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Kick Ass

Column: The Word on Films   |   Date Published: Wednesday, 14 April 10   |   Author: Mark Russell   |   4 years, 5 months ago

“Why hasn’t anyone ever tried to be a superhero, like in real life?” Unremarkable high-schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) sees a real dearth of caped crusaders in contemporary New York, and as such takes it upon himself to fill the gap. So he dons a cheap green wetsuit and takes to the streets to fight crime; but this is the real world, and people can get really hurt.

Kick-Ass makes great use of juxtaposing its contradictory elements. There’s the cute, cartoonish characters that regularly unleash brutal violence – and have it returned upon them. There’s the very grounded reality of the world, our world, splashed with liberal dashes of comic-book hyper-fantasy. And there’s the strong vein of moral fortitude, interspersed with very ethically questionable character choices. This makes for a great action film that’s fun, with just the right amount of brain fodder. The ultra-violent combat scenes that result from this mixed philosophy have a stylised class about them that is a pleasure to watch. And the inventiveness is supremely exciting and entertaining.

It’s undeniable that the structure is a little stilted – perhaps due to a wish to stay true to the original graphic novel material. And we end up with a slightly overlong running time because of it. But overall Kick-Ass is superbly slick. Everything kicks into a particularly high gear whenever the young, and mega-violent Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) arrives on screen. Her character and presence give us many of the film’s best moments.

As a genre piece, this is one of the better graphic novel adaptations out there. It’s funny, cool, exciting, and even occasionally poignant; exactly the kind of hero the modern action genre needed.

Date Night:

Steve Carell and Tina Fey are a married New Jersey couple who seem to be finding bigger and bigger shovels with which to extend their rut. Things take a decided shift towards exciting when they take someone else’s reservation at a fancy Manhattan restaurant; and end up in a Peter Sellers-esque farce of mistaken identity. Pretty soon they’re ducking gunfire and running for their lives in a desperate attempt to return a stolen flash-drive to a mob boss.

Date Night’s script is incredibly sharp, even if many of the great lines aren’t given the right amount of gravitas. The two central actors are on good form and they engage us beautifully. Tina Fey in particular is great, giving us way more than the typical female lead in a romantic comedy. Everything progresses nicely: fun, rollicking and funny – right up till the final act. Here it snaps our suspension of disbelief almost completely, throwing in extra characters that are half-drawn at best, and taking the story out of its quirky reality into ridiculousness.

This is a shame because with a promising beginning and 88-minute running time, this film could have been a punchy and very entertaining comedy. But it ends up straying too far and there’s just not enough to offer.

It would still make a very passable date night in its own right, offering a little something for everyone. But it’s just not the: “send the kids to your mother’s, let’s move the single beds together tonight” home-run it could have been.

Clash of the Titans:

Hey readers, Allan here. Regulars to my From the Bossman guff will know that I am soon to be wed. As such, I have had nary the time to grace the splendours of the silver screen. But not wanting to leave you, the gentle reader, bereft of a film review, I called upon my brother Torben to give his salient account of Clash of the Titans:

“Bollocks really... just bollocks. For starters, the 3D looks shithouse. The character’s pasty faces look like they’re one plane, whilst their outline sure as hell sits on another, giving this annoying trailing effect I just couldn’t ignore. And at times the image is so dim you can’t make it out. I even considered watching it without the glasses. Let it be said, Jimmy John “Ava-wank” Cameron might be an arse, but at least he knows how to do 3D. Is it still worth seeing in 2D instead? By Zeus’ beard NO! It’s just lame. The characters are one dimensional (ironically) and entirely unsympathetic. I honestly couldn’t have given less of a shit when a bunch of them were killed off. In fact, I wish it had happened sooner, so I didn’t have to listen to their cliché bollocks. What’s worse is that film isn’t, well… worse. Then at least it might have been funny. Instead, it just sits nicely atop of mediocre hill, waiting for Prince of Persia to turn up. Go play God of War instead. By comparison, this film entirely lacks balls, and you know I do like a good pair of balls. You’re not going to publish this, right?”

Allan and Torben Sko

 

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