Moretz ‘Kicks Ass’ as Superheroine Hit Girl

Eric Bourse

There are two types of people in this world: those who find “Kick-Ass” to be a morally reprehensible and revolting film, and those who find the film to be one of the best comic book adaptations in movie history.

The latest super hero film, “Kick-Ass” is directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust,” 2007). The film is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name written by Mark Millar (“Wanted,” 2003). The screenplay is by Vaughn and Jane Goldman (“Stardust,” 2007).

Comic-book lover Dave Lizewski, played by Aaron Johnson (“Nowhere Boy,” 2009), is living a boring teenage life. One day he asks himself, “Why doesn’t anyone try to be a super hero?” He finds out the hard way when he decides to become a super hero called Kick-Ass.

The results aren’t exactly what he expects when he is stabbed in the stomach by violent criminals and is immediately run over by a speeding driver. However, instead of abandoning his fantasy, Lizewski gives it another try and becomes successful when YouTube clips are posted of him saving the life of a man from gang members.

The performances in the film are top-notch. Aaron Johnson delivers a solid performance throughout the film and Nicolas Cage (“Knowing,” 2009) portrays his best role in years. Cage plays Big Daddy, an ex-cop turned masked vigilante, who fights the Mafia that is responsible for framing and imprisoning him which resulted in his pregnant wife’s suicide. Big Daddy looks like a gun-toting Batman and he even speaks like Adam West from the ’60s TV series.

The best performance in the film, and the one audiences won’t stop talking about, is from Chloe Moretz (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” 2010). Moretz plays Big Daddy’s 11-year-old daughter and crime-fighting partner, Hit Girl. Not only does she swear like a sailor, she kills the bad guys that would make the Bride from “Kill Bill” proud.

“Kick-Ass” can’t be a super hero film without any villains. Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes,” 2009) plays Mafia boss Frank D’Amico who wants Kick-Ass dead because he thinks he is responsible for killing his cronies, despite the fact that it was the doing of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Christoper Mintz-Plasse (“How to Train Your Dragon,” 2010) plays Chris, Amico’s son. Chris decides to become a phony super-hero, Red Mist, to lure Kick-Ass, Big Daddy, and Hit Girl in a trap and win his father’s approval.

Vaughn’s direction and writing is commendable. The action in the film is intense and brutal, and the comedy is hilarious and witty. This film can also deliver emotion when it counts, such as the scene near the end of the film when Hit Girl is on a hyper violent rescue mission.

Audience members who find themselves sensitive to graphic violence should steer clear of “Kick-Ass.” It is full of grisly bloodshed including intense shootouts and maiming, most of it done by an 11-year-old girl. Those who think that this sounds like a good time at the movies will find themselves awed by one of the best films of 2010.

“Kick-Ass” runs at 117 minutes and is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, strong language, sexual content, nudity and some drug use – some involving children.