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Based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The rights to create a film version of Kick Ass were sold before the first issue of the comic was published. However getting a movie studio to back the production was a much tougher task. Sony asked them to tone down the violence and many other studios couldn’t accept the character Hit-Girl, a twelve year old killer with a mouth so blue Roy Chubby Brown would be ashamed, so director Matthew Vaughn set about to release the film independently.
Rights groups protested after an uncensored preview was released in January 2010 featuring Hit-Girl (played by Chloe Moretz, only eleven at the time of filming) uttering the C-bomb. Christopher Mintz-Plasse who plays Red Mist said it best when he questioned why people were so upset with the language and not the number of people killed by Hit-Girl.
All the controversy and pain of getting this movie made aside, Kick Ass paid off with sequel talk already exciting Matthew Vaughn and Chloe Moretz. But what is it about Kick Ass that makes it so popular?
When teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) asks why there are no real superheroes in the world he buys himself a scuba divers outfit for a costume and sets out to fight crime. In his first act of vigilante justice he is brought down to size but finds himself popular with the citizens. Going by the moniker Kick Ass, Dave finds himself embroiled in a much bigger fight between a former cop now known as Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his ruthless daughter Hit Girl trying to bring down an evil drug lord, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong).
Ultra violent doesn’t really cover this, it’s brutal, it’s ruthless and it’s hilarious. Does it glamorise violence? After watching the beatings all the characters take, I for one won’t be donning a mask anytime soon. Does it push the envelope too far? After all it does have an eleven year old swearing and taking bullets…hell no! This isn’t an exploitation film, it’s a love story, a character journey dressed in lycra.
Visually this compares well to the comics, it’s not Watchman-like frame for frame and in some areas deviates from the paper counterpart quite dramatically. Love interest Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca) is hardly as ferocious as she appears in the graphic novel and the actual history of Big Daddy has been amended for simplicity.
One of the things to stand out in this film for me was the score, not so much the soundtrack which is fronted by Mika, but the score features a couple of tracks from John Murphy. Admittedly both tracks that have appeared in other films like “Sunshine” and “28 Days Later” but they added to the tension of the film and juxtaposed beautifully with the violence on screen.
Vaughn originally wanted Brad Pitt to play the role of Big Daddy, when he couldn’t get him he signed on as a producer instead to offer some big name support to the film no one wanted. Nic Cage originally auditioned for the role of Frank D’Amico however was given Big Daddy and he quite possibly steals the show. Basing his hero persona on 1960s Batman and Quahog’s Mayor – Adam West – brings some great humour, especially to those old enough to get the reference.
Hilariously entertaining, brutally violent, this movie does exactly what it says on the tin. It kicks ass!