Okay you cunts let’s see what you can do now!

Tuesday 23rd February 2010

Kick-Ass (2010)

Before you ask, yes – the rather crude line you read above was exclaimed by the cute as a button 11 year old Mindy (AKA Hit Girl) you see above you. Shortly before she brutally massacres a room full of gangsters. I’m talking decapitations, limbs flying all over the shot.

It was, to be quite frank, fucking brilliant.

Yes it’s questionable that we should be take such enjoyment from the sight of such a young girl exclaiming the worst of all profanities and performing such acts of violence (and lets be honest, what comes out of her mouth is literally nothing compared to what she does with her feet and fists). And sure its kind of sad when you think that it wasn’t that long ago that you’d never in a million years hear ‘the c-word’ in a picture – I even blush at writing it here – but now it comes out of the mouth of a sweet 11 year old girl (actually played by 13 year old Chloë Moretz – not that it makes a difference). But hell this is a comic book movie, its OTT, it pushes the boundaries of believability, and actually – and I wasn’t even going to go here – but a reasonable number of 11 year old girls these days probably do say such things and worse. Hopefully, they don’t chop people up with ninja swords and shoot the crap out of people but like I say, we’re pushing the boundaries of believability here.

Lets be honest Hit Girl completely stole the show, and in my eyes is one of the most brilliantly enjoyable characters ever commited to celluloid. I’m almost 30 and I feel like I want to plaster my walls with Hit Girl posters. One way or another everyone is going to be talking about her. The Daily Mail will no doubt have a few things to say about her and I seriously worry about the movie’s potential in the more conservatively minded US of A because of her role, but maybe the world will surprise us all. One things for sure – everyone in the packed out Odeon Leicester Square screening I was in were going nuts for Hit Girl. She literally got about three ovations as the film progressed and many more belly laughs. Not because its cute to see a young girl swear and hurt people, but because she was a perfectly crafted, cool as a cucumber character. She was brilliantly written and, for such a young actress with such a demanding role, absolutley brilliantly performed. This was a truly career defining role and Moretz barely seems to break sweat, totally knocking it out of the park. I truly hope her career goes from strength to strength and doesn’t go tits up like so many child actors. Decent turns already in 500 Days Of Summer and Not Forgotten suggest that hopefully she’s got what it takes.

I don’t want to spend the whole time rabbiting on about Hit Girl and Chloë Moretz though. Aaron Johnson (Dave Lizewski / Kick Ass), Nicholas Cage (Damon Macready / Big Daddy), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Chris D’Amico / Red Mist), Clarke Duke (Marty) all performed their roles near-perfectly. Nick Cage’s apparently ad-libbed Adam West take on Big Daddy was hilarious, and this was a role that almost made me forget Ghost Rider and that sickmaking moment when he exclaimed ‘Let’s Ride’ in the latter film.

On the subject of comic books, the fact that I haven’t even mentioned the original Mark Millar comic yet, surely says something of what high regard I hold this film in. Yes comic book adapatations are rarely great, but this one arguably even surpasses the comic. (Am I being to effusive enough with my praise here?) I think the fact that the film gestated roughly at the same time as the comic, and that the script for the film was written before the comic had even completed its initial run certainly helped. The film takes all the best bits of the comic – the nice post-modern touches and the harshly brilliant violence – and fleshes them out and basically runs wild them. So bowled over was I with the strength of the adaptation that I almost approached screenwriter Jane Goldman, who was sat behind me with husband Jonathan Ross and family, and gushed forth with praise. I managed to maintain my composure though.

Bottom line is I left the film completely overcome with childish glee. There are so many moments when you just want to pump your fists in the air and scream YES YES YES over and over. I spoke a lot recently of experiencing a similar sort of childish glee after seeing Avatar on 3D Imax – that kind of feeling that you just don’t get that often at the cinema as an adult. Imax Avatar was cinema as spectacle and I loved the cinematic experience of it all, but as so many people have commented the plotline of Avatar was nothing short of warmed up Disney. Kick-Ass on the other hand was the complete package – a lesson, if you will, in how all blockbusters really should be made. It had everything – the acting, the characters, the writing, the laughs, the action scenes (Jeeesus – the action scenes! We’re talking John Woo-esque mind blowing stuff here). Bare in mind also this was a pretty much independently funded film done outside the studio system – (lets be honest – no studio would have allowed Matthew Vaughn such freedom). Hopefully if this film is the success it truly deserves to be, it will give studios and producers a much needed kick up the ass when it comes to making event pictures. Making a blockbuster doesn’t necessarily have to mean leaving originality and any sense of tangible storyline at the door. Shock bloody horror!

It really is hard for me to be so effusive with my praise. Those who know me, will know I’m a tough marker and a tough man to please when it come to cinema. But as joyous, thrill-riding, shit-kicking, smiling from ear to ear cinema goes Kick-Ass well… kicks ass. Kicks every kind of ass. Everywhere. Ever.

And if you need any more convincing – about a third of the way through the movie, in one of the comic book store scenes you can see in the backround a lanky dude wearing a backback lumbering along the pavement outside the window of the store. And that my friends, is your humble writer, and how proud I am to be part of such a fantastic film (albeit quite possibly the smallest part ever). This time next year…

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