Saturday, 27 March 2010

REVIEW: Kick-Ass

Fuck. I really didn't want this to happen. Not again. First there was Zombieland, where the rest of the the world saw an amalgamation of awesome featuring two parts treacly irony and one part Woody Harrelson killing things with a spade, I saw a two-parts half-assed, intermittently funny movie with some good qualities but a few bad ones. And one part Woody Harrelson killing shit with a spade. Then there was Avatar which the world collectively moistened for, with the words 'best movie ever' being bandied about and people literally blowing their brains out because Pandora didn't actually exist. Me? I saw a movie version of one of the PS one Final Fantasies, with about the same level of dialogue. Alas, I am destined be the blogger version of Dr James Wilson. A buzzkill forever. And even as you curse my kill joying name, I think I'm going to do this to Kick Ass too. Although to a lesser extent.

Because I did like Kick-Ass. I honestly did. And if it was just some movie I saw, I probably would have written a glowing review. But no, people had to jump on their soapbox calling it a genre masterpiece, giving it five stars and shit and now I feel compelled to call out the overrated card. I don't want to, but my inner pedantic asshole says I must and who am I to argue with that dude. So here's the deal. Kick-Ass pitches itself as almost the Scream of the super-hero genre, a revisionist take on old material, in which it rips it lovingly whilst giving some good superhero action on its merit. Its no Scream, it has not the sense of nostalgia, the wit or the cleverness. And to be honest, the dorky teen kid discovering his manhood and getting the girl by killing stuff is something that barely escapes jerk-off fantasy, yet its done here and not in a way that I particularly cared for. Aaron Johnson tries, and has an earnestness about him that's hard to entirely hate, but the character is too duller cutout and its almost as if the movie forgot itself so Mark Millar could live out his irrelevant cheerleader banging fantasy, which is almost entirely forgotten for the final act, the film's best, yet we spend way too much time with it, which certainly anesthetized my buzz.

This a shame, because the stuff with Nicolas Cage's Big Daddy and Chloe Moretz's Hitgirl is beyond awesome. Its the right mixture of twisted and eclectic, and the action that either of them is involved in ( particularly Hitgirl) is too entertaining for words. It seems like a cheap joke to have an 11 year old girl make like Chow Yun Fat, but its one that fucking works. If the movie had been their story, I'd probably be writing a 9/10 review right now, but as its stands the movie gets too caught up with Johnson, and similarly I'm not convinced that Christopher Mintze-Plasse has anything more to offer then his McLovin archetype. And Mark Strong's gangster villain was way too generic for a film of this kind. He's not bad or anything, but the movie deserved something a bit better. In fact, as a comedy, Kick-ass hits and misses, as a genre pastiche it pretty much misses, aside from an awesome joke of Kick-Ass getting, erm, taken down quite badly on his first heroic venture (I don't want to spoil the movie's best joke.) As an action movie, however, It fucking owns. I've not seen killing on camera been done with such inventiveness and glee in a long time, and also these scenes seem to coincide with Cage and Moretz being on screen, and when they are I too am watching the film that everyone else is seeing.

For me, the film is a broad, flawed but entertaining ride. A monolithic guilty pleasure but only a good movie. For me at least. The buzzkill has had its day.

Rating: 7/10

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