My other bit of birthday celebration was attending Popcorn Taxi‘s sneak preview of KICK-ASS. This is a new film based on a comic book about a normal kid who decides to put on a costume and become a superhero called “Kick-Ass.” The crowd was definitely the stereotypical “comic book geek” demographic. (I’d estimate less than 10% were female.) Since the movie still doesn’t open for a few weeks, they actually confiscated all our mobile phones as we went in. The Snook and I had seen a couple of trailers, but neither of us really knew what to expect. It was AWESOME. It was equal parts dark humor and ultraviolence. It was an incredibly visceral experience. I was literally wincing and bouncing in my seat through some of the action sequences. At a couple points, the whole audience broke into cheers and applause. After the movie finished, Matthew Vaughn the director joined us via phone to take questions from the audience. He talked about how he pretty much had to finance the film on his own, and how his goal was just to make the kind of movie that he and his friends would like. He said he didn’t like the modern trend of handheld, quick-cut action sequences where you can’t tell what’s happening. Each action set piece in the film was completely different from anything we’d seen before. He told a few stories about Chloe and the infamous scene where she uses the c-word. He surprised me by revealing that filming took place in London, which I wouldn’t have guessed. He also told us about some of the fun musical choices he made when putting together the soundtrack. (There was a long discussion about the Elvis track — but to be honest I don’t even remember it, because it occurred during a really exciting part of the movie and I was too caught up in what was happening onscreen to note the music!)
A few more notes: Yeah, the language in this film is really bad, and most of it comes from an 11-year-old girl. If that super-offends you, don’t go. However, Hit Girl is my frickin’ hero and I think she is one of the most awesome girls in movies ever. (The Snook was making comparisons to Mathilda in The Professional, but I think Hit Girl kicks Natalie Portman’s ass.) Also, the other girls in the movie AREN’T IDIOTS. This point was probably lost on the dudes in the audience, but I sure noticed. I’m used to accepting a certain amount of “Megan Fox” cheesecake in my stupid action movies, so it was really refreshing to not have that. (Yeah, “Katie” is hot but she’s also a real character. She wasn’t objectified and she was on equal footing in that sexual relationship. I liked Katie.) Oh! And Nicolas Cage was AWESOME! Huge surprise to me. I haven’t liked him in anything in years. I loved, loved, loved him in this. (Matthew Vaughn told us a fun story about the development of Big Daddy’s voice.) I also really liked the way the movie realistically used the Internet, like with Kick-Ass’s big break (which comes via YouTube, naturally) and the way Dave interacted with his fans via MySpace. It firmly grounded the movie in our universe and played by rules that we all understood.
So if you like big dumb action movies that aren’t actually dumb, you’ll like KICK-ASS. I’m actually thinking of seeing it again when it hits the theaters. And then I’m going to dye my hair purple and learn martial arts.
Edited to add: This review says it all much better!