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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Raising the bar

Grade: A

Turning a comic book into a movie is harder than it looks. Hollywood puts out more busts than hits when it comes to transforming ink to film.
Christopher Nolan set the bar pretty high when The Dark Knight was released and many comic book movies have fallen flat since. That was until Kick-Ass.
The title of this movie is the perfect way to describe the flick. This isn't much of a shock since Matthew Vaughn (Stardust)- who directed the trendy gangster thriller, Layer Cake- helmed the lens for Kick-Ass.
The film follows the story of average teenager, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson, Nowhere Boy), who after much contemplating decides to start a career as a super hero.
Add a wetsuit, Timberlands and an ambitious teen and what results is Kick-Ass. Although he may not be a black belt or a kung-fu master, Dave just wants to help the human race. Until his first endeavor doesn't go nearly as planned.
However in his second attempt at crime fighting he is caught on camera and becomes an Internet sensation. The want to be hero catches the attention of a father/daughter duo that happens to be much more efficient at stopping the bad guys.
The mysterious Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Year One) seeks out Kick-Ass to become his sidekick. But being the son of gangster Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes) his motives are questionable.
Strong has become accustomed to playing the villain, and he plays the cold-blooded D'Amico impeccably. Not only is Strong a creepy villain, he delivers the snappy quips that show off his comedic side. The actor seems to have as much fun on screen as the audience does watching him.
Kick-Ass is one of the best-written comic book movies of all time. The one-liners between Dave and his best friends, Marty (Clark Duke, Hot Tub Time Machine) and Todd (Evan Peters, Never Back Down) are the same crude comments that one would expect high schoolers to sling at one another.
Even Dave's love interest, Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca, How I Met Your Mother) provides some knee slappers.
But the two best characters are undoubtedly the father/daughter duo of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage, Astro Boy) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz, (500) Days of Summer) who massacre wrong doers during their conquest to take down D'Amico.
Moretz shows off her great potential, as her sarcastic and cynical character is by far the best in the movie. Not only does her quick wit dominate every scene Hit Girl is in, but Moretz also does an incredible job during the high-octane action scenes.
Cage returns to his form in Kick-Ass as he lays the beat down as Big Daddy. Drawing from his massive arsenal hidden in his apartment, Big Daddy provides a big punch that quickly draws the attention of his nemesis, D'Amico.
One thing that Kick-Ass does that most comic book movies doesn't is make the audience care for the characters. Unlike other comic book flicks the action takes the back seat to the story, making the audience fall in love with each character.
Vaughn does a great job mixing the action and the emotional storyline. Each member of the audience feels every punch that Kick Ass receives, and Hit Girl's story could make even the most cold-hearted audience member want to cry.
The stylized action is beautiful and makes watching the fight scenes fun and engaging. The fast pace of the slicing and dicing makes watching thugs get slaughtered more fun than ever.
That being said, the movie is not for someone with a weak stomach. There is a decent amount of gore, but it isn't over done. And let's be honest, its not good action with out some gore.
Kick-Ass incorporates almost every comic book movie stereotype; while creating something that has never been done before. From the cheesy costumes to the dozens of Batman references, Kick-Ass pays tribute to the comic book world throughout.
Vaughn and company have created one of the best comic book movies of all time. And with an obvious set up for a sequel, there should be more to come very soon.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com


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