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Kick-Ass (Blu-ray Review)

To say that I was not looking forward to the April 16th theatrical release date of Kick-Ass would be like saying that I would rather watch a DVD of my favorite film over its superior Blu-ray counterpart.  It’s just not going to happen.  And now that my number four film of the year is coming out on Blu-ray August 3rd, I have even more reason to celebrate.  My obsession with this film happened way back on the magical date of July 24, 2009.  It was on that very day, within Hall H at Comic-Con 2009 in San Diego, that I was introduced to the world of Kick-Ass. I never wore a grin so large in life as compared to when we, the captive audience within Hall H, were treated to not only the film’s Red Band trailer, but also exclusive clips highlighting the mayhem and action of the eccentric cast.  Weird thing is, the film had no distribution deal as of yet.  It was shown first at Comic-Con to gauge the public’s interest.  And if memory serves me correct, the panel even got a standing ovation by the end of its time slot.  Not long after, Lionsgate, one of my favorite movie studios sealed the deal to distribute Kick-Ass nationwide.  And that was a great day indeed.  Sadly, Nicolas Cage was absent from the 2009 Comic-Con panel, but this girl (see below), Chloe Moretz (aka Hit-Girl), won the audience over with not only her youth and innocence, but also her, for lack of a better term, “kick-ass” action sequences.  I’m a firm believer that Kick-Ass would not be half the film it is without Hit-Girl.  I think she will be an actress people will need to pay close attention to over the next few years.  Trust me on that (Let Me In).

Film  

I have to admit that upon my first viewing I was a bit let down.  Why?  It’s because like always, I had my expectations set WAY too high.  I hate when I do that.  That’s why when I recently saw Inception, I went in with zero expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.  But anyway, back to Kick-Ass.  Long story short, I knew I liked it, but I did not know what was wrong with my first press screening of it, other than the fact that the projector died and interrupted our viewing about three-fourths of the way in, but that’s a completely different story.  I’m getting used to events like those as of late.  Anyway, like I always do, I went back for a second dose.  This time I took my wife because I know she would appreciate the kick-ass fighting of Chloe’s character because after all, she was a witness like I was at Comic-Con 2009 on July 24th.  So what happened upon my second viewing?  Well naturally, I loved it, just like everyone likes a superhero that anonymously rises against all odds and saves the world.

While the film has its apparent flaws, they are easily overlooked due to the all-star cast assembled for this project.  The Matthew Vaughn produced film stars Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Clark Duke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Nicolas Cage, Marc Strong and Xander Berkely.  Anyone familiar with the previously mentioned names knows that they can all hold their own on the silver screen.  The onscreen chemistry is what makes this film so remarkable.  In my opinion, Chloe Moretz is the new generation of Dakota Fanning-like childhood stars.  It’s amazing how she delivers her performances while her real-life parents do a grand job of keeping her secured in reality, not the typical Hollywood slosh lifestyle.  They continue to do a phenomenal job of raising the young actress while she continues to shine film after film.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what she does in Overture Films’ Let Me In (see here) later on in the year.  It’s going to be grand.  “I gotta a feeling.”  Oops, didn’t I promise not to get my expectations up?  LOL.

The film has multiple plot lines going on in the beginning that all seem to intersect by the film’s conclusion, but this is really a story about a boy in love with a girl.  Sounds familiar, huh?  As fate would have it, one day a teenage comic book geek, Dave Lizewski (A. Johnson), questions why nobody has ever decided to become a superhero like the ones in the comic books and movies.  He decides to take it upon himself to become a superhero, despite not having any supernatural powers, armed with only batons and an adorning scuba diving outfit.  Hence, Kick-Ass is born.  He quickly discovers that crime fighting is harder than it looks in the comics and on the big screen.  After a horrible accident, young Dave awakens to an impenetrable body made possible by the many rods, screws and plates he has holding his shattered skeleton together.  With his newfound strength, he decides to give this superhero business another chance.

Fortunately for Dave, he is not alone in the crime-fighting world.  He has Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit-Girl (Moretz) on his side.  Together, the trio will stop at nothing to topple the evil empire of gangster Frank D’Amico (Strong).  Obviously, there’s more to the story than I am letting on here, but I want you to have fun with this film in case you have never seen it.  This film feeds the fantasies of comic book geeks all over the world, including mine.  While the film is comedic in its nature and tone, it delivers high-octane action, a well-written screenplay and most importantly, characters that we care about.  By the time Act 3 rolls around, if you are not feeling the plight of Hit-Girl’s unfinished business, then you have no soul.  This is a coming of age film that has heart, spunk and triumphantly kicks ass.  I think the film got shafted a bit, revenue wise, due to it’s R-Rating, but I would not have it any other way.  I’m anxiously awaiting a sequel.  Darn!  There I go again.  Cool, it Brian.  Cool it!

Video  

Lionsgate brings Kick-Ass to the Blu-ray format with an AVC MPEG-4 video transfer framed in a 16:9 widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  While the video is not perfect here, it’s definitely not something you should pass up on either.  From the very first blue skyline shot, one would think they are going to have the greatest visual experience of a lifetime with this disc, but sadly that’s not the case.  The Blu-ray does provide a vibrant presentation that’s surreal at times with no blemishes in the print, but it does not make up for the inconsistencies found within the 117-minute runtime.  Grain levels are fine throughout with the exception of the very noisy exterior nocturnal city shots.  While the presentation is usually razor sharp and the three-dimensional strength can be breathtaking at times, that does not make up for the fact that there are inconsistent black levels and crushing issues going on.  These are not distracting to the point where I am bothered by watching it, but nonetheless, I would not be doing my job if I did not point these out.  For the most part, the disc’s video transfer is “kick-ass.”

Audio  

Lionsgate provides their usual “kick-ass” 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track for the Blu-ray release.  It’s near reference quality throughout.  Because of the film’s comedic tones, it’s not meant to be a Dark Knight or a King Kong, but I think it holds its own quite nicely.  Unlike the films I just mentioned, the activity levels of Kick-Ass are not always in 5th gear.  This is probably the only reason I did not give Kick-Ass a perfect score.  I know it’s not fair, but hey, life’s not always fair.  One thing Kick-Ass really has going for it is its stellar soundtrack.  I did not feel it upon my initial theatrical experience, but upon subsequent veiwings I can honestly say that the pivotal music really captures the mood of the action sequences and emotions played throughout the film.  In a nutshell, it’s brilliant.  Dialogue is always clear, understandable and audible throughout.  The music and the effects are second to none.  You like bullets flying all around you?  If yes, then you come to the right place.  Give Kick-Ass a spin!

Special Features  

Like the video and audio of the Kick-Ass Blu-ray release, the special features are pretty “kick-ass” too.  Are you getting tired of me using that word?  I’m sorry.  I will only use it once more before this review is over.  I promise.  There’s a lot of stuff to cover here in the special features department, so let’s not waste any more time.  Shall we?

  • Ass-Kicking BonusView – This is simply a video commentary that runs the exact length of the film’s runtime.
  • Audio Commentary – The audio commentary track features director Matthew Vaughn.
  • It’s On!  The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass (HD) – Here’s a 20-minute featurette that discusses the origins and creation of the comics.
  • A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass (HD) – This part documentary expends 113 minutes of screen time on your television set.  The four parts are Pushing Boundaries (creation of comics and making of the film), Let’s Shoot This F***** (behind-the-scenes footage), Tempting Fate (my favorite part… visiting Comic-Con and finding a distributor) and All Fired Up! (visual effects).
  • The Art of Kick Ass – This one is kind of self-explanatory, is it not?
  • Marketing Archive (HD) – This one is kind of cool.  It pretty much has all the trailers, including the Redband Hit-Girl trailer, poster galleries and also an international poster gallery.  Not too shabby!
  • BD Touch and Metamenu Remote Enabled for iPhone/iPod/iPad interactivity (just anther reason to have one of these devices)
  • D-Box Metadata Track to Connect to D-Box Motion Based Systems (I know of no one who has one of these)
  • Lionsgate Live (Twitter/Facebook integration and wallpapers)
  • BD-Live Menu System – Lets you access exclusive content, special offers, ringtones and more.
  • DVD – A second disc contains a DVD presentation of the film (a coaster for me).
  • Digital Copy – The third disc includes a Digital Copy playable on superior Mac products and of course, those pesky PC products.

Final Thoughts  

Alright, if you did the math yourself, then you would discover that if you average all the four above mentioned category scores you would get an average of 4.125, which you would automatically round down to 4.  Wouldn’t you?  Okay, let’s be honest here.  Simply put, this film “KICKS ASS,” and for the first time in my online reviewing career I am putting more weight on the film score to strengthen the disc’s final score.  This is a disc every superhero and comic book fan NEEDS in their personal collections.  No questions asked.  After a viewing or two, you can’t help but fall in love with this film, its divergent cast and its bombastic orgy of mayhem, action and balls-to-the-walls violence.   This Blu-ray disc comes with the highest of my recommendations for the calendar year of 2010.  Pre-order your copy now!

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Bring home Kick-Ass today on Blu-ray!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

5 Responses to “Kick-Ass (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    If the special features were kick ass, why did they only earn a score of 3.5?

  2. Brian White

    They are kick-ass compared to most of the Blu-rays I review, but they are no 6 hours + like on the Dark Knight and prestigious others.

    You have to really razzle and dazzle me to award a high score for Special Features. They have to consume me for half of a day to even get in the 4’s.

    I’m not easily won over.

  3. Sean Ferguson

    You are hardcore! For me it’s more about the quality than the quantity although I do love to see a ton of extras like the LOTR extended edition sets.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Great review, Brian. I’m blind buying this but am getting the UK Steelbook.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    Finally got around to watching this and thought it rocked. It’s the younger sibling to Watchmen, imo.