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Super Bad

by Roger Young / 23.04.2010

Kick Ass is not just all little girls in purple wigs and superhero costumes calling the bad guys “cunts” before killing them with big swords. It’s also not as punchy and lurid as you imagine its going to be, and that is its central saving grace. The humour and action are never so relentless that, like most comic book adaptations, they dehumanize their subjects. Kick Ass is about the humans and not the costumes, but still has plenty ass kicking set pieces to go around.

By day Kick Ass is an comic book nerd who dreams of being a superhero, he decides to get himself a costume, sets out to fight crime and becomes an internet sensation. (But seriously, he has a Myspace page, what century was this film made in?). Employing his “superhero” persona he attempts to solve the problems of a girl he’s crushing on and ends up meeting two “real” superheroes, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage in a performance that’s a cross between Matchstick Men and that Superman wardrobe still) and Hit Girl, who are involved in a vendetta of their own. They offer to help him if he’s ever in danger, not realizing just how dangerous his naiveté is.

One of the central storylines follows an eleven-year-old girl being trained by her daddy, Big Daddy, to kill the bad guys, one could be tempted to draw comparisons with The Professional but Kick Ass is a much lighter film, a more frivolous entertainment, albeit with a similar dark streak to its humour.

The movie also has a refreshing lack of bombast; its set pieces, as impressive as they are, are unassuming and simply shot with the result that the action never gets in the way of the story. But because of this it also ends up somehow lacking something, mostly because Kick Ass, himself, follows a fairly predictable story arc without any real sense of surprise. It’s engaging but just not super memorable. Kick Ass has plenty of drama, quotable lines and action, but the restraint in execution sometimes just comes off as a lack of imagination. But with a nerd in a leotard getting mugged, Nicholas Cage doing a B grade Batman impersonation and a potty mouthed little girl in an ill-fitting wig fighting mafia henchmen; it would be hard for Kick Ass to be a bad film by any stretch of the imagination.

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