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.
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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
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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.)
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