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April 25, 2010

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Violent satire has young talent and gags a'plenty

THE film makers behind Hollywood's latest superhero flick have declared war on family values. "Kick-Ass" is bad news for lovers of all that is gentle and wholesome.

But it's great news for fans itching to laugh dementedly as a little girl in a neon purple wig cusses like Tony Soprano and fires kill shots to the heads of many bad guys.

Director Matthew Vaughn has made an action comedy so bloody funny - double emphasis on bloody - fans might need to see it again just to catch the gags they missed from laughing so hard the first time.

The film is seriously, nastily violent, both satirizing the excesses of superhero flicks and showing genuine, hurtful consequences of the cartoon action Hollywood serves up.

As an 11-year-old masked vigilante, supporting player Chloe Grace Moretz simply owns this movie, deliriously complemented by Nicolas Cage as her doting but dotty dad.

That's not to take anything away from Aaron Johnson, solid but rather bland by comparison in the title role as a teen who takes on a superhero alter-ego and bumbles out to fight crime - without a trace of the special powers that usually go with the job.

It's just that in Cage and Moretz' Batman-and-Robin-style duo, Vaughn and comic-book writer Mark Millar have created one of the sharpest - and certainly most lethal - father-daughter combinations ever to hit the screen.

With a screenplay by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, "Kick-Ass" is based on Millar and artist John S. Romita Jr's comic book, a series so fresh its eight installments were still being published as the film was shot.

Moretz is a wonderful young talent playing her heart out with no restraint, alternately sweet, savage and scary. Tearing about like the Looney Tunes' Tasmanian Devil, she makes you believe she could beat the stuffing out of grown men two or three times her size.

Following last year's deranged "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," Cage creates another delightful madman, both as staccato-voiced Big Daddy and the vengeful Macready.

Prequel, please.

Let's find out more about how Damon and Mindy became Big Daddy and Hit Girl in the first place.


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