Unseen 4th Panel: The little girl does a backward kick flip off a food court trashcan, pulls a butterfly knife from her boot and uses it to draw a unicorn in Josh’s small intestine without removing the organ from his body. During the autopsy, the coroner was shocked at her skill with a blade. With respects to both murder and magical horsey drawing.
MINOR KICK ASS SPOILERS!!!
I mentioned this on Twitter, but at no point during Kick Ass does the titular character actually kick anyone’s ass. He wails on a few guys with his Ass-Batons (I assume he uses that naming convention, as in “Bat-A-Rang” and “Spider-Roomba”), but they are all able to flee the scene asses quit intact. It could be argued that the mutual KO between Mr. Ass and a particular villain during the climactic battle of the film is an “ass kicking,” though I would suggest the double lights-out was more of a mistake on each participants part that any sort of intentional ass-kickery.
OK, technical discussion of what is and is not a kicked ass aside, I really enjoyed the film. It gets to the good stuff almost immediately and takes a few unexpected (though not ill conceived) twists. Those that have seen Kick Ass may have picked up right away on an obvious plot device for a particular character (the road of rebellion against and evil father and subsequent redemption), that despite plenty of clues leading up to it is completely abandoned in a rather shocking way. [I know that sounds vague but I’m trying to to be TOO spoilery.]
END MINOR SPOILERS!!!
I sat one table down from James O’Barr, creator of The Crow, at a Sci-Fi Con in Dallas this weekend. He seems to be a fan of waxing old-manish about how stupid kids are and how terrible everything is. I share many of his sentiments but he seems more grizzled than would ever hope to be. ANY WAY, he made a particular statement about Kick Ass that struck a chord with me. He suggested that the violence in the film, particularly that enacted by the 10 year old character Hit Girl was “pornographic.” Interesting choice of words since pornography as well as violence can be shocking, entertaining, harmless in the right context and extremely harmful to the young, immature or unstable.
In the same way an intelligent adult has (and should always have) the right to decide if they want to view pornography (as long as no one is harmed against their will and no children are involved), we have that same right to decide if we want to see simulated violence. It isn’t right for everyone, and it isn’t right for every scene in every movie, but in Kick Ass it makes sense.
The weird thing about Kick Ass is how it walks the line between SuperBad and The Dark Knight. It’s a teen comedy and a gritty super hero drama all at once. Sure the story is lighter fair but the themes of helping the helpless just because it’s the right thing to do, taking control of your life and finding purpose and whether or not a child who has been trained to kill is being loved and protected or brainwashed and abused (Leon anyone?) are weighty subjects. If it was just graphic depictions of violence used only for shock value that would be one thing, but the violence in Kick Ass (especially that done by Hit Girl) is used to more dramatic effect to paint a picture of the terrifying world this little girl seems all too comfortable in.
What? You didn’t see it that way? Well what about the part where she stabbed the guy with the thing, then jumped off the other thing and made the dude shoot himself in the face? That was kick ass!