Kick Ass is like some secret guilty pleasure; morally moribund, so un-PC as to be off the chart and yet laugh-out-loud funny, thrilling and a blast of chilli-hot air after the anodyne likes of The Blind Side.
Whereas some films based on comic books up the reality factor so although you still don’t believe in the superhuman powers at least you believe in in the hero’s mortality, Kick Ass literally kicks that all aside and takes you into a cartoon world where ultra-violence can be perpetrated and yet the good guys still walk away almost entirely intact.
Our hero is nerdy Dave (Aaron Johnson) picked on at school by bullies and desperately dreaming of emulating his cartoon superheroes, so he buys a lurid-coloured wet suit over the internet to be his costume and invents his own superhuman character – Kick Ass. But soon Kick Ass is in way over his head when his attempts to stop the bad guys (led by a suitably villainous Mark Strong) lead him straight into the path of 11-year-old assassin Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and her father Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a pair of violent vigilantes who have more training, fire power and predatory instincts than he’ll ever have.
Kick Ass’s attempts to teach the bad guys a lesson turns into full on war and the result is simply astonishing; seeing an 11-year-old slicing someone’s legs off while using the c-word is so off the radar of what we accept as right and proper there’s a moment of stunned silence in the cinema before the audience bursts into peals of guilty laughter. While your conscience will be telling you this is all wrong, you’ll be able to justify Kick Ass as entertainment because it’s based on a comic book – it simply isn’t real.
Director Matthew Vaughn, who showed such promise with Layer Cake, ups the ante here delivering the most outrageous image of cartoon violence in a film which is more comic comedy than comic horror than you’ll have ever seen on the big screen (although watching Mark Strong punch an 11-year-old in the face is rather unsettling, even if she’s trying to kill him in return).
The acting from everyone involved is fantastic, particularly Chloe Moretz who comes on like one of the pre-pubescent go-go dancers from the Banana Splitz albeit armed with ultra-mean knuckledusters. There’s a fantastic scene between Kick Ass and another wannabe superhero named Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) in his remodelled car the Mist Mobile that is just so spot on in its depiction of teen angst and the desire to look cool you’ll be punching the air going ‘yes!’
So, just put your moral misgivings aside and watch what is simply one of the most audacious, provocative, entertaining movies around. Kick Ass? You bet!