Blu-Ray Review: Spectacular Release For Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Kick-Ass’

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CHICAGO – Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass” didn’t take off in theaters like it deserved to do but a simply spectacular Blu-ray release from Lionsgate is sure to please both fans of this excellent slice of post-modern entertainment and help it find the wider audience that I’m sure it will on the home market. With great video/audio and one of the best collections of special features this year, it’s one of Lionsgate’s best releases ever. Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

This beautifully subversive movie starts as an awkward teen comedy but becomes a wildly enjoyable action adventure that simply destroys many of the Marvel Universe films when it comes to pure entertainment and is so much more enjoyable than any of this year’s superhero blockbusters including “Iron Man 2” and “Jonah Hex.”

A film that has already offended many, “Kick-Ass” may not be one of those movies that crosses every demographic (don’t give it to your grandma for Xmas although I think the controversy over the violence surrounding Hit Girl misses the point that said violence is inflicted by a man who is a horrible human being and is merely being presented as a super-villain), but it delivers on every level for the demographic that is interested in seeing the latest and greatest zero-to-hero story. Expertly directed, well-performed, and cleverly structured, the biggest problem with “Kick-Ass” is that it didn’t make enough to green-light a sequel quite yet…but a Blu-ray release of this quality has the power to change that.

Kick-Ass will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Kick-Ass will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Photo credit: Lionsgate

For the film itself, I will quote my own review:

Kick-Ass will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Kick-Ass will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Photo credit: Lionsgate

“The zero-to-hero of this story is Dave Lizewski (Johnson), an awkward-but-sweet young man who can’t even talk to his high school crush (Lyndsy Fonseca) and spends most of his time in the local comic book store with his two wisecracking buddies (Evan Peters & Clark Duke). Poor Dave gets beat up a lot and is tired of the crime taking over his neighborhood. Unlike most people, he refuses to keep looking the other way and he orders a costume, trains, and starts kicking ass. He will be the first “real” superhero.

He will not be the only one. Chris D’Amico (Mintz-Plasse) is the overprotected child of a notorious mobster named Frank (the always-great Mark Strong). D’Amico’s arc is unclear almost throughout the film and I would never spoil it here but Vaughn and his team brilliantly play with comic fan awareness that the offspring of supervillains don’t always follow in their parent’s footsteps while keeping us wondering what kind of role the kid who will be known as Red Mist will play.

The movie-stealer is Hit Girl, a sweet child who also goes by the name Mindy and is a killing machine. She has been thoroughly damaged and warped by her father (Nicolas Cage), a chunkier version of Batman known as Big Daddy. What I think some critics are missing is that we’re not supposed to think Big Daddy belongs in the parenthood hall of fame. He warped his daughter for his own complex revenge and, in many ways, he’s a villain of the piece as much as Frank D’Amico. On the other hand, Hit Girl is an incredibly entertaining fictional creation that will be the make-or-break factor for most viewers. When she first breaks through, killing a whole room of bad guys, the chasm between superhero fiction and realism is clear enough to this viewer to not get offended but it may not be for all.

Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, Red Mist, and Big Daddy all have their own stories that come together at various points, building toward one of the most amazing climaxes in years.”

Love it or hate it, “Kick-Ass” is one of the only movies of 2010 that provoked any debate or conversation at all. There’s something to be said for a movie, especially a superhero one, that provokes heated conversation. In a year of boring, lackluster movies that don’t challenge the viewer at all, “Kick-Ass” gets in your face with its distinct, unusual, entertaining, style. For this viewer, it lives up to its name.

Kick-Ass will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Kick-Ass will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 3rd, 2010
Photo credit: Lionsgate

And so does its Blu-ray. The HD video and audio are well above average for Lionsgate with Vaughn’s perfect color choices popping off the screen. Some of the line detail seems a bit soft at times but it’s rare enough that most viewers won’t notice and the audio mix is perfect with the right blend of dialogue, score, and sound effects in a gorgeous 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track.

The special features that accompany “Kick-Ass” are some of the most remarkable of the year. First, check out “Ass-Kicking BonusView Mode,” a behind-the-scenes experience that reverses the typical picture-in-picture pattern in which the film itself is in the forefront and interviews and b-t-s footage airs in the corner. By reversing them, the focus turns more into a documentary with the scene being examined or discussed playing alongside instead of just feeling like a fancy special feature. And it’s fascinating, great stuff with insightful interviews and well-organized footage.

Of course, a lot of the information in “BonusView” is repeated in “A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass,” which runs almost as long as the film itself. If there’s somehow still a question you may have about the making of the film, it will probably be answered in Vaughn’s detailed audio commentary. Other special features include a look at the source material called “It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass,” “The Art of Kick-Ass Gallery,” and “Marketing Archive.” The combo pack also includes a standard DVD and digital version of the film, so you can watch it wherever you are with only one purchase.

With one set, Lionsgate has given fans of “Kick-Ass” multiple ways to watch their favorite film, a spectacular technical treatment, and enough special features to occupy at least a day’s viewing. What more could a modern superhero ask for?

StarCheck out our interview with “Kick-Ass” Star Aaron Johnson.
StarCheck out our red carpet coverage of the Chicago premiere of “Kick-Ass” with Stars Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
StarCheck out our slideshow of imagery from “Kick-Ass”.
StarCheck out our film review of “Kick-Ass”.

‘Kick-Ass’ stars Aaron Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Lyndsy Fonseca, Evan Peters, Clark Duke. It was written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn and directed by Vaughn. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 3rd, 2010 and is rated R. It runs 117 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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