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Reviews
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
Your new favourite film is here...


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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

RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: Edward Nygma L: BOHEMIANBOB Mr Nygma,you're being a bit silly here!Have the Pilgrimistas sent you out to slander this decent film? became a Pilgrimisto all on my own. list of questions,as said before,could be applied to any film,particularly of this genre. all films of this genre are as inconsistent and uneven as Kick Ass. Maybe Spiderman 3 or Fantastic Four...no that's a bit harsh. holes?Pilgrim??Please!!?? re an ex boyfriend missing? I counted 7... is adult entertainment a... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 21:17, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

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 of these alleged plothole... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 19:48, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Kick-Ass

I just did a second reaction piece on the film for my website. -Ass, 2010. Matthew Vaughn. US/UK When Stan Lee created Spider-Man in 1968 he brought with him a legendary tagline that would go on to define an era of comic books. The declaration that “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” is one that seems like a far more appropriate slogan for Kick-Ass than the overtly smart postmodern idiom actually attached to the film (“With No Power Comes No Responsibility). The power of the ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 19:44, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Kick-Ass

So this all comes down to a comparison between Pilgrim and Kick-Ass? Suddenly the pettiness all makes sense. I really hope nobody attempts to deconstruct the plot holes of Pilgrim, we'll be here all day. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 19:43, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: BOHEMIANBOB Mr Nygma,you're being a bit silly here!Have the Pilgrimistas sent you out to slander this decent film? became a Pilgrimisto all on my own. list of questions,as said before,could be applied to any film,particularly of this genre. all films of this genre are as inconsistent and uneven as Kick Ass. Maybe Spiderman 3 or Fantastic Four...no that's a bit harsh. holes?Pilgrim??Please!!?? re an ex boyfriend missing? I counted 7... is adult entertainment aimed at a more discerning... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 19:35, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

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 of these alleged plotholes, when in fact it pre... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 10:31, 12 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

Mr Nygma,you're being a bit silly here!Have the Pilgrimistas sent you out to slander this decent film? Your list of questions,as said before,could be applied to any film,particularly of this genre. Plot holes?Pilgrim??Please!!?? This is adult entertainment aimed at a more discerning audience than Pigrim(i'm using this film as you mentioned this on that thread). It doesn't pretend to be Spiderman,and is all the better for it. At the end of the year,there will be more stand out scenes/l... More

Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 23:39, 11 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: jobloffski Like Edward Nygma, I've seen this film twice. I'm not having a go, just trying to offer answers to the questions... L: Edward Nygma Ugh...I hate to do this to you guys. I really do. Ok, so I saw Kick Ass a second time in order to really figure out if I was crazy or if that film was really really not that good. As people all around me buzz around that film with a twisted perception that it is amazing and right up there with The Dark Knight (gasp), I'm ju... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 15:25, 11 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

Like Edward Nygma, I've seen this film twice. I'm not having a go, just trying to offer answers to the questions... L: Edward Nygma Ugh...I hate to do this to you guys. I really do. Ok, so I saw Kick Ass a second time in order to really figure out if I was crazy or if that film was really really not that good. As people all around me buzz around that film with a twisted perception that it is amazing and right up there with The Dark Knight (gasp), I'm just gonna lay out my ... More

Posted by jobloffski at 18:10, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: Edward Nygma L: horribleives Yeah but, come on, 'jetpacks don't exist'? As far as I know neither do invincible11 year old killing machines. ave you ever trained an 11 year old to become an invincible killing machine? Huh? But yeah, fine, I'll suspend my disbelief for that particular Bond gadget. It's still a very inconsistent film. There's like 5 films in one. The whole point of the premise is that a normal kid tries to be a superhero in the real world, so if you start add... More

Posted by horribleives at 15:00, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: horribleives Yeah but, come on, 'jetpacks don't exist'? As far as I know neither do invincible11 year old killing machines. ave you ever trained an 11 year old to become an invincible killing machine? Huh? But yeah, fine, I'll suspend my disbelief for that particular Bond gadget. It's still a very inconsistent film. There's like 5 films in one. The whole point of the premise is that a normal kid tries to be a superhero in the real world, so if you start adding jetpacks and set... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 14:41, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

Yeah but, come on, 'jetpacks don't exist'? As far as I know neither do invincible11 year old killing machines. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 13:22, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: lankeymarlon You could deconstruct any film with silly questions like that. disagree. Only films with gaping plot holes the size of Finland! 'm not nitpicking here, these are things which genuinely bothered me watching the film on a non-critical level. I don't go into a film over analysing it. But if something just stands out as a blatant mistake or problem, it just stands out you know? These plot holes and clunky moments made the tone of the film all over the place for me and I cou... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 12:35, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: elab49 L: Edward Nygma Ugh...I hate to do this to you guys. I really do. Ok, so I saw Kick Ass a second time in order to really figure out if I was crazy or if that film was really really not that good. As people all around me buzz around that film with a twisted perception that it is amazing and right up there with The Dark Knight (gasp), I'm just gonna lay out my reasons for not liking it and you can tell me if I'm crazy or not. Or if I've missed something. Here are a ... More

Posted by Edward Nygma at 12:28, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

You could deconstruct any film with silly questions like that. ... More

Posted by lankeymarlon at 10:07, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: Edward Nygma Ugh...I hate to do this to you guys. I really do. Ok, so I saw Kick Ass a second time in order to really figure out if I was crazy or if that film was really really not that good. As people all around me buzz around that film with a twisted perception that it is amazing and right up there with The Dark Knight (gasp), I'm just gonna lay out my reasons for not liking it and you can tell me if I'm crazy or not. Or if I've missed something. Here are a few questions I ... More

Posted by horribleives at 03:23, 10 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

L: Edward Nygma Ugh...I hate to do this to you guys. I really do. Ok, so I saw Kick Ass a second time in order to really figure out if I was crazy or if that film was really really not that good. As people all around me buzz around that film with a twisted perception that it is amazing and right up there with The Dark Knight (gasp), I'm just gonna lay out my reasons for not liking it and you can tell me if I'm crazy or not. Or if I've missed something. Here are a few questions I ... More

Posted by elab49 at 23:06, 09 September 2010 | Report This Post


The Kick Ass Trial (dun dun duuun)

Ugh...I hate to do this to you guys. I really do. Ok, so I saw Kick Ass a second time in order to really figure out if I was crazy or if that film was really really not that good. As people all around me buzz around that film with a twisted perception that it is amazing and right up there with The Dark Knight (gasp), I'm just gonna lay out my reasons for not liking it and you can tell me if I'm crazy or not. Or if I've missed something. Here are a few questions I really need answers t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Edward Nygma at 22:39, 09 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Kick-Ass

A GREAT film. I am really looking forward to seeing the second instalment, hopefully it won't disappoint. Everyone should see this film, the Nicholas Cage scene in the factory is BREATH-TAKING. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by velpix at 18:16, 05 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Up there with The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2

Much as I loved the film, it still really bothers me that Matthew Vaughn's a posh tory. I wish it was like the olden days when they kept it behind closed doors. What consenting adults choose to do in a ballot box is their own business but must they rub our noses in it? You couldn't make it up, hell in a handcart etc, etc. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 06:34, 23 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Up there with The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2

Personally I thought the movie was very entertaining in pieces, and awful in others. Hit girl, funny enough I suppose, maybe the concept more than the execution. She curses. Great. Hilarious. She kills bad guys. Cool. At least it's an improvement. However, I find her trying way too hard to be controversial. She mentions that they have a signal in the shape of a giant cock, which I thought was one of the most awful pieces of writing ever. Wit Subtlety and imagination will always override sheer v... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dahughesy at 21:59, 22 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Up there with The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2

Saw this again recently and haven't changed my mind - about halfway through it just gives up on its initially intriguing premise and becomes like any other superhero movie (albeit more violent). It's watchable but ultimately has little of importance to say about the genre.  ... More

Posted by hatebox at 21:25, 22 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Up there with The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2

I didn't think too much of it, to be honest. I certainly don't think it a 5-star film (and I expect a few will reassess their initial views when this comes up for repeat viewings). It was certainly entertaining, but it felt like standard teen-fodder with superhero action in it. The set pieces were immense, the script was funny, but it lacked something for me. Despite it being an original concept, it felt quite generic. I will watch again in case I missed it, but it wasn't any near a... More

Posted by UTB at 14:59, 22 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Up there with The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2

Loved it! I didn't think I would like this (a friend told me it was a Kill Bill remake with teenagers!) but I thoroughly enjoyed it.   Great performances from all leads, but especially Christopher Mintz Plasse - more Red Mist please! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tompy100 at 01:58, 17 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Up there with The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2

L: kumar I thought this was rubbish, i dont understand where all the love for it has come, just because it has violence and swears. I watched it all and other than Mclovins nice car and the main guys girlfriends almost naked rack, there wasnt much that perked my interest. I clearly must have been missing something, but i dont think i will be watching this ever again. Pure rubbish. loved the honest, dark humour, tongue in cheek and self aware nature of the film. Kickass is ... well an i... More

Posted by the anomaly at 23:45, 16 August 2010 | Report This Post


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