Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kick-Ass - Home Video Review

Release Date: April 16, 2010

She will kick your ass and you will love every minute of it

I will admit whole heartily that I absolutely adore this film so this may end up being a little biased, just a forewarning. I saw it twice in the theater and tried to get as many people as I could out there to go see and support it. Unfortunately that was all in vane though due to the limited success it had during it's theatrical run. What was it exactly that made it click with me so well...there were two elements that really hooked me and lured me in. The first would have to be the most obvious to anyone that has even seen the trailer which is of course Hit Girl and just how completely bad ass she is. The second was an aspect that I didn't really see as a big draw at first and that was the relationship that Hit Girl has with her dad, Big Daddy. Let it be known, this movie is owned by Hit Girl even though she doesn't have the top billing or the movie named after her.

Now, yes this movie is called "Kick-Ass" and is fundamentally about that character but maybe because of my age or how I view (or don't view) comic books, I couldn't really identify with that character's journey on any real level. Sure, I understood his journey but never got connected enough with him and his troubles to really ever give much of a dam. Although, his story intertwined with the vengeful tale of Hit Girl & Big Daddy came together rather nice and I will admit that upon repeat viewings that I have found a good level of enjoyment from Kick-Ass's antics.

Kick-Ass posing for his new-found online fanbase

So, for those that have read this far, here is a quick breakdown on what exactly this fabulous movie is all about. You have Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as your average nobody High School nerd along with his small entourage of wisecracking friends. Along with his wish of just being noticed by High School dreamgirl Katie he also dreams of  making a difference in the world just like the super heroes in his comic books. He soon transforms into the want-to-be hero Kick-Ass, wearing his designer wet suit purchased off the internet.

Meanwhile...there is Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage, National Treasure) and his daugher Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz, 500 Days of Summer) who have vowed to take down the crime lord Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes) as their super hero alter egos Big Daddy and Hit Girl. They have a score to settle with D'Amico and they are taking down his business's and men all over the city while working their way up the food chain to get to him. Bid Daddy has taken it upon himself to train his darling little girl into a deadly and skilled assassin to help aid him in his quest. Kick-Ass eventually finds his way into a mess that only Hit Girl and Big Daddy can save him from and even though they never officially team up, they do form a sort of relationship with each other.

Mindy & her father looking for something to add to their collection

What really grabs me about this film is how empowering the character of Hit Girl is, in a world (the film world that is) where good female roles are few and far between anymore it is really refreshing to find the one main female role in a mostly male dominated movie to be the real stand out and scene stealer. When you see this 11 year old killing machine flip around the room and literally dice her enemies into pieces complete with a look of glee on her face the whole time...well it was quite a rush for me. It's nothing new to people that know me and maybe because of my love for Japanese animation, but I love it when a woman (or in this case a little girl) completely decimates her adversaries. Her being pint sized compared to her victims and still coming off as being an innocent little girl during it all also helps.

The scenes between her father and her are also really fun due to his parental techniques (he will take her for some ice cream only if she lets him shoot her two more times in the chest). He shows his love though by using low velocity bullets so that she doesn't get hurt too much. There is a turning point near the end of the film that I would not dare ruin, but I will admit that I teared up a little and felt the impact of what I had just seen more so than I had expected.

Kick-Ass fighting crime as best he can

Wait a minute...teared up...isn't this supposed to be a comedy? Um...yes and no. There are certainly many comedic moments throughout the movie, most of which are in the first and second act, but by the time you hit the third act it takes on a pretty serious tone. I have heard a lot of complaints about how inconsistent the tone of the movie is with how it is at once making fun of super heroes by having the ones depicted here being grounded in a set reality, only to contradict that by having them do some rather unbelievable stunts near the end. I can see how that could throw a lot of people off, but I embrace it because of that. Watch it for yourself and decide, but for my money I wouldn't have it any other way.

Dave out for a bite with his girl"friend" Katie

As far as the acting/casting is concerned it is stellar across the board. Even D'Amico's son played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) who usually gets on my nerves does fairly well here with his somewhat conflicted portrayal of another super hero, The Red Mist. Mark Strong does a fairly typical bad guy role but is more likable than one would expect, but he is still a pretty bad guy. Kick-Ass's friends have some good moments and the girl that plays Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), the object of his desire is a pretty shallow character but she instills just enough heart into her part that I came away liking the character more than I think I should have.

Of course the leads are all phenomenal, Nicholas Cage is endearing as the father figure and a mixture of deadly and funny as Big Daddy. I am pretty unfamiliar with Aaron Johnson but he left a good impression on me and did fairly well with a somewhat underdeveloped character, at least underdeveloped for him being the main character that is. And (this should come as no surprise) the real star is Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl. Her performance is not just about line delivery (she swears like a sailor) but she underwent a ton of training for the more physical parts of the role. The special features of the Blu-ray show some of the training she underwent and I was impressed by how much of what actually ended up on screen was her doing her own stunts.

Big Daddy & Hit Girl mean business

Just a quickie on the Blu-ray disc and what is included. You get the Blu-ray, a DVD copy, and a digital copy of the movie. The Blu-ray copy is amazing, the picture and audio more than get the job done, I only popped the DVD in for a few minutes but it is a more than adequate copy of the film. As for the digital copy, I am a Zune user and unfortunately for me it is incompatible with my Zune player. I couldn't even get the thing to play using windows media player 11 for windows 7. I eventually got it to play using Microsoft Media Center but I still was pretty disappointed that I couldn't put it on my Zune. The features on the disc are great as well, with a really in-depth making of feature, a good collection of stills, and audio commentary by the director. Well worth the money.

So, even with my biased opinion of my everlasting love for this film I would still warn people to stay away if they are uncomfortable with gratuitous foul language (mostly from an 11 year old girl), some pretty bloody deaths and beatings. Despite the films advertising campaign, it is not a family film at all, keep your kids away (although I suspect we will see a lot of Hit Girls this Halloween regardless). Other than that I cannot recommend this movie enough, if you want some awesome action and some humor to go along with it you really can do no wrong with this. With that I will end this by saying...



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