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Filmwhys #9 Big Trouble in Little China and Kick-Ass

Welcome back my friends to the show that will probably eventually end, but for now it’s episode #9 of the Why Haven’t You Seen This Film podcast where my guest is Dan Heaton of Public Transportation Snob who asks me why I haven’t seen Big Trouble in Little China, which isn’t a typical classic or modern classic, but it’s a fun cult classic that’s right up my alley. And I ask him why he hadn’t seen Kick-Ass, a fun & violent superhero flick with a sequel coming out very soon.
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Kick-Ass 2010

I’m ready to watch my last movie of January, I picked Kick-Ass up with one of my Christmas giftcards to finish out the card after getting the Simpsons fourteenth season, both on Bluray. It was my second sight unseen purchase for this blog after Super. I was about to get the DVD for $5, but saw that the bluray + DVD was only $10 so I just couldn’t pass it up. In all the reviews of Super that I read after watching the movie, it was compared to Kick-Ass, and there is definitely a very strong connection to the two movies.

Even though the movie is called Kick-Ass, it should almost be called Big Daddy and Hit Girl, as they are the actual Batman-like heroes of the movie. In fact, Big Daddy’s costume looks like a simplified version of Batman’s costume. A funny sidenote, I read a funny blog somewhere that talked about the eyeliner used wearing the batman mask that mysteriously disappears when the mask comes off. This movie actually has a brief scene where you see Big Daddy put the black paint around his eyes that shadow the area not covered by the mask. They are both martial arts and gunplay masters even though Hit Girl is only around 12 years old. They also have the money and the arsenal to back themselves up, since they fund themselves from the coffers of the drug dealers they take out. Kick-Ass is just a high school kid that has dreams of being a superhero and the guts to actually get a costume and a couple batons and make it happen, with varying degrees of success.

There feels like quite a bit of realism to the scenes with Kick-Ass. He gets hurt pretty bad during his first real encounter with a couple small time thugs and acts pretty scared during his early brushes with real criminals. But whenever you get to the fight scenes with Hit Girl and Big Daddy and the final fight scene, things get pretty fantastic and John Woo-esque. And even though this is technically an independent film, this looks a lot less like an independent film than Super does. Where Super uses a lot of muted colors outside of the costumes of The Crimson Bolt and Boltie, Kick-Ass has vibrant colors everywhere, from all of the costumed heroes, and even in the backgrounds of the mob boss’s family moments. Kick-Ass also uses a lot more fantasy martial arts choreography and fancy camera moves while Super tends to have a lot more straightforward action scenes.

The other thing that this movie and Super have in common is the death of one of the main characters. I won’t say which one, but in this movie it feels like the death was more earned. It felt a lot less like it was done for mere shock value and somehow felt like it was the natural progression of what had to happen for the characters to grow. I can’t put my finger on what the difference is, but I didn’t feel as cheated by the death as I did in Super.

I also find it interesting that this is often labelled as a comedy movie. Yes there are some comic relief moments, and a lot of the situations are so bizarre that they end up being comical by nature, but this really feels like a great superhero action movie. It doesn’t feel like the comedy moments are played to the detriment of the action scenes. All of the fights are well paced, visually intense, and straight up balls to the wall. The violence is bloody and it typically feels action movie real rather than comedy real. There were plenty of moments that made me laugh out loud, but that happened in Superman the Movie as well, yet that’s not considered a comedy. There were just as many moments in this movie that had me on the edge of my seat watching the scene play out.

The only bit of a downside was the relationship between Dave and Katie. It was played up a little too much in several scenes when she thought he was gay, and when he came out to her she seemed to come over to his side a little too quickly. I don’t disagree with the fact that they got together, I just didn’t quite agree with the way the actually got there. Overall I find I don’t have a whole lot to say about this movie just like most of the other good movies because there’s not much to pick at. I enjoyed the comedy, especially the parts with his two high school friends and pretty much anything Hit Girl, I enjoyed the action, even with the violence it was very comic book stylized violence with action movie choreography and editing, and I enjoyed the characters. My only other problem with the movie is a problem with how quickly things on the internet can change. Even though this was probably filmed only two years ago, all the references to MySpace instead of Facebook make it feel a little dated already.

And with this movie comes the end of my first full month of this project. I’m already well into the movies for February so look out for my review of Catwoman on Thursday and several Tuesday bonus reviews as I have 9 movies planned to watch for next month which has an easy “can you guess the theme” plus two extra movies after I realized that the new Ghost Rider movie comes out in February. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.