Dave Lizewski (Johnson), an idealistic teenager with an unhealthy obsession for comic books, decides he has had enough of good people being mistreated by thugs and general bad guys. Kick Ass, his adopted superhero name, proceeds to squeeze into a green and yellow scuba diving suit, garnished with two batons and a taser. Frustrated by unrequited teenage love and compelled to ‘do the right thing’, our hero launches into a melancholy offensive on the seedy underbelly of NYC. Along the way he encounters savage beatings, foul language and the righteous violence in the form of a familial tag team of masked vigilantes. Big Daddy (Cage) and his daughter, Hit Girl (Mortez), dispense their murderous brand of justice in an effort to eventually get to the big bad that is Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), a villainous cocaine honcho who was inadvertently responsible for the death of Hit Girl’s mother and Big Daddy’s wife.
And here comes the punch line…
Unfortunately there is rarely a conclusion to any of the jokes in this adaptation of Mark Millar’s ongoing 2008 comic book of the same name. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, producer of Britflicks Lock Stock and Snatch, Kick Ass develops itself as an incohesive blend of hardcore slapstick, permeable pastiche and superhuman idealism. The direction is indeed witty, borrowing heavily from other filmic jaunts of this ilk such as Superbad and most of anything else featuring Michael Cera.
While the characters are believable, even psychologically well rounded at times, their capacity for violence and its consequences is lost somewhere in the muddled narrative. Hence, while the brutality is initially shocking and frantically hilarious, it fades into a senseless, poorly choreographed mish-mash of mixed morality and juxtaposed ideals.
Cage redeems his role as a hero of cinema in his performance as Big Daddy. Dishing up moments of genuine hilarity, he forges an interesting dialectic of Adam West with William Shatner, coming to a stammeringly brilliant synthesis. His sidekick and daughter Hit Girl, displays the mirror opposite of the expected Little Miss Sunshine sentiments. Her foul mouth has already attracted the attention of an Australian family group. However, the moment in question is merely a hysterical side note to her otherwise charmingly corrupted persona. Hit Girl’s innocence does raise a series of ethical queries though. Given one fleeting exchange between Cage and his former partner, we are left with unfulfilled issues as to the justice in the loss of the girl’s childhood. Again, no satisfaction.
In a nutshell: Hilarity rammed down your throat on the end of a stick that has no end. Questionable direction, but worth a look if you feel like hearing ‘fuck off’ every five minutes.