That line from Kick Ass pretty much sums up the meta-message for Kick Ass the movie.
Underdogs need to take a beating before they can prevail. The trial by fire is an all important aspect of the mythos. Kick Ass posits the theory that in order to become a superhero, all you really need is the power to get your ass kicked.
I have to say that the moment that I heard the HR Puff-n-Stuff theme song being used as background score for a Hit Girl fight scene, I knew that I had to see this movie.
I wasn't entirely disappointed. To get the bad stuff out of the way up front: the flick suffered from the almost inevitable middle of the movie drag. (One of the things that distinguishes a Batman, Spiderman, Ironman - indeed any of the truly successful superhero movies - from run of the mill superhero movie is the eradication of that slow transitional phase from back story/origin to full-fledged avenger kicking ass and taking names.)
Kick Ass does not avoid this problem. On the other hand, that's about it for major issues. Minor issues? Some of the acting was a bit dry. The balance between comedy and drama was not always there.
Spoilers from here on out.
Kick Ass/Dave was presented seriously, with most of the funny lines given to Big Daddy/Nicolas Cage and the henchmen of Frank D'Amico/the bad guy drug kingpin (all of whom died.). I expect that this was deliberate; perhaps someone really doesn't like comedy, or
considering that Cage did a not-half-bad impression of Adam West doing Batman when he appeared as Big Daddy, I suspect that keeping KA serious was a stab at the notion of not taking superheros seriously.
On the other hand, there is Hit Girl.
Chloe Moretz is now a hit.
"I think I'm in love."
"But she's an eleven year old girl!"
"I can wait."
These lines delivered by Dave's high school friends pretty much sums things up. School girl uniforms and double Glocks DO go together!
The controversy surrounding the presentation of Hit Girl (both dialogue and action) are well-covered elsewhere. All I can say on that score is, it didn't bother me.
There are some messages delivered, chief among them is the soliloquy delivered by Dave/Kick-Ass during his first 'successful' encounter on the streets (defending someone from three attackers). Unfortunately, I don't have a script to draw from, but the essence is: if the underdogs of this world are ever going to make a change for the better, they have to expect to get their asses kicked in the process. That's a small price to pay for justice, fairness and doing the right thing.
Those lines (scripted far better than my summary) launch a viral internet following for Kick-Ass and get the whole ball rolling for the good guys vs bad guys action that comes later.
The film is also homage to just about every superhero flick you could mention, from the Batman TV series to the Matrix (I'm wondering if there is any deliberate connection between Dave's green costume and the Hulk...?)
Heading back over to the ultra-critical side: there seemed to be some attempt at delivering Tarantinoesque mayhem, but the stride just wasn't right: Tarantino's epic fight scenes are delivered as carefully staged vignettes, set-pieces that are almost little movies in and of themselves; iconography substitutes successfully for explanation, odd angles of facial expressions substitute for dialogue. Kick-Ass's versions of the same flowed from previous scenes, rather than being set aside and almost, thought not quite, delivered the expected level of emotional reaction.
If I were grading, I think I'd give Kick-Ass a B+. Hit Girl is going to become the standout takeaway from this flick and I have no doubt that we'll be seeing a sequel, one that will probably continue to draw off of serious superhero flicks, poke some fun at them but in the end deliver the same kind of message/wrapped in satisfying revenge fantasy.
The WIFE assures me that Big Daddy will be back....
What did you think of this review?