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NRB Blu-ray Review: “Kick Ass” Packs Humor and Style With Every Punch

Posted on August 5 2010 10:00 am
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Why does everybody want to be Paris Hilton and nobody wants to be Spiderman? This is a question that has many answers, but it also provokes more questions. For example, why would someone want to be Paris Hilton in the first place? Fame maybe. But why don’t they want to be Spiderman or any other superhero (obviously super powers are out of the question)?

It usually takes a special situation for one to get the drive to single handedly take on criminals that evade the clutches of the law. The inspiration behind most superheroes and other great film heroes is a tragic wake up call. After all, Bruce Wayne only got the drive to become a vigilante after watching his parents get murdered during a petty street robbery.

What Kick Ass gives us is a bit of a reality check. The desire to protect people that the law cannot is a noble cause. However, if just anyone (especially a random high school student) sets out on that journey they will likely get their ass kicked.

Director Matthew Vaughn cut his teeth as a producer in some memorable British films such as Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as the recent vigilante flick Harry Brown. Vaughn’s directorial debut was the 2004 film Layer Cake and he now helms the chair for this deconstruction of the superhero.

The style of Kick Ass is one of the most well thought out mash ups of genre tropes we’ve seen in some time. The filmmakers channel comic book heroes and high school comedic romance, film vigilantes like Dirty Harry and superheroes like Adam West’s Batman as well as stylistic violence reminiscent of the Tarantino catalogue. The film is full of self-referential material. For example, when Dave/Kick Ass (Aaron Johnson) is in the hospital, we can see he was reading Watchmen, another comic recently adapted to the big screen. Such referencing makes the film addicting and fun to watch.

The film is a combination of gratuitous violence intertwined with social commentary, should you chose to look for it. For example, the relationship between Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) is a hyperbolic play on the irony of parents who think they are doing the right thing but are actually doing the exact opposite. The clash between comic book style violence and reality also provides for several eye-opening moments.

The Blu-ray disc has a great 1080p transfer that looks much better than the film did on the big screen. Years ago films were always better in the theater, now high definition transfers have made the home viewing experience rival the initial theatrical run. Kick Ass is the perfect film to watch in high quality HD with its excellent action sequences and addictive imagery.

The “making of” segment is a feature length documentary of the filmmaking process, which is becoming a refreshingly common addition to new Blu-ray releases. We learn a great deal about the writers and what they went through to in order to get the film not only financed but shot and cast as well. In addition, there is director commentary, art galleries from the film and its inspirations. This Blu-ray is a great buy as it also includes the DVD and digital copy.

If you haven’t taken the time to see Kick Ass yet, make sure you make a point to do so. It’s a fun film for the novice film viewer but works as great eye candy for the film buff. It is also worth noting that Kick Ass 2: Balls to the Wall has been announced for a 2012 release. So, you have until then to see the first one, although you won’t regret watching it sooner than later!

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