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Kick-Ass Movie Review

It’s one thing to watch two birds duking it out in a cartoon, and quite another to relish the carnage of cockfights. And Matthew Vaughn, who’s indulged a nearly pathological obsession with violence on screen in movies like Layer Cake, seems intent on topping that notion with the kid slaughter spree, Kick-Ass. Did I mention that Chloe Grace Moretz, the eleven year old girl star of Kick-Ass, participates in such sadistic and foul-mouthed behavior in this R-rated film, that she cannot even legally buy a ticket for entry into her own movie?

And while Vaughn will likely defend his actions by insisting that Moretz was a willing participant, let’s just say that it’s reached the point in movies where pedophiles could conceivably launch a movement protesting that double standard filmmakers get away with all sorts of exploitative behavior with children in movies, that would land predators in the real world in handcuffs. It would seem that we’re talking a line here between reality and fantasy, with the emphasis on a different kind of graphic at work, and a line that has been seriously crossed.

Based on the comic book written by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr., Kick-Ass stars Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski, a typical teen nerd who longs for star power, but bemoans that his only superpower is being seriously invisible to girls at school. Determined to pull off a Clark Kent-ish makeover even if it’s pretend, Lizewski purchases a superhero Halloween costume and assumes the alias Kick-Ass, after witnessing another similarly inspired kid attempting to fly off a roof. And, falling to his death as his body smashes into a parked car. Audience laugh track, please.

As word of the more often than not accidental exploits of Kick-Ass spread around town, a collection of kid wannabes are determined to move into the competitive spotlight too. Including Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), son of a mob racketeer gunning for Kick-Ass, who moonlights after school as Red Mist. Then there’s Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz), a pint sized girl who’s been groomed by her depraved ex-con single parent, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) to maim and kill grownups. Well, they’re grownups who deserve to be murdered, so it’s okay.

Hit Girl has also perfected cursing like a combo truck driver/phone sex operator in her spare time, stuff not suitable to print here, so we’ll pass. That is, when the bullet proof vest clad girl isn’t undergoing a vigilante in training boot camp regimen at home in simulated assassination victim mode, as Dad shoots rounds of bullets into her chest so she can learn to take assault in stride.

And it gets worse. In the main showdown, Hit Girl gets slapped around and beaten up big time by the mob kingpin. And it’s impossible not to wonder during that revolting sequence designed for comic relief, how youngsters in the audience being battered at home must be feeling. I don’t happen to be in that category, but with regular news in the media of kids sent to the mortuary after being murdered by their parents or pedophiles, not to mention implicit cultural carte blanche for school bullies these days, my stomach was churning.

Now, America could probably used a good laugh just about now, what with all the problems plaguing this society. But the economic exploitation and psychological degradation of children even if they are actors and the special effects are occasionally awesome, just so a millionaire movie mogul can make even more millions, is way beyond just not cool.


Rated R

1 star

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.

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