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Extensively quoted in
The Unauthorized Companion
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CIRCUS OF HELL
GAHAN WILSON &
Featuring comics by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
The crowd looks up. A man in a superhero costume stands on the precipice of a skyscraper. Our narrator ponders on how many of us would like to be a hero, or even a superhero? The man in costume extends and unveils his magnificent wings. The crowd below applauds. The man steps off the edge of the building...
But this isn't a movie about him, this is a movie about a nobody. His only superpower is that he's invisible to girls but not bullies. He has a group of friends, only two, and Todd (Evan Peters: INVASION [TV]) and Marty (Clark Duke) are both comic-book geeks. And of the three, he's not even the funny one. His name is Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson: THE ILLUSIONIST).
He has no social life, no real interests, and as far as he can see? He has no future. He doesn't even have a superhero's motivation. Yeah, his Mom died when he was young, but of a simple brain aneurysm at the breakfast table. And after a period of mourning? Life in the house with his Pop (Garrett M. Brown: ROSWELL [TV]) went on and the gap his Mother left was slowly filled in with the banality of daily repetition.
There is no spark that ignites Dave's life. One day, Dave simply decides to be a superhero because he has nothing to lose and nothing else to do. At least being a crackpot whacko offers the promise of getting out of the house and maybe even a little excitement. Dave becomes tah-dah! KICK-ASS!
On his first day as a superhero, he tackles two bottom feeder lowlifes and winds up bleeding to death in the street. A very long hospital stay later, and the recuperating Dave has lost a good amount of his sensory nerves: he doesn't feel pain the way he used to. Physically, he doesn't feel much at all. Once he's back in shape, Dave is ready to present the world with KICK ASS 2.0!
His second time out is much better because this time he actually carries a weapon in each hand - a green tape wrapped night stick, and he swings them about hap hazardously as he protects a single stranger from getting beaten to death by three other strangers. This wows bystanders and soon KICK-ASS is an Internet phenomenon.
Unlike the very public KICK-ASS, there are two very secretive superheros in the city. Only the dead once knew who they are, but we know of them as Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR , WICKED LITTLE THINGS, ROOM 6, THE EYE , NOT FORGOTTEN) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage: 8MM, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, NEXT). These two may be un super hero, superheroes, but they get the job done as bloody as possible. They buy what they need to give them the "super" edge and their money comes from the VERY bad organized criminals they kill and rob.
Lots of "Very" here but seriously, everything is pushed to the limit in KICK-ASS.
The particular bad guys that Hit Girl and Big Daddy are after though, are led by Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong: BABYLON A.D., SHERLOCK HOLMES). Hit Girl and Big Daddy have a personal vendetta against him. Frank's business is getting mysteriously chewed up, his gang is getting mysteriously slaughtered, and Frank is tearing through his own people like a rat eating it's own leg off, just trying to escape the trap. So when he gets wind of this character on the streets called KICK-ASS, his paranoia finds a target. It's the wrong target, but Frank is desperate.
Enter Frank's weedy son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Platz), who is nearly 18 and wants in on the family business. He has an idea on how to catch KICK-ASS.
I never read the comic, but I can tell you that KICK-ASS the movie is hilarious knock-about fun! Director Matthew Vaughn got the most out of his actors and his sets and he ran on the fuel of a great script co-wrote with himself and Jane Goldman, based on the comic by Mark Millar (WANTED) and John S. Romita Jr.
In all honesty though, like many of my fellow comic geeks, the fact that this was made by Lionsgate, a movie company which has done more to cut its own throat than possibly Enron, kept me from bothering to watch it on day one or even that opening weekend, which is how I prefer to watch movies.
The wholesale slaughter in 2008 of Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT, remains a bad taste in my mouth and apparently the mouths of others. At a recent screening, I mentioned this to one person and another reviewer in the audience got right up and agreed with me. We dropped into an airing of the grievances with Lionsgate for THE SPIRIT and much else, while a Sony Pictures rep (we were at their movie screening) could only stand there agog (silent, mouth open and everything) as he witnessed first hand the true outrage fans feel when movie companies turn their favorites into shit.
I mean, Come ON! You are going to crap on Will Eisner? His very NAME is the comic book equivalent of The Oscars! The Eisner Award IS our Oscars! You think you can just shit all over that and then - AND THEN - give THE SPIRIT a call back on a movie marquee in KICK-ASS? What in the living hell is WRONG with you, Lionsgate? How can anybody be so insufferably stupid? Don't try and pawn it off on Frank Miller. Miller never directed a feature film in his life. Hell, he never directed a short film! He directed ONE scene in SIN CITY, but that was a movie 100% about his OWN creation and totally controlled by Robert Rodriguez! Seriously Lionsgate, WTF?
So yeah, I personally know a number of people who, even though I enjoyed KICK-ASS a lot, will wait until it hits video before they see it. Fans can really carry a grudge, man. I wonder if that's why the SAW franchise began tanking after the release of THE SPIRIT? I'll probably never know.
I do know that since this movie is actually called KICK-ASS, and is about a character who creates himself in the image of a superhero called KICK-ASS, that I would have liked to actually SEE Kick Ass, AS Kick Ass, Kick! Ass!
Instead he gets his ass kicked every single time (Big Daddy calls him Ass Kicked). The most KA does is win by default only because some bad guys, having been interrupted by KICK-ASS and, finding themselves surrounded by witnesses recording the whole thing with their cell phones, run away.
Nicolas Cage does a great turn as Damon Macready. When he dons his Big Daddy uniform, he modulates his speaking patterns to. The. Stilted rhythms. Of. Adam. West (or William Shatner, take your pick. Is there some acting school that actually teaches this method?)
Still, it's Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl that steals the show. In fact, her fight scenes are the kind of show stopping hard-core gore I'd not seen in American cinema since KILL BILL. Then again, she's supposed to dominate the movie and KICK-ASS, oddly enough, is just a secondary sideline character. In any other movie, he would be narrating the story of Hit Girl. This is really all her story. KICK-ASS is little more than an observer.
I also want to take a moment to address what I see as a non-issue and that's Hit Girl's foul mouth. Yeah, 12 year old actress Chloe Moretz cusses up a blue streak. But you know, so did the 11 year old kids in The Bad News Bears, and that was in 1976 and still got a PG!
THE EXORCIST got an R in 1973 and actor Linda Blair did a hell of a lot more than just cuss at the age of 14. So give me a break about it already. Her parents approved and this is nothing we haven't seen before and plenty of times for quite a long time. These days The Bad News Bears is shown uncut on freaking family channels!
I sat in an audience who seemed to enjoy KICK-ASS as much as me and, despite its short comings, it deserves a solid 4 Shriek Girls. Superman was lame. THE HULK was boring. X-MEN 3 sucked and killed the franchise. THE SPIRIT was garbage. THE WATCHMEN was passable. XMEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, blew. But KICK-ASS Kicks ALL of their asses! KICK-ASS parties like a rock star! It's that good!
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