Kick-Ass Review

The Film

I've always liked a rebel. I retain a very fond memory of having a soft drink at a leisure centre café whilst a young child abused its parent soundly. The sprog repeated the word "shit" over and over in order to get a rise out of their elder and better whose growing embarrassment led to the infant being dragged away whilst maintaining its defiant volume and repetition. That child was no proto-anarchist, yet heck I liked its simple subversion.

Kick-Ass features a 12 year old girl who cusses with the conviction of an amphetamine boosted Tourettes sufferer. She also slices and dices adults with little compunction, sending their limbs to the four winds and dispatching any sense of cuteness to the exit marked "fuck off". For the character of Hit Girl alone, Kick-Ass the movie is rather wonderful.
Like recent reboots of Superhero franchises, Kick-Ass looks to find a way to ground the escapist elements of its story in the reality of the audience's world. In Nolan's Batman films, this is by creating a grindingly dark present but here it's through building the heroes up from the nerds we all actually are.

Dave Lizewski can't get a girl, can't get respect and in his own words "isn't even the funny one in his(sic) friends". Cue a stupid idea, a silly wetsuit and a near fatal stabbing/accident, and Dave becomes Kick-Ass. Starting with lost cats and building up to gangsters, Dave becomes a non-caped crusader.

En route to trouble, our crime-fighter meets the far more competent and scary Hit Girl, her seriously disturbed father, Big Daddy, and the D'Amico crime family. Inspired by comic books, Dave finds that the realish world is far less simple and much more bloody and foul mouthed than the cartoon one.
So we get a story of empowerment, a twisted homage to superheroes and oodles of splendidly violent action. This is all done with a wit and charm that means that truth and morality are entertainingly validated whilst the menace of the wrongdoers is punished in best superhero tradition.

The edginess is real, the words are well written and the story works. Unconcerned about covering its demographics or keeping the marketing people onside, Kick-Ass is fresh and often exhilarating. There is a basic independence of mind and intelligence in the production that could make you believe that popular movies are worth your time again.
The credit for all this goes to the persistence of Matthew Vaughan, the writing of Jane Goldman and the performances of Aaron Johnson and the outstanding Chloe Moretz. Moretz is so good that sequels seem like a great idea and I am ready to marvel at her future career already. She embodies the spunkiness and verve of a magnificent movie.

Do yourself a favour, give Kick-Ass your time.

Technical Specs

This blu-ray is all region featuring an AVC/MPEG4 encoded transfer with a master audio track. The file-size of the transfer takes up 24.6GB of the 42.1 of the whole disc with a frame-rate of 23.98 per second. This is a very stylised colourful image, in keeping with the larger than life material. The transfer itself is very warm with strong detail and decent black levels. Darker sequences didn't seem as detailed to my eye, but with an absence of edge enhancement the video here is pretty sound.
The audio choices here include English subs and a welcome audio descriptive track alongside the main lossless option. Reproduction of music is rich, dialogue moves across the sound-stage and the lower frequencies pack a punch too. There's not too much in the way of subtlety but the surround effect helps you to surrender fully to the thrill ride on offer.

Special Features

There's a raft of photo galleries on this BD50 disc and a couple of basic featurettes with the most significant extra being a nearly 2 hour long making of documentary. Now I have found it hard to forgive Matthew Vaughan for his role in unleashing Guy Ritchie on the film watching public, but I can't help admiring him after watching this amiable documentary. Getting his film made, insisting on doing it right and proving the studios very wrong in their original rejections of the project - Vaughan shows guts and talent in equal measure.

All of the cast and the main crew contribute and the action follows filming and post production chronologically. For a less enjoyable movie this documentary would have been over-long but the ability to break it into smaller chunks will make it very digestible to viewers.

Original writers Romita and Miller contribute as well to the featurette on the original comic and some of Romita's art is illustrated in the photo galleries. Vaughan does a confident director's commentary which confirms my growing appreciation of him in the intelligence and insight he shows.

Summary

Enough extras to please a casual fan with the steel-book and collector's editions the options for wealthy obsessives. The transfer and sound are pretty good and the film, above all, is simply terrific.

Film
8 out of 10
Video
7 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
6 out of 10
Overall

7

out of 10

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