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Early Review: Kick Ass The Movie

Does this film "Kick-Ass?"

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 Last night, Lionsgate gave a private screening of their upcoming film, Kick-Ass (Coming to a theater near you April 16th), to the employees of Graham Crackers Comics, so roughly 20 of us had a theater to ourselves. Thanks to Lionsgate for putting up with 20 " Comic Book Guys" for 2 hours. The thing I've noticed is that other than the internet campaigns and the single poster at the theater, I haven't noticed too much marketing for this film. I haven't seen an ad on tv, nor any where else. It seems this film is only trying to get the comic crowd in and no one else, which is disappointing. Babs also got a chance to screen it and also gave a review. Check her review out for a second opinion. Here's a synopsis from imdb, just in case you're unfamiliar with the comic book or the film:

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan with a few friends and who lives alone with his father. His life is not very difficult and his personal trials not that overwhelming. However, one day he makes the simple decision to become a super-hero even though he has no powers or training.


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The framing for each shot always seems to be considerate of its roots, the comic. It seems that any shot could transition to a panel of the book. In addition, the colors in the film really popped, giving the film a “happy” look with horribly sadistic, ultra-violent undertones. The look is what kept my eyes glued to the screen. It's a very real world with surreal elements. At any point, after lulled into what we conceive as reality, you’re shocked with outside elements verging on the ridiculousness like back-flips with a samurai sword done by an 11 year old with an overly-bright purple wig. The close-encounter action scenes were exciting and a lot of fun. At no time was it confusing or hard to follow. The comedy in this film was agreeable to say the least. Nothing incredibly “laugh out loud” funny, but enjoyable none-the-less. Believe it or not, Nicolas Cage was hilarious in this film, as long as he was in costume. Was he channeling Adam West, Michael Keaton, or Val Kilmer? Who knows, but it kept the audience in tears laughing whether it was intentional or not. 


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There are certain songs that are attached, in my mind, to certain movies or television shows. Kick-Ass used two of these songs, during fight scenes, which made it worse. I don’t want to see a well choreographed fight scene and when the music kicks in think to myself, “I wonder if Daniel Desario and Kim Kelly got married after high school?” I know this is an obscure reference, but the second song, which does fit the scene it’s in, is even more noticeable. I don’t want my mind taken away from the film I’m involved with because a few of their selections were staples for other films or television shows. A few other musical selections just didn’t fit the film. The tone was way off. My major problem was that this film was genre hopped. At times, as mentioned, the comedy and action work well, but not together. If you’re looking for that nice genre mixing element that you’ve seen in either Shoot Em’ Up or Zombieland, then you’ve come to the wrong place. They do not work well together. At the same time, this film tries to be a superhero film, but at certain times during the movie it feels like one made for pre-teens, with ultra-violence and swearing, leaving the viewer to feel awkward in their seats. One thing that Babs hit on, which also bugged me, was the relationship between Big Daddy & Hit Girl, out of costume. I get it, the out-of-costume banter is supposed to be loving and caring and have the overly-1950s ideal family relationship. Then when they get into costume, it’s all business. It feels forced and fake. The number one thing that urked me about this film was that Hit Girl kept intentionally looking at the camera after what seemed like every kill. Most of the time, she was looking at someone else, but it felt like she was consistently breaking the 4 wall. Chloe Moretz, who played Hit Girl, was great out-of-costume, but hard to watch in costume. She was always grimacing in the most peculiar way. One last thing, I know the movie is called “Kick-Ass,” but do you have to say it every minute or so? I would guess that it was said at least 30 throughout the film, and not just in reference to the character's name.


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The film Kick-Ass has a hard time figuring out what it wants to be. Is it an action film, comedy, love story, teen sex romp, super-hero film for kids, for adults? One minute you're watching a very serious action scene that half-way through turns into a slap-stick comedy bit. At times, it's hard to watch. Sometimes it even felt as though the film was parodying itself, leaving me feel awkward and uneasy. After leaving the theater and listening to other people in the company talk, they seemed to enjoy it. They're all fans of the original comic, and although no one was praising this film as one of the greatest super-hero films ever made, they all agreed it was "a fun time." What more can you expect though? In my mind, this was a terrible comic, turned into a mediocre film. If you like the comic, you'll like the film. If you're like me and hate the comic, you'll put up with the film, but at least have a few laughs along the way and enjoy a fight scene or two.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 10