Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kick-Ass (2009)

Director: Matthew Vaughn (1)

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (2), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (3), Chloë Grace Moretz (4), Mark Strong (5), Nicholas Cage (6), and Lyndsy Foncesca (7)

My favourite dialogue – 

Diner Fight Guy: The fuck is wrong with you, man? You'd rather die for some piece of shit that you don't even fucking know?
Dave Lizewski: Three assholes laying into one guy while everybody else watches and you wanna know what's wrong with me? Yeah, I'd rather die... so bring it on!

My favourite quote – “With no power, comes no responsibility. Except, that wasn't true.”

I recently took a 3-day first-aid course because I had to. I was asked by my boss to do this first-aid course. Out of all the others in my department he had to pick me. So let’s just say I couldn’t exactly say no. Now if you knew me in person you’d see the irony in this because I am a klutz! I am an accident waiting to happen. So I am most likely to hurt myself, and others around me, instead of saving someone. Really its not that I minded sacrificing an entire weekend to do this first-aid course, but that in my mind, I really wasn’t the best candidate to be sent for this. But still, I went for the course.

The class was really fun. And on the first day, the instructor said that there are many Singaporeans who attend first-aid courses, but very few people actually receive first aid when they need it. He asked us why was this so, and really the answer was glaring right at us, loud and clear. Even if you know first aid, would you step forward to render first aid to someone who might be dying and needs it?

Not everyone is cut out for life saving. Not everyone has the courage or ability to think clearly and calmly in an intense and high stress situation. Not everyone will want to risk a lawsuit or sacrifice their time and personal safety to save another. Even now when I know how to provide first aid to another, will I really step forward and help someone in need? I hope I will, but I don’t actually know that I will until I am faced with that situation.

“With no power, comes no responsibility. Except, that wasn't true.”

How does this link to Kick-Ass you might ask? Well, there is a scene in the movie where two street bullies mug the protagonist Dave Lizewski and his friend and there was a by-stander who witnesses the robbery and does nothing. Yes, it has nothing to do with first aid. But think about it, it still stems from the fact that some people don’t feel compelled to help another when they need the help.

“I always wondered why nobody did it before me. I mean, all those comic books, movies, TV shows. You think that one eccentric loner would've made himself a costume. I mean, is everyday life really so exciting? Are schools and offices so thrilling that I'm the only one who fantasized about this? Come on, be honest with yourself. At some point in our lives we all wanna be a superhero.”

Hmm is this really true? Sure, I guess you can say we all fantasize about being an all-powerful superhero. But what if we didn’t have any super powers? Would we want to put ourselves out there then and save another? That is the question that is at the heart of this film. Or rather, that is the question that I take away most from this film.

“Even with my metal plates and my fucked up nerve endings, I gotta tell you, that hurt! But not half as much as the idea of leaving everything behind. Katie, my dad, Todd and Marty... and all the things I'd never do. Like learn to drive or see what me and Katie's kids would look like or find out what happened on "Lost". And if you're reassuring yourself that I'm going to make it through this since I'm talking to you now, quit being such a smart-ass! Hell dude, you never seen "Sin City"? "Sunset Boulevard"? "American Beauty"?”

Now I really love a film that makes me feel like I’m in on a private joke just because I watch a lot of movies. And the above quote also demonstrates why I think the dialogue in Kick-Ass is awesome! It’s witty and it’s colloquial.

“In the world I lived in, heroes only existed in comic books. And I guess that'd be okay, if bad guys were make-believe too, but they're not.” And that is why I think that while we don’t have human superheroes like Hit Girl and Kick-Ass in our lives, we have to really thank the everyday heroes who keep our streets and homes safe. Although, you never know, maybe there are vigilantes like them running around our streets keeping us safe, but they’re just keepin’ it hush hush.

The art direction of the film, the cast, the costumes, the sets are all pretty awesome. I have had Kick-Ass on my Blu Ray & DVD shelf for the longest time. I just never got around to it. I first bought it and put it on that shelf because of one guy - Aaron Johnson. I first noticed Aaron Johnson in the film Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging. There was just something about him that caught my eye. I didn't think he was drop dead gorgeous or anything. But I noticed him nonetheless and since then I would note down on my to-watch list the movies he's acted in like Nowhere Boy and Albert Nobbs. Now I think he did a really great job in Kick-Ass. I loved the way he played his character's gradual transformation and followed Dave's growth and realisations closely. His fear, his overcoming of that fear and him finding a sort of inner peace with all that has happened. 

Chloë Grace Moretz is a gem! She stole the show really. Kids really are quite foul-mouthed these days, maybe not the way her character was, but they're getting there. Considering I've watched her prim and proper performance in Hugo before I saw her as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, I know that she has great acting chops and was again very impressed. 

Christopher Mintz-Plasse also did a great job, except he was overshadowed by his two fellow co-stars Aaron Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz. But considering their wonderful performances, I think Christopher Mintz-Plasse held his own against them. Together, these three young ones did a mighty good job.

The adults also was very well cast but I have to wonder though why goes Mark Strong always portray the baddie in the films I've watched him in. I first noticed him in the film Stardust, then later in The Young Victoria and in both he's playing someone who is scheming and "bad". Although, he does play a loving dad despite his bad career choice. And Nicholas Cage, I haven't watched anything he's done since National Treasure: Book Of Secrets. I think he did a pretty decent job. 

I loved the fight scenes and think that overall the film is a nicely packaged hit movie that is both fun, action-packed, with lots to say. It a one-of-a-kind movie and I can't wait for the sequel to come out.

(1) Matthew Vaughn has directed films Layer Cake (2004), Stardust (2007), and X-Men: First Class (2011).

(2) Aaron Taylor-Johnson has acted in films like Shanghai Knights (2003), The Illusionist (2006), Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging (2008), The Greatest (2009), Nowhere Boy (2009), Chatroom (2010), Albert Nobbs (2011), Savages (2012), and Annd Karenina (2012).

(3) Christopher Mintz-Plasse has acted in films like Superbad (2007), Year One (2008),  Fright Night (2011), Pitch Perfect (2012), Movie 43 (2013), The To-Do List (2013), and Kick-Ass 2 (2013).  He also provides the voice of Fishlegs Ingerman in the animation How To Train Your Dragon (2010), and again in How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014). He has also voiced Giuseppe in Marmaduke (2010), and Alvin in ParaNorman (2012).

(4) Chloë Grace Moretz has acted in films like The Amityville Horror (2005), Big Momma’s House 2 (2006), The Poker House (2008), (500) Days Of Summer (2009), Diary Of A Wimpy Kid (2010), Let Me In (2010), Hugo (2011), and Dark Shadows (2012).

(5) Mark Strong has acted in films like Emma (1996), Fever Pitch (1997), Sunshine (1999), Oliver Twist (2005), Syriana (2005), Tristan & Isolde (2006), Sunshine (2007), Stardust (2007), Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008), RocknRolla (2008), Sherlock Holmes (2009), The Young Victoria (2009), Robin Hood (2010), Green Lantern (2011), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), John Carter (2012), and Welcome To The Punch (2012)

(6) Nicholas Cage has acted in films like Raising Arizona (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Con Air (1997), Face?Off (1997), City Of Angels (2008), Snake Eyes (1998), Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000), The Family Man (2000), Adaptation. (2002), Matchstick Men (2003), National Treasure (2004), Lord Of War (2005), World Trade Center (2006), Ghost Rider (2007), Grindhouse (2007), Next (2007), National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007), Bangkok Dangerous (2008), Knowing (2009), The Scorcerer’s Apprentice (2010), and Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2012). He has also voiced the character of Zoc in the animation The Ant Bully (2006), Speckles The Mole in G-Force (2009), and Dr Tenma in Astro Boy (2009).

(6) Lyndsy Foncesca has acted in film Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) but she is well-known for her role as Alexandra Udinov in the television series Nikita (2010-present), as Dylan Mayfair in Desperate Housewives (2007-2009), and as Colleen Carlton in the soap The Young And The Restless (2001-2005).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Kick-Ass will fire up in you the need to do good and save the world as best you can. It'll make you believe that while you cannot save the world all at once because you don't have any super powers, you can at least make the world around you a better place. Get off your seat and at least stand up for what you believe. Oh and don't get killed or beaten to a pulp while you're at it. (4 of 5)

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