Saturday, 3 April 2010

IQGamer's David Bierton turns his attention to Kick-Ass...

My good friend Dave Bierton has kindly offered his impressions of 'Kick-Ass' which I reviewed last month on this blog. Dave is generally a video games journalist and has left his comfort zone to contribute this interesting and comprehensive review, which provides a second opinion to my own:

"I went into seeing ‘Kick-Ass’ not knowing what to expect, and left particularly impressed after witnessing what can only be described as an alternative take on the superhero movie. In fact the film isn’t actually a superhero movie at all. Instead it takes inspiration from a number of sources from ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Kill Bill’, ‘Superbad’, even ‘The Matrix’ and just briefly, Sergio Leone’s Dollars series. The result is a fresh look at what it is like for an ordinary man to become a so-called superhero, with no powers, no cool weapons, just a sheer determination to make a difference, and a lot of luck and chaos which comes his way.

The main reason for me why I enjoyed the film so much, and also why in my opinion it works so well, is down to the mixture of styles and characters, along with the superbly choreographed action sequences, which all balance out and give a grounding to the film’s somewhat ridiculous premise. A kid in high school is as unlikely to become a fighting avenger as much as a multi million-dollar tycoon is to become Batman in real life. However, seeing such a social misfit, a loser lost in the land of the ordinary, as people go, make this almost comedic attempt at vigilantism makes for an entertaining caper in which we all can relate to.

‘Kick-Ass’ as a character provides much of the films comic relief. He can barely stand up the most meagre of street thugs, let alone against a crew of experienced Mafia-style heavies. However he takes on the challenge with all the determination in the world, naivety intact, without really thinking anything through beforehand. It provides the film with some of its funniest scenes, but also its message that there are some serious consequences when taking things into your own hands. Violence always comes at a price, and the question is: is that price one worth paying?

The real star of the show, however, is Chloe Moretz as the pint-sized Hot Girl. The sight of seeing a small thirteen year old girl slicing and dicing her way through a room of hoodlums was particularly amusing, and somewhat shocking at times. Her brutality is only matched by her resolve, never flinching and seemingly enjoying her sadistic antics. Her role, like with Nicholas Cage’s Big Daddy, is played straight, without the intention of comedic effect outside of her outlandish actions. Though hearing her shouting out the ‘c word’ before ripping through her adversaries was a particular highlight, and one of the films most amusing moments. The whole scene felt like some homage to the typical Japanese Anime, with the eclectic score and Moretz’s portrayal of an almost perverse form of innocents and naivety.

I found ‘Kick-Ass’ to be a polished mixture of high-kicking comic book fantasy, combined with the stark realities showcased in ‘The Dark Knight’, along various nods at other superhero and action movies of the last decade or so. It’s all delivered in a reserved, almost understated manner, making some of its more ridiculous characters not only believable, but also integral to making the whole thing work. The combination of comedic elements in the dialogue and action, with serious delivery by Moretz, Cage, and Mark Strong as the villain of the piece, take Kick-Ass from being just another ‘different’ attempt at making a comic book movie into something else entirely. Something much better if you ask me, and one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time.

With regards to a sequel potentially being made at some point -the end of the film sets itself up for one –maybe they shouldn’t really go down that route, especially seeing how the characters progress and develop, the dynamics between them, and the grounded reality of this film. As it stands Kick-Ass works so well as it is, I’d rather not have a cleaver attempt to make the film become a franchise, losing its uniqueness and the things which made it work so well in the first place.

I’d have to say that everyone should at least attempt to see the film at some point, preferably with all the impact that comes with seeing it on the big screen, surround sound and wide viewing angle and all. I’ll be doing just that on Monday at the Dukes, along with my other work cohorts, which should make for a very entertaining evening."

Thanks again to Dave, whose video game analysis can be read on his own blog: IQGamer. We both seem to agree that it is a film well worth watching, so check it out! A conversation about the film between Splendor Cinema's Jon Barrenechea and myself can be heard in our latest podcast, whilst I have also previously written about attending the film's London Premiere.

'Kick-Ass' is still playing regularly at the Duke of York's Picturehouse cinema in Brighton and is rated '15' by the BBFC.

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