Friday, April 09, 2010

A Kick-Ass success, or just bad taste?

It would seem that director MATTHEW VAUGHN's latest film Kick-Ass has polarised the community thanks to a foul mouthed, ultra violent (but very cute!) 11-year-old character, Hit Girl (CHLOE GRACE MORTEZ).

Thanks to Universal Pictures, I was able to organise two screenings for the Perth Twitter Community via the Perth Twitter Underground Brigade (@PTUB) and judging from the tweets that came flying back faster than a Hit Girl throwing star, young Chloe was the genuine star of the film.

Indeed, 'when I grow up I wanna be Hit Girl' was a comment I saw time and time again. You can check out the online chatter yourself here.

Last night on ABC TV's At The Movies, David Stratton made all the right noises about Kick-Ass in the first half of his review, but choked on the (throwing?) star rating when it came to the Hit Girl stumbling block:

"The screenplay has some sharp comments to make about the meaning of heroics, and MATTHEW VAUGHN, who started out working with Guy Ritchie and who previously made LAYER CAKE and STARDUST, handles it all with confidence. But you have to keep reminding yourself that it's 'only a movie' every time Hit Girl does her stuff- mega-violent action scenes of multiple killings obviously inspired by the early films of John Woo, starring CHOW YUN FAT (Woo is specifically referenced in the dialogue). These scenes are deliberately over-the-top and incredibly violent and the fact that an 11-year-old is doing the killing - shooting and stabbing bad guys - all of whom die very bloodily - will be understandably concerning for many." (from the At The Movies website)

If you haven't seen it already, check out what it without doubt one of the most entertaining exchanges between David and Margaret in some time. David: 'Can I just say something?' Margaret: 'No'.

Judging from the comments on the At The Movies web page, people are split into two camps - those horrified to see an on-screen depiction of an 11-year-old girl dropping the 'C' bomb and taking off baddies' heads with a machete, and those who see it as one of the most refreshingly stylised superhero films to come out of the US in many years.

Make no mistake, I'm a father of three and I have no desire to see my five-year-old princess grow up to blow the backs out of people's heads with a high calibre glock. But nor am I going to take her out to an urban wasteland to fire rounds into her bullet proof vest protected chest to acclimatise her to what might happen when she's mugged by junkies and pimps, aka NICOLAS CAGE who plays her father and fellow superhero, Big Daddy.

But this is an adaptation of a COMIC BOOK. Complete fantasy. It's a vehicle for delivering an outrageously funny superhero flick using characters and scenarios that challenge - no, DEMAND us - to see things in a different light.

Indeed, while some would say that embracing a blood drenched film that uses an 11-year-old girl as a central character is a sign of how desensitised we are as a community, I'd argue the opposite.

Once you scrape away the gore and think about this film for what it really is - a comic book fantasy - I think Kick-Ass actually asks the question why is one form of violence more acceptable than another? Does it really matter if a Rastafarian drug lord is disemboweled by a cute 11-year-old masked girl, or shot through the temple by a rogue middle aged cop?

Park your conservatism at the candy bar, grease-up the bazooka and strap yourself in for some rollicking Kick-Ass superhero fun. Just leave your little princess at home :)