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THE KILLING OF KICK-ASS

29 May 2010

I managed to take some time off of roaming the prairies of New Austin to watch Kick-Ass, a movie that came out a month ago that I missed. During my time in Los Angeles there were a lot of ads for it, but once it was released here in the Dutchlands I just didn’t find the time or heart to go.

And it’s a good thing I didn’t, because it was disappointing. Spoiler alert. The biggest problem is the complete unbelievability of the characters. Big Daddy, a wrongfully convicted ex-cop, is also apparently a master comic book artist (a plot device just a notch below the contrived way Kill Bill’s Bill suddenly turned out a comic aficionado just to make a forced metaphor)? The instantly forgettable teenage love interest had a thing going on with a 30-something, black coke dealer with a posse? Hit Girl, after slaughtering dozens of people and seeing her father burned alive before her eyes, instantly readjusts to a mundane school life with a smile on her face?

The only character I could believe in, the only one who made sense, was Red Mist. There’s an underused character! But that’s it, he’s the only one. Every scene that didn’t star Red Mist I was always aware that I was watching a movie. The movie never became accessible in that way.

Tying into this is its lack of moral framework. Hit Girl, an 11-year-old child, goes about shooting and stabbing people, swearing as she does so. There’s no empathy for her victims at all, instead she delights in the killing. Besides being slightly cheap (it’s an easy way to score ‘cool’ points), it also leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Sure, this movie isn’t about moralizing or anything else than providing thrills and laffs, but no movie can do without a heart of some kind. Sin City was about people killing, but they got it right, their characters had heart, an identifiable emotion at the core of their bizarre world and actions. By making Hit Girl an inhuman killing machine without redemption, Kick-Ass disconnects from the human condition. It becomes an alien affair: we’re looking at something that resembles a human but whose behaviour is false, a mutant facsimile that we cannot accept.

It deviates too much. Hit Girl is a betrayal of simple human truths and as a result, the movie becomes a disgusting object: an animated puppet at the bottom of the uncanny valley, meant to cheaply please the audience but rejected with abhorrence as a cynical contrivance, a stillborn freak.

Also, Kick-Ass’s romantic scenes were shit.

Roderick