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I can't read your mind. But I can kick your ass. 

Year: 2010 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Matthew Vaughn 
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong  
An image from Kick-Ass

Fifteen year old Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) dreams of being a superhero, and unlike the rest of us, he’s decided to make it a reality. He’s got the mask, he’s got a name – all he’s missing are the superpowers. It comes as no surprise, then, that his first foray into crime-fighting leaves him half-dead in a car park. But Dave is undeterred, and armed only with a dodgy green wetsuit and some slightly damaged nerve endings, he ventures forth once more. This time, his vigilante justice is caught on camera and when the footage goes viral, ‘Kick-Ass’ becomes an internet sensation.

But our wannabe hero gets more than he bargained for when he’s sucked into New York’s criminal underbelly, complete with all-too-real villains. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of fellow superheroes and father-daughter duo Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and 11-year-old Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), as together they take on crime lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong).

Adapted from the comic series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, Kick-Ass is a riotous, blood-spattered ride which delivers a much-needed fresh take on the genre: a superhero movie where nobody has any superpowers. The cast is strong too; Taylor-Johnson is convincingly awkward, and Mintz-Plasse successfully reprises his Superbad persona to play D’Amico’s dorky son Chris. But the real star is undoubtedly Moretz, as the miniature mercenary whose foul language and penchant for pistols had the tabloids foaming at the mouth.

Ultra-violent, but with wit as sharp as Hit Girl’s butterfly knife (top of every pre-teen’s birthday list), Kick-Ass is definitely not to be missed.

Ellen Buckerfield

Dave Lizewski (Johnson) is an ordinary kid. He likes to read comic books, hang out with his friends and admire the beautiful (if oblivious) Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca) from afar. Dave isn’t special, he isn’t good at sports and he doesn’t feel the need to exact swift and bloody vengeance. And yet Dave has a dream: he wants to be a real-life superhero. After the purchase of a new skin-tight wetsuit and mask, he’s ready to go. But little does Dave know that his dabbling in a spot of superheroism is going to earn him more than a couple hundred MySpace friends. Soon he is the target of mafia boss Frank D'Amico (Strong). Dave is catapulted from the humdrum life into the bloody, violent world of “real-life” superheroes, like the father/daughter duo Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz).

Kick Ass is insane, hilarious and often ridiculous. One of several recent films based on a comic book (sorry – a graphic novel), Kick Ass is outrageous but also moving and brilliantly written and produced. Some scenes will have you rolling with laughter while others will have you holding back tears. The characters are believable and real; Dave is the everyman who is just looking to get laid prior to becoming the crime fighter Kick Ass. Although some characters are certainly larger than life, they fit into the world that Matthew Vaughn has beautifully crafted. The action scenes are fast paced and exciting enough to keep you constantly entertained, especially Hit Girl’s complex fight routines.

It is true that the film balances on the knife edge of offence, so if you don’t like bloody violence or small children swearing, it’s probably not for you. Kick Ass is, however, a thrilling movie that will have you pondering the necessity of a cape and superhero alias by the end of the credits.

Charlotte Dart

Dave Lizewski (Johnson) is your typical alienated, angst-filled teenager, harbouring a love of comic books and very little else, until he decides to become a superhero. With enough naivety and stupidity to offset his lack of powers, Dave assumes the alter-ego of ‘Kick-Ass’, becoming an overnight internet sensation. However, it’s not long before Dave is in over his head, as he unwittingly becomes the target of drug-lord Frank D’Amico (Strong) and his army of henchmen.

Viewers be warned: Kick-Ass contains enough bad language, drug use, and stylised violence to keep any Tarantino-fan satisfied. However, don’t let that stop you, because if you peel away the veneer of gratuitous violence, profanity, and comic book iconography, there’s something truly different about Kick Ass. Not only is it one of the most refreshing action (and superhero) films in recent memory, it’s got personality. The characters are endearing, the plot, whilst hardly groundbreaking, is engrossing, and its theme of social accountability is pretty relevant. After all that, if you still find yourself on the fence, let it be known that it’s also got some of the best action sequences since Die Hard and the deadliest 11 year old girl in cinema history.

Joshua Rafferty

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Screenings of this film:

2010/2011 Spring Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Autumn Term (digital)