Film Junk Podcast Episode #266: Kick-Ass


0:00 – Intro / World Poutine Eating Championships
9:40 – Headlines: Steven Seagal Hires Sex Slaves, Joss Whedon to Direct The Avengers, Green Lantern’s Suit Will Be CG, Michael Bay’s Reality Show, Conan Signs with TBS, Seth MacFarlane to Direct Ted, James Cameron Trying to Save Amazon Rain Forest
49:55 – Review: Kick-Ass
1:29:25 – Versus: Nicolas Cage vs. John Travolta
1:37:48 – Other Stuff We Watched: Battlestar Galactica, Greg’s Hooters Story, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, X-Men: The Animated Series
1:54:30 – Junk Mail: Recognizable Cinematographers, Film Junk’s Happy Ending, Organizing DVD Collections, Stallone as a Director, Werner Herzog’s 3-D Film, Incident at Loch Ness, Hot Actresses
2:20:55 – This Week’s DVD Releases
2:24:42 – Outro

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  • Chris

    I totally agree with jay about Kick-Ass. The film is simply not very good and not funny. “One step from the rapping Granny” is exactly right about Hit Girl. Nothing she says is actually funny, it is just said by a little girl from whom it is not expected.

  • I am more with Jay than Sean on Kick Ass, it was a fun movie I guess, but it wasn’t ‘funny’. It’s gained notoriety in the UK for the kid dropping the C word, but is that really how you want your movie to be remembered?

  • Juan Costrada

    I found Kick-Ass to have a lot in common with Adaptation. A film that initially tries to subvert the genre but by the third act completely relents to all the cliches of the genre.

    Having read the comic, I did smile when the jet pac made an appearance. I also like the way they changed the thread related to the mystery object in the case.

    I also thought it was refreshing to actually have young actors portraying the heroes, rather than people in their mid-twenties. That made the boob grope even better.

    I also thought the action sequences were fantastic. They were original, shot well featured little shaky-cam.

    And Hit-Gril’s entrance was of Harry Lime proportions.

  • Rus in Chicago

    Seeing now have my verdict soon

  • swarez

    While I enjoyed Kick-Ass I was let down by the fact that the filmmakers never really address the whole point of the film, what would happen if a regular guy becomes a superhero? It instead right away grants the main character with “powers” and introduces two people with seemingly superhuman abilities. So I don’t think the film is a satire of anything, but rather rehashes old ideas in a glossy package. So I think you are over thinking it Kurt.

  • swarez

    The best way to describe the film is what would happen if a comic book character became a superhero because the film does not operate in the real world like it promises.

  • Finally caught this last night. I’m with Jay on most points, especially regarding the lacklustre acion sequences, though I did find most of it to be pretty funny. I hate to be that guy, but the comic was miles better and addressed most of Jay’s concerns. It’s a shame the changes they made weren’t for the better.

  • kurt

    Last Action Hero people. Last Action Hero. Of course I’m a pretty big fan of Last Action Hero and I thought Kick-Ass actually refined things along those lines for the better!

  • I’m not sure how reminding us of Last Action Hero discounts any complaints of acting, dialogue, humour or action in what is otherwise an action/comedy. It sounds as though you’re saying everything should get an automatic pass just because Kick Ass has satirical elements.

    This is exactly why Behind the Mask sucks. It’s also exactly why people convince themselves to look past the suck in that film as well.

  • Mrespony

    I call shenanigans. This is false flag criticism Jay! I think you had a few dull reviews in the last few weeks because the movie crop was shit, nothing worth talking about. But put the smackdown on Kick-Ass, now there’s a discussion (and look, this is the 60th comment). Kick-Ass the comic was crap, I read through it all in about 20 minutes. Not interested in the movie, although now I may have to go just to support my conspiracy theory.

  • I didn’t get to see Kick Ass last night because my friend forced a switch to Death at a Funeral last minute….was going to sneak in to K.A. after, but was to tired.

    Jay brings up a good idea. What films make your list of “good scripts/ideas, good acting covering for poor camerawork, budget etc.”

    I submit:

    richard linklater’s Tape
    blair witch
    nolan’s following
    jackson’s bad taste
    rami’s evil dead
    (I see a pattern here – good director’s first films)
    virgin suicides
    last house on the left (original)

  • damndirtyape

    >>While I enjoyed Kick-Ass I was let down by the fact that the filmmakers never really address the whole point of the film, what would happen if a regular guy becomes a superhero? It instead right away grants the main character with “powers” and introduces two people with seemingly superhuman abilities. So I don’t think the film is a satire of anything, but rather rehashes old ideas in a glossy package. So I think you are over thinking it Kurt.

    I was initially intrigued by the set-up as well.. until I saw the red band trailer for hit-girl and witnessed yet another tired Matrix-rip off fantasy fight sequence straight out of Kill Bill (Which I turned off 1/2 way through as I found it unwatchable). How long must this “style” of action gimmicks continue?

    Anyway, looks like this film violates its own high-concept premise right from the start. An accident that causes the guy to stop feeling pain? Oh brother…

    Many thanks to you Jay for bringing a common sense review to a film that has fan boys the world over salivating to bash anyone that dares criticize it. Some of the threads on other boards have been unbearable. I know fanboys love to protect “their” films.. but even this was even worse than with Avatar.
    Just another reason why I’m a loyal fan.

  • Does anyone else find it strange that within the Batman universe that none of the characters have super-powers but in films like Spiderman, X-men, fantastic four and Iron man where it’s in New York City or LA a.k.a The real world, that the characters do have super powers?

    Just a thought

  • Does anyone else find it strange that within the Batman universe that none of the characters have super-powers

    Superman doesn’t have super powers?

  • Dave

    I think he was referring to Nolan’s Batman universe were Superman may really be just a comic. I know studio suits don’t like to hear that, but it might be truth.

  • Christopher Reed

    they better review ghost writer

  • I listen to both filmjunk and row three podcast before seeing Kickass last night and I think Jay and Wintle need to improve their argument that Observe and Report is a so much better satirical example.
    First, I think the film starts out very well and is an excellent example of setting the mood and explaining were this film is going. The voice over and shot construction echo Jay’s favorite Spiderman, yet, the art direction and locations give it a grittier feel that shows this is a different take on that type film. Jay keeps talking about the satirical elements being the only thing propping up this film and that it’s a nerd fantasy but I question Jay’s rational and common sense; the satirical elements are well constructed to the point I think the average viewer will wholly see their place. I mean, the references to Spiderman are very obvious, yet work within the context of this film. The row houses and streets are an “American Splendor” version of the locations in Spiderman. The Spiderman tag line, “with great power comes great responsibility” is hacked and reused. In this way, Jay’s thinking a wider audience well not see these elements is a commentary on his opinion of audiences and not the film’s construction.
    I really have no idea why the row three nerds want to run away from the film’s comedy. I got some laughs, and yes, a lot of them were tied to the juxtaposition between this film and other superhero films, and nerd fantasy. I don’t understand why that is bad, all comedies choose an angle. Observe and Report used “pushed the envelope” humor, Borat uses fake documentary exposing average Americans racism humor.
    Observe and Report’s problems (and there are not many) are the same problems Jay criticizes Kickass for. O & R has periods of armature lighting and camerawork to a greater extent (or equal too) Kickass. Jay can claim it’s the style of the film but he knows it is a reflection of budget issues and a large practical location; mall and parking lot. I cannot see how anyone can prove O & R’s fight scenes are any better than Kickass, it’s a push at best. O & R’s over the top ending has a man being hit by a 357 magnum and being hosted up, carried to the police station, and the shooter leaving without any questioning and telling the cops to F-off. Really Jay, Wintle? that is the example you are using to bring down Kickass and its ending.
    Jay keeps talking about how Kickass doesn’t riff on what would truly happen if a common person tries to become a superhero, let’s see:
    Goofy costume and being laughed at by criminals, check
    Getting almost killed, check
    Using his popularity to get some ass, check
    Being scared about death and giving up, check
    I think they covered all the basics. To say they don’t do any of this exploration is false.
    Jay has talked in both podcasts about Kickass forgoing it’s believability and resorting to typical comic book actions. He states that the lead in Kickass gets his own super powers which allow him to do super things. This is false as after Kickass gets out of the hospital he is never in an over-the-top physical confrontation were he does anything beyond enduring more punches. Jay makes it appear that he can leap over buildings which he still can’t do as he has a scene where he is unable to follow Hit Girl from rooftop to rooftop. I really don’t think the dead nerve ending criticism is enough to discredit the film. I also don’t believe it is thrown in and forgotten as there had to be something that allowed Kickass to be able to continue. If you want to criticizes the film on that level then talk about the scene were the filmmakers make fun of the fact Kickass has to learn to use a high tech. jet pack in 4 minutes.
    Now I can see if Jay didn’t like the lead actor how that will flavor his entire experience. I for one think the guy did a solid job displaying the nerdy puppy dog face and awkward avenger affectively. McLovin’s problem was one of make-up as the person applying that pancake should never work again.
    Last thing I want to mention is “je ne sais quoi”. I feel Jay did not get the “je ne sais quoi” of this film and resorts to criticizing others for “putting” something in to the film that is not there. I think we can all admit, like the meaning of the term itself, this is an unknowable thing and very hard to debate. But in the world of film it is very important as it is one of the few artforms were it has a huge effect. Film is a combination of light and shadow, noise and words, that exist in a time and place. That mixture can produce a certain ”je ne sais quoi” that is hard to put your finger on. This is the same “je ne sais quoi” Jay talks about when defending films like Escape from LA and Prince of Darkness. I’m surprise he cannot admit it might exist here for others.