31 March 2011


Kick-Ass: This is a one joke movie. . .but it’s a pretty good joke. An eleven-old-girl (played by a kid named Chloe Grace Moretz, in the best tween girl performance since Natalie Portman in The Professional) is a potty-mouthed, conscienceless killing machine Super Hero-ette named Hit Girl who, costumed in plaid schoolgirl skirt with pink utility belt, black mask and purple wig, mows down (in hyper-speed) rooms full of colored drug dealers and mafiosos to a blaring Banana Splits soundtrack. The story of how this kid became Hit Girl (and all the rest of the film’s Super Hero-cum-teen angst back story, which encompasses more than a few uninteresting characters), isn’t worth bothering with. Asian filmmakers wouldn’t even have tried to construct a story line, they would have just shot 90 minutes of school girl mayhem, flavored with a more potent blend of the pedophilia that is clumsily half-hinted at here. Excepting the presence of Nicolas Cage, who gives a retro-Cage quirky performance as Hit Girl’s Adam West-imitating faux-Batman Big Daddy dad (which I guess elevates this movie to one-and-a-half joke status), the movie becomes an exercise in tedium whenever Hit Girl makes an exit. In fact, I almost gave up on this thing as just another overdone post-modern comic book movie. . .at least 40 minutes must have passed before Hit Girl made her genuinely spectacular entrance, and I was just about to hit the eject button on the dvd, but then, well, Hit Girl happened (see the crappy video copy below), and I stayed for the rest. . .though drumming my fingers through all the non-Hit Girl and Big Daddy scenes. Is there enough here to keep most mature viewers *engaged?* Probably not. But then I’m the type who gets all mushy for the expressionistic family sentimentality that sustains the Hit Girl/Big Daddy relationship (nicely contrasted with the sterile relations between Kick-Ass, the movie’s teen boy Super Hero, and his parents), and the Big-Daddy-burning-to-death scene nearly moved me to tears. . .so, you have to be sick-and-tired of what passes for AmerICKan screen realism (see the lifeless-but-critically-lauded Winter’s Bone, for example, with features the soul-less family love which the critics must experience in *real life*--the love which is posed) to enjoy this kind of thing. Let’s just hope Kick-Ass II resurrects Big Daddy and sends all of Kick-Ass I’s tiresome teen angst straight to Hell.

[I would be remiss, as they say, if I did not mention the disturbing *The Passion of the Hit Girl* scene near the movie’s end, wherein our little hero-ette becomes a mafia punching bag. In a movie full of obvious comic book violence, this short scene degenerates into something ugly. . .it’s a nasty little scar on an otherwise happy bit of nonsense.]

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