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dir Matthew Vaughn
scr Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
prd Brad Pitt, Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, David Reid, Kris Thykier
with Aaron Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lyndsy Fonseca, Clark Duke, Evan Peters, Tamer Hassan, Omari Hardwick, Xander Berkeley, Jason Flemyng
release UK 26.Mar.10, US 16.Apr.10
Dynamic duo: Johnson and Moretz
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
The team behind STARDUST brings us the superhero movie we always wanted: brazen, raucous and without a single politically correct moment from start to finish. And yes, it's both wildly rude and great fun.
Dave (Johnson) is a shy New York teen who wonders why no one sticks up for each other. So he creates a secret alter-ego, Kick-Ass, and sets out to make a difference. Of course he gets beaten to a pulp. But he also catches the city's imagination. The problem is that gangster Frank (Strong) thinks he's to blame for a series of setbacks and helps his son (Mintz-Plasse) create a rival hero, Red Mist. But Frank's nemesis is actually a man (Cage) who has turned his 12-year-old daughter (Moretz) into a killing machine.
From the opening gag, we know we're not in standard superhero territory. Vaughn and Goldman gleefully throw every comic book cliche into a shredder while maintaining a snappy visual style that owes a debt to Tarantino. No one has superpowers (although you could argue the point about Dave, and not just because he's invisible to girls). And every scene takes a sharp turn, veering off in a direction we couldn't expect. The result is exhilarating, keeping us happily off balance and constantly amused.
Johnson is a terrific everyteen, bland enough to be a hero but also endearing and sympathetic. Strong and Mintz-Plasse gleefully twist their usual villain and nerd types, respectively. And Cage gives his best comical performance in ages (if you don't count THE BAD LIEUTENANT), with an amusing Adam West parody in his character's thinly veiled Batman alter-ego Big Daddy. But the film is stolen completely by Moretz as the sparky Mindy, aka the whirling, kicking, foul-mouthed Hit Girl. She's an instant icon.
There's a point near the end when the plot crosses a line that will leave a bad taste in the mouths of discerning viewers. But by then the film's juggernaut of thunderous entertainment has reached such a high speed that it's virtually impossible to imagine that a sequel won't be on its way soon. And it's not quite enough to diminish the subtle but important message woven throughout this story: would you risk anything for someone who was in heed of help?
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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