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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2010

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"Kick-Ass" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

movie-august-2010-kick-ass

Synopsis

Aaron Johnson plays Dave Lizewski, a totally average, to the point of being invisible, teenager. He's not a jock, a cool kid, a nerd, or a theater geek. Just a nobody. While hanging out with his friends, he asks them why no one has tried to be come a superhero. They surround us in comics, tv, and movies right? So why hasn't anyone tried it themselves? He points out that Batman didn't have any super powers, yet he is a superhero.  Dave gets home and dreams about it some more until he comes across a superhero-like suit on the internet.  Why not, right? So Dave orders it.  Things don't go quite as planned on his first encounter with a couple of hoodlums.  Dave ends up beaten and stabbed then hit by a car.  The doctors tell him some of his nerve endings were damaged, affecting his ability to feel pain. Also, metal plates and screws had to be places throughout his body.

Dave doesn't give up and continues to patrol the streets for crime.  One night, he comes upon a man getting beat up by a gang and decides to step in. The fight gets recorded on a cellphone by a kid nearby and later uploaded to YouTube where it becomes an internet sensation.  Kick-Ass sets up his own MySpace account to accept people's requests for help. 

Dave's crush, Katie, asks him to help fend off a drug dealer that keeps harassing her.  Wanting to win over Katie's interest, Dave agrees to confront the drug dealer.  Things don't go well for him, but right before he is about to get killed, he is rescued by an ass-kicking young girl named Hit Girl.  She leaves with her father, known as Big Daddy (Nick Cage) who is later revealed as Damon Macready. Damon, a former cop who was framed by a local crime boss, trained his daughter to fight crime along side him. His ultimate goal: vengeance against Frank D'Amico, the crime boss that framed him.

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 2010, Color, R, 1 Hr 58 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicholas Cage
  • Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Kick-Ass received mixed reviews and I can understand that. It isn't a movie for everyone. Personally, I had zero expectations, but was happily surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Some people might not care for a 12 year old girl brutally killing people, but it was so well done. I'd reckon, some of the best fight scenes in a comic book movie. At the start of the film I was not a big fan of the main character, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), or Kick-Ass, but as the movie progressed I found myself rooting for him. I really enjoyed the reality of him getting beat up and that there was never a music montage where he suddenly became a master of physical combat. Kick-Ass is a thoroughly entertaining movie and well worth a purchase if you enjoy these types of movies, or a rental otherwise.

Technical

I was a little disappointed in the image quality, but only because I was hoping for a reference quality transfer. The picture suffers from what looks to be over processing. The colors really pop off the screen, a bit TOO much. No doubt this was the intended look but I think the movie could have benefited from a slightly more natural image.  Don't worry too much though, it's not full of edge enhancement and DNR ;)

The DTS-HD 7.1 (only 5.1 for me) is like a big plate of country fried chicken, mashed potatoes with tasso ham gravy, and some rich mac and cheese, for your ears. Dialog is strong and clear while the surrounds fill your home theater with great ambiance and action effects. Between this and the Repo Men audio, I am feeling sonically spoiled.

Extras

Kick-Ass is full of all the usual extras like audio commentary, but also has several great featurettes including the 113 minute "Making of Kick-Ass" feature. Excellent content for fans.