Dave Lizewski is a typical white, male, suburban teen. He talks games and comics with his buddies, Todd and Marty, fascinates over the female species, and wonders why his life is meaningless and transparent. He questions the routine and mundane, without ever trying to overcome it…
…until the day he decides that you don’t need super powers to be a super hero.
Dave decides he’s going to break the mold. He is tired of handing over his lunch money and his cell phone. He’s tired of being invisible. He breaks onto the scene in his vibrant green costume, patrolling the streets, intent on rising above the status quo. His first endeavor into heroism is a miserable failure, leading to a hospital stay and questions about his sexual orientation. Still, Dave (I swear he’s a Taurus) hops right back on the hero bike and starts pedaling again. Through fate, luck and chance, Kick-Ass succeeds in his next mission, while being broadcast on the Internet by some mesmerized fans.
Soon, Kick-Ass is the new, mysterious hero on the block. His services are in demand. His legacy drives tens of thousands of hits to his MySpace page. Views of theYouTube video documenting his crime fighting numbers in the millions. As Kick-Ass grows in popularity, Dave grows in confidence and gains the misplaced trust of the girl of his dreams, Katie.
Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca of The Young and the Restless, How I Met Your Mother) asks Dave for his help in fending off her ex-boyfriend, Rasul. Dave obliges, stepping into the lair of drug-trafficker Rasul, issuing a warning about the consequences of messing with Katie. Rasul’s goons proceed to set Kick-Ass up for certain failure.
That’s when another hero enters the picture. Rasul’s goons are stabbed, cut, sliced, choked and disemboweled by a tiny spitfire with purple hair. When the smoke clears, Kick-Ass is introduced to a pair of crime fighters with skills, organization and methods that make him look like an amateur. The youngster is Hit Girl (Moretz, activating a sailor’s mouth she never revealed in “My Friends Tigger & Pooh”) and Big Daddy (none other than Nicholas Cage.) Kick-Ass heads home and is nearly scared into calling it quits, until the dynamic duo show up in his room and to him how easily he was found, and how important it is that their identities remain secret.
No good hero flick is complete without villains. In Kick-Ass, the enemy is crime kingpin, Frank D’Amico (Strong). Frank’s drug empire is coming unglued, thanks to attacks by some mysterious hero. As Frank targets Kick-Ass, his son Chris begs to be a part of the family business. Once the mysterious avenger takes down another leg of Frank’s organization, Chris volunteers a very special method of gaining the trust of Kick-Ass, and finding the answers, proving his wealth to his father’s business.
The showdown of good vs. evil is brilliantly executed under Vaughn’s direction. Johnson is delightful as the awkward Dave and wannabe title hero. The action scenes, especially those of Hit Girl, are peppered with upbeat songs from Joan Jett, The Dickies and Prodigy. The film’s third act may feature the greatest use of an Elvis song since, well, Elvis. The extended scene featuring Hit Girl’s merciless fighting was met with applause by the audience in the theater.
Kick-Ass may seem like a kids’ hero flick, but it isn’t. The language alone should keep any toddlers or tweens out of the theater. The MPAA was right on track with this film’s R rating. The combination of over-the-top violence and language justifies it.
Kick-Ass is based on the graphic novel written and drawn by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The awkward heroes are brought to life with great performances. Johnson (Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging) is every wishful-thinking do-gooder suburbanite teen, complete with sexual curiosity. Moretz steals every scene she’s in. Cage is delightful in his combined role of father, trainer and vigilante. The villains are hysterically stereotypical.
Kick-Ass is a hero movie with a heart; where the good guys have the right motives and the bad guys are in it for their own benefit. Kick-Ass does just that; it kicks ass.
Check out the film’s official site at www.kickass-themovie.com.