I sat down to watch Kick-Ass on the weekend with high expectations. The movie has been picking up rave reviews all over the place, it's based on a comic, and has 'super hero' themes - why wouldn't I have high expectations?
Kick-Ass tells the story of Dave Lizewski, a teenage who one day decides that he wants to become a real life superhero. Unfortunately for Dave, he has no super power to speak of, which really puts him behind the eight ball in the crime fighting department. In his first attempt at crime fighting, Dave/Kick-Ass is stabbed and hit by a car, ending in an extended stay in hospital. While the trauma results in him having some nerve damage, and slightly reduced sensitivity to pain, he's still not exactly super hero material. Undeterred, he heads back out to fight crime, this time fending off three muggers. These events are filmed by onlookers, which result in Kick-Ass becoming a YouTube sensation.
Dave quickly sets up a MySpace page and begins taking requests from people who need the help of Kick-Ass. However, Dave soon learns that he is not the only superhero in town. Big Daddy - a former cop played by the slightly creepy Nicholas Cage -- and his 11 year old daughter Hit-Girl, are on the trail of crime king pin Frank D'Amico. Kick-Ass crosses paths with Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, only to become embroiled in their plan to bring down D'Amico. When D'Amico wrongly believes that Kick-Ass is responsible for the hits his crime empire has taken, Dave finds himself in some hot super hero water, that he may not get out of... or he might... I'm just to build some suspense and not give the plot away.
While at times Kick-Ass -- the movie now, not the character -- seems to be lampooning the comic book/superhero genre, I was never quite sure whether I was watching a piss take on the superhero movie or watching a superhero movie that takes the piss out of itself. I think I've settled on the former. Kick-Ass is a super hero movie that doesn't take itself super seriously.
Kick-Ass stirred up a little controversy, in Australia at least, due to some "offensive language" and violence. Most of the controversy stemmed from the fact that a majority of the swearing and violence was committed by an 11 year old girl. Yes, there is swearing, yes, there is violence. However, if you've been to the movies in the last five years there is probably nothing in Kick-Ass that you wont have seen or heard before.
All in all, Kick-Ass was an enjoyable popcorn flick. It sits half way between comedy and action movie. There are enough laughs to keep things chugging along, but just when you think you're watching a comedy, something serious and/or sinister happens. It wasn't quite the film I had hoped for, but it wasn't a dog either. I'd give it 3.5 out of 5.