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SXSW Review Kick-Ass

Director: Matthew Vaughn World Premiere Headliners 106 minutes

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Synopsis KICK-ASS tells the story of average teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a comic-book fanboy who decides to take his obsession as inspiration to become a real-life superhero. As any good superhero would, he chooses a new name -- Kick-Ass -- assembles a suit and mask to wear, and gets to work fighting crime. There's only one problem standing in his way: Kick-Ass has absolutely no superpowers whatsoever. His life is forever changed as he inspires a subculture of copy cats,meets up with a pair of crazed vigilantes --including an 11-year-old sword-wielding dynamo, Hit Girl (Chlo' Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) --and forges a friendship with another fledgling crimefighter, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But thanks to the scheming of a local mob boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong),that new alliance will be put to the test.

Director Bio Matthew Vaughn is a leading British filmmaker who started his career as producer of LOCK STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS and SNATCH. Vaughn's directorial debut was LAYERCAKE followed by STARDUST (which he co-wrote with writing partner Jane Goldman). In 2009 Vaughn produced HARRY BROWN & THE DEBT.

WHO'S IT FOR? If you like the comic books, you'll love this movie. It's very violent, so you need to stop thinking, "My kids will love this." Don't do it. Again ... bloody violent.


I shouldn't be this giddy. I know on some level, it's wrong. But then again, it means an entire audience is wrong, so I'm going to simply enjoy the Kick-Ass ride. Hit Girl (Moretz) is the most violent 11-year-old ever to appear on screen. I think you're going to eat it up. I did. Sure, she's not the focus of the film. Neither is Big Daddy (Cage). It's too bad they aren't, but at least they get to steal almost every scene they're in. I don't know why Big Daddy talks like Adam West's Batman, but it ups the comedy quota for comic book nerds everywhere.

The actually story of this film is about a high-schooler who simply thinks ... nobody tries to be a superhero, and that's wrong. It's great that they used Johnson in this role. They needed an unknown to sell this everyday teenager, and that's exactly what Johnson does. There are a few misses here. Mintz-Plasse's Red Mist didn't feel like a fully developed character, though maybe that's for the sequel to figure out. But there's some great one-liners here as well, with my favorite being "with no power, comes no responsibility." Yes, that's borrowing from Spider-Man. But that's how this film exists. It borrows from superhero movies, comics and The Matrix. What it gives us is one Kick-Ass ride.



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