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Kick Ass

Sunday 18 July 2010, by Judy Harris

Superheroes are something else; it’s what makes them super. The premise of Kick Ass is to make ‘the superhero’ just another performance that any geek in a wetsuit can pull off. In fact, white nerd Dave Lizewski’s turn as Kick Ass is almost as easy as the ‘homo’ persona he adopts in order to get into the bedroom and under the bra of the school hottie, Katie Deauxman.

What makes Dave Lizewski’s metamorphosis from everyday nerd to crime-fighting ‘Kick Ass’ so pathetically offensive is that in order to re-appropriate the cult of the superhero in the name of his socially frustrated, girl-hungry cronies, every other character in the film is forced to inhabit the clichéd archetypes that the film supposedly subverts.

In this trade off female subjectivity pays the highest price. Dave’s high-school crush Katie, who has long ignored him is either covering herself in fake tan or, once she’s instantly reconciled herself to his faux-homo ploy, offering up her breasts for his consumption in her pretty yellow bedroom. Especially vomit-inducing is a scene atop her quilted bed where she jiggles her breasts towards him in a move that is less ‘come hither’ and more ‘ah, sweetheart, I know this is what you’ve been waiting for!’. Confronted with a televised broadcast of real-life violence she whimpers helplessly while the other sidelined females turn away from the screen and throw themselves into the arms of Dave’s nerdy male friends. By the end of the movie they’re all happily sucking face in the comic book store.

As Dave attempts to slaughter black drug dealers by day and succeeds in wrapping his paws around his hot girlfriend’s big tits by night the movie apparently breaks through the age and gender requirements of superheroics. Hit Girl is an 11yr old vigilante extraordinaire, awesomely adept with guns, knives, night vision goggles and all manner of martial arts. Raised by ex-cop Big Daddy the duo’s sole purpose is to avenge the death of her mother (whose drug overdose is pithily depicted as a self-pitying act of female hysterics) by going after Frank D’Amico and his gang. She blasts her way through every scene in a maelstrom of (mostly) magnificent arcade violence. Typically, quite a fuss has been made about Hit Girl’s ‘foul mouth’ and her hyper-violent antics . However the true horror of this film is that after eleven years in pursuit of D’Amico (who has killed both her parents) and an entire movie in which she is depicted as an untouchable killer of bad guys- blasting, kicking, stabbing and shooting her way through every confrontation, who is that finally kills her nemesis? Dave fucking Lizewski. At the most crucial moment in the movie and the culmination of her life’s work Hit Girl is suddenly infantilised, floored by a single kick. Thus, Kick Ass sweeps in, shoots D’Amico in the head with Hit Girl’s bazooka and carries her off into the sunset a la Richard Gere and Debra Winger.

Kick Ass is like the worst aspect of Glee, a TV show that sells itself on its inclusive, pluralistic, margin-busting agenda, when in almost every episode the same two white, able-bodied, handsome heteros sing the lead in every song . The mindless audacity with which Kick Ass reneges on its own promise and sings ‘all hail the white male nerd’ at the expense of every other character is nauseating. But it’s the plight of Hit Girl that’s the real slap in the face.

Dir: Matthew Vaughn, 2010

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