Kick-Ass, (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, rated R, $26.98) Sequential-art scribe Mark Millar and artist John Romita Jr.’s irreverently violent comic-book series became a live-action film starring Dave Lizewski, Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage earlier this year
The profanity-enriched, blood-soaked effort debuts in the Blu-ray format and actually tones down the audacity of the source material(reference the potty mouth of 11-year-old Hit-Girl for starters) but is still an acquired taste for those easily shocked.
This ultimate revenge-of-the-nerds premise finds a quirky and mostly underage superhero team of teen Kick-Ass, tween Hit-Girl and adult Big Daddy (the dopey father of Hit-Girl) out to stop a New York City crime lord.
The story plays out as a bizarre coming-of-age comedy but bathes it in the pedal-to-the-metal, ultraviolent vigilantism of “The Punisher” and “Kill Bill.”
The film does a solid job of paying a playful reverence to the comics’ genre. Viewers get an occasional on-screen dialogue bubble and even an illustrated scene worked into the movie (starring the art of Mr. Romita), all embellished with plenty of hard-core pop-art moments that look as if they were ripped from one of the original sequential-art issues.
As much as I would like to tell Hollywood to stay away from my comic books, director Matthew Vaughn got it right with “Kick-Ass.”
Best extras: Fans will not be disappointed with the two main extras on the Blu-ray disc.
First, Kick-Ass Bonus View Mode delivers with an intimate look at the film with help from the director and plenty of on-location footage.
Viewers get an over-the-shoulder perspective of Mr. Vaughn watching his work in an editing studio. He is exhausted from a premier party the night before, but that makes for great moments of honesty. He’s too tired to remember to gush about the film’s brilliance, but he does get into the difficulty of shooting and what he did not like about the film.
Unfortunately, the actual movie is relegated to a tiny box in the corner of the screen throughout the presentation. The Bonus View option is basically a weaker version of Warner Home Video’s Maximum Movie Mode in which the director acts more as a lecturer in front of the film as it plays.
Next, the 113-minute megadocumentary “A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass” features more words from Mr. Vaughn and spends lots of interview time with the producer.
The four-part behind-the-scenes epic includes background with key personnel and examples of previsualization segments, comic animation tests, digital color grading, visual effects, editing and even a reaction to an audience test screening.
Just for the record, that’s almost four hours of film deconstruction when combined with the Bonus View.
Additionally, I’ll mention a fantastic 20-minute documentary, “It’s On! The Comic Book Origins of Kick-Ass,” that focuses on the books with interviews from Mr. Millar, penciller Mr. Romita, inker Tom Palmer and colorist Dean White. Most striking is that 90 percent of the feature highlights the artwork, as it should.
Read all about it: Marvel Publishing offers the entire eight-issue series bundled in hardcover format ($24.99). It is not recommended for younger children or anyone offended by nudity, profanity, brutality or nerdy kids kicking butt.View Entire Story
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A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
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