How many of you wanted to dress up as super-heroes and kick some ass as a kid? Hell, I still want to as an adult. Sure, I'm a pacifist and probably wouldn't hurt a fly, but the fact remains that I've fantasized plenty about putting on a costume and taking it to the criminal underworld. My guess is that anyone who's read a comic book or watched a comic book movie has had this inclination. But one comic book I've read made me feel like that more than any other: Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.'s Kick-Ass.
It tells the story of Dave Lizewski, a teenager just like any other, only more so. He lives in our world, the real world, with comic books and consequences for ridiculous behavior, but that doesn't stop him from buying a wetsuit on eBay and taking to the streets to fight crime.
Sure, he gets his ass kicked and a knife in his gut and a long convalescence in the hospital to show for it, but it was a hell of a rush. As soon as he mended, he went out again, but this time he did the ass-kicking and some kids captured the action on a cell-phone camera. One quick upload to YouTube later and the story is set for some of the most outrageous, bloody fun you've ever seen in a comic book.
The great thing about the book was that it was made with no compromises. Since no publisher was involved and Millar and Romita were working for free, they could do what they want.
Then Matthew Vaughn stepped in. He's the director of the film (and also Layer Cake and Stardust). He swooped in, bought the option with his own money with the intention of making Kick-Ass his next movie. The only problem was that no studio would touch the film. You see, one of the heroes that sprouts into the limelight after Kick-Ass reaches the height of popularity is Hit-Girl. She's 11, swears like a sailor, and kills more people more gruesomely than The Bride in Kill Bill. (She was trained by her father, Big Daddy, an ex-cop with a brutal sense of justice played in the film by Nicolas Cage.)
Since no studio would finance it, Vaughn put his money where his mouth was and financed the whole thing entirely between him and some friends. And so the movie was made with the same carefree, no compromises attitude as the comic.
The result is the film that comes out on Friday, but it seems as though people have never heard of it.
I have so much enthusiasm for the story and the film, I want to ask you to go see it to be a true patron of the arts and independent cinema.
And it needs all the help it can get. It's rated R, it's independent, and based on an independent comic book. If you don't support this movie, how many more R-rated comic book movies do you think we'll see?
Trust me in advance, the word of mouth on this movie is going to be huge, but unless there's a strong showing opening weekend, there won't be anywhere to go see it on the second weekend. And as soon as we get into May, forget about it. At that point, Iron Man 2 takes over the world.
Do yourself (and the creators) a favor and check it out. Go to your local comic book store and pick up the graphic novel (or get it on Amazon). Then watch the trailer to the film. And then buy yourself a ticket for the movie.
And if you're still interested, I did interviews with the creators for Big Shiny Robot! Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. were kind enough to talk to me about the book and the movie, and the time Mark Millar tried to imbibe whiskey through his ocular cavity...
In any case, I hope to see you at the movies this weekend!
(Kick-Ass is published by Marvel in the US and Titan Books in the UK)