kyle Reece and Beatrix Kiddo, INSANE!! This film is like marmite, works for some not others I'm still making my mind up - the action w... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sphinx at 21:34, 16 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Kick-Ass

I LOVE kick-ass its my favourite film of all time, i pre-ordered it just so i would get it as soon as it was released, i've watched it so many times and i still think its amazing, it covers a variety of genres and is extremly emotive, i've cried, laughed got excited its unreal. All of the cast deserve praise their all extremly talented. I also love Christopher Mintz-Plasse aka Red Mist <3 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by carolanne93 at 18:34, 26 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

The appeal of the superhero genre lies mostly in its escapism. Fans of Superman and Spiderman love the stories partly because they like to picture themselves having the heroes’ powers and living in the heroes’ world. The evolution of special effects technology has meant an increase in superhero movies because a realistically-rendered version of a world with superheroes helps us pretend that one exists. Even with the joys of its escapism, there exists a temptation to expose an uglier, reali... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by McGeesJabberwock at 17:20, 26 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: horribleives L: Edward Nygma Ugh...listen. I didn't make the film this clunky, ok? After reading your various inaccurate descriptions of it, I'd say you have. don't think I've been inacurrate, I've only been asking questions in order to understand if the many things that annoyed me about this film were indeed plotholes or stuff that was just skipped quickly in the narrative that I didn't get. So far only jobloffski has managed to clarify certain things and respond with... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 14:51, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: adambatman82 L: Edward Nygma L: adambatman82 L: Edward Nygma 2/ Are you sure? lol Maybe you're right. I guess I need to double check that.../quote] Yeah he's right. And Big Daddy as billionaire? They had a ton of money from all the bad guys they'd robbed. 3 million dollars is the figure Hit Girl gives at the end. Between them HG and BD have pretty much brought than a drug empire, I think they'd have plenty of money. I think its a little unfai... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 14:38, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: Edward Nygma Ugh...listen. I didn't make the film this clunky, ok? sp; After reading your various inaccurate descriptions of it, I'd say you have. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 13:31, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: ScrumpyJoe Guilty f? ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 11:49, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

Guilty ... More

Posted by ScrumpyJoe at 01:58, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: Edward Nygma L: adambatman82 L: Edward Nygma 2/ Are you sure? lol Maybe you're right. I guess I need to double check that.../quote] Yeah he's right. And Big Daddy as billionaire? They had a ton of money from all the bad guys they'd robbed. 3 million dollars is the figure Hit Girl gives at the end. Between them HG and BD have pretty much brought than a drug empire, I think they'd have plenty of money. I think its a little unfair of you to make so much ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 21:56, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


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