Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Chloe Moretz in 'Kick-Ass' -- are toddlers toting Uzis next?

Adapted from a comic book, Chloe Moretz and a bunch of wannabe young superheroes in ‘Kick-Ass’ don’t shy from expletive-filled hard-core violence.

(Page 2 of 2)

It gets better. Their first crime intervention is so gory that even Tarantino might be envious. On the other hand, he’s probably flattered – the double-blade wielding Hit Girl, in her purple Clara Bow wig and pleated skirt, is like a “Mini-Me” version of Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill.” And like that film, we are encouraged to see the violence here as strictly cartoon stuff.

Skip to next paragraph

But why should we, especially when the chief perpetrator is an 11-year-old girl? The sheer exuberance of blowing things up, of kicking ass, can be liberating to watch, but too often the most dubious cinematic representations of violence are given a free pass because, after all, it’s only a movie. But it’s not only a movie. If it’s OK to show preteens slicing the opposition while mouthing unprintables, then where, exactly is one supposed to draw the line?

I reject the argument that, because this is a fantasy, no line need be drawn. That’s just an excuse, a commercial convenience. When a preteen Natalie Portman costarred in the sadistic action film “The Professional,” her presence had a smarmy-porny quality that was much remarked upon and which one can only hope the director, Luc Besson, did not intend. This is a far cry from, say Jodie Foster’s preteen hooker in Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” a role, and a performance, that was entirely justified because it dealt with the consequences of exploitation rather than being a piece of exploitation in itself – which, essentially, is what “Kick-Ass” is. Having as its centerpiece the pint-size Hit Girl will probably be enough to make it a hit. (Clips from the film have already gone viral in the comic-geek world.) Maybe in the sequel she can spawn a brood of Hit-ettes.

Critics who come out against “Kick-Ass” are leaving themselves open to that worst of contemporary accusations: a failure to be cool. But pretending that “Kick-Ass” is just another good-time comic book blowout is the greater failure. Grade: D+ (Rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, pervasive language, sexual content, nudity, and some drug use – some involving children.)

More movie reviews

The Joneses

Death at a Funeral

Date Night