Kick-Ass (2010) – 2/5

A bloody, disturbing, ultra-violent mess of a film that blurs the line between good ole’ fashioned entertainment and poor taste. It’s also kind of stupid, and not very original, neither plot-wise nor cinematically.

This film rips off so many other, better films, or rather, filmmakers. Tarantino is heavily borrowed from throughout, particularly in one scene involving a little girl, a silencer, an elevator lobby, and the theme from a 60s Western. I thought Tarantino was the only one allowed to steal freely from Ennio Morricone (famous film composer)? Now other, less talented filmmakers can do it too? Bah.

The Matrix gets a shout out too, and by that I mean, a scene from that film that is ripped off here almost shot by shot. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know which scene I’m talking about. It’s an almost exact copy, right down to the character walking up walls to avoid bullets while shooting wildly and making angry faces. Oh, except it’s bloodier and more disturbing on account of it being a little girl doing all the killing. Terrible.

The plot also isn’t very original, and often quite stupid. A kid with no superpowers wants to be a superhero. Ah, that’s never been done before. Brilliant. Then he proceeds to attempt to fight crime despite having no training of any kind whatsoever. They didn’t even include a montage of him, I don’t know, hitting a punching bag, or learning martial arts, or slowly building any kind of ability to defend himself in any way. Just anything to show that he isn’t just an idiot who thinks he can put on a costume and suddenly become this great hero.

And maybe that was the point: the protagonist is supposed to be this off kilter, impulsive, illogical individual, which would have been all well and good, but the character isn’t portrayed in the film this way. He comes off as the normal, intelligent, somewhat foolhardy loser type, but never as the imbalanced, borderline insane comic book junkie the story requires him to be in order to justify his behavior.

A character that does portray these characteristics, though, is Big Daddy, Nicholas Cage’s character. His character actually makes sense within the rules of this world, and is arguably the only interesting, believable person in the film. And his daughter too, I guess. Big Daddy is clearly a very disturbed individual; every scene of him “promoting justice” is extremely violent and disturbing, particularly one in a warehouse near the middle, and the scenes with his daughter, Hit Girl, are some of the most twisted freaking things I’ve ever seen, almost too much so.

I don’t know, I just don’t like seeing a 12 year old girl stabbing and shooting and impaling henchmen right and left. It’s irksome. There’s one scene in particular near the beginning that was sick and unnecessary, and like something out of a horror movie; after a horrifically violent confrontation with a couple of gangsters in an apartment building, Hit Girl chases the one remaining “villain,” this relatively non-threatening gangster woman, into a corner as she screams and begs for mercy until she’s impaled into a door by a couple of Hit Girl’s blades. Yuck. Terrible.

I never thought I’d say this, but that scene just goes way too far. The girl is 12, damn it, and it was just so unnecessary. And sick. It really disturbed me, and I’ve seen a lot of disturbing crap in my day. Man. Ugh. And the scenes at the end where she’s being kicked and beaten by a man several times her age were just sick. Do audiences really find watching grown men shooting at and beating up a little girl appealing? Cause I sure don’t.

There are also a lot of other problems I had with this film. It seems to balance uncertainly between the realistic and the fantastical. Some characters seem to function in entirely different realities than others, with a few able to perform gravity defying acrobatics while dodging an onslaught of bullets and others barely being able to even throw a punch without being critically hurt. Kind of like the Matrix, but without any kind of explanation. I didn’t get it.

And other stuff. The whole Red Mist character, and his origin story, was kind of dumb. And the romance they try to squeeze in there with that extremely gorgeous girl was forced and unrealistic. Who reacts to having been lied to like that? Really?

The film as a whole is just a bloody, disgusting, disconnected mess. Some of it works, and the latter third is actually somewhat exciting, but the lack of cohesion and originality, and the inclusion of a little girl killing scores of “bad guys” and being pummeled nearly to death, just turned me off to it.

This film goes way too far at times, especially with Hit Girl; it just doesn’t handle the violence as well as it could have whenever she’s on screen. It’s gory and violent for the sake of being shocking, and is, thus, the very epitome of style over substance. Avoid.

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