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I can’t believe they actually made this into a film.

My site Daily-Math.com is temporarily down. I got hacked and some geeks thought it’d be a cool idea to infect my shit with all types of viruses, just for shits and giggles. Hah hah very funny bitches. My site is where I usually post stuff like this, comic book, video game, horror movie reviews, all that. For those that don’t know, I’ve been a comic book reader since way the eff back. And I take my comics very serious. I’ve been a fan of artist John Romita, Jr. for a very long time. Pound for pound, he’s one of Marvel’s best artists, ever. Best in that Romita has been consistent in his craft for damn near 20 – 30 years now. Best in that after all them years, I still look forward to seeing his work as it never gets stale. He might actually be the best in how he flawlessly draws every Marvel character he touches into a mastepiece. No hyperbole.

Mark Millar is a writer. I’ve been a fan of his too, even though he hasn’t been in the game as long as Romita. An A+ student of the Frank Miller school of  hyper realism in comics, Millar penned two of my favorite titles,  “The Authority”and “The Ultimates”, a ret-con of Marvel’s franchise hero team the Avengers. Millar’s “The Ultimates” Avengers are dirty in how they play for keeps. And their “commander” in chief,  longtime Marvel character Nick Fury, a white WWII hardened general, reincarnated by Jim Steranko to rock the James Bond swag back  in the sixties is now Black. Millar actually patterned his Nick Fury after actor Samuel Jackson. That’s why Jackson has been in some of these Marvel movies of late, rocking a patch as the Black Nick Fury.  In ‘The Ultimates’, Captain America is just that, a straight up white man sworn to the American way, to the point that he will will split your shit to the white meat and enjoy it the way white would if they were a super soldier and had license to Rodney King any mother fucker that even thought about throwing shots Uncle Sam’s way. As racio-fascist as that shit sounds, the concept is dope. Honest. I won’t even go into how Millar portrays the Incredible Hulk as a living weapon of mass destruction. Literally. Manhattan civilians get murked in the thousands, 9-11 fashion, whenever someone gets Bruce Banner mad. No one likes this Banner when he’s angry.

Back in 2008,  Romita and Millar teamed up to bless comic fans with ‘Kick-Ass”, an 8 issue episodic tale of  Dave Lizewski, a hyper neurotic teen loser. Lizewski is destined for lifetime #FAIL status, but is nerved up to the point the he decides to stop playing stereotypical jock bait at school and chronic thug victim in the streets. Having been pushed too far, Lizewski decides to take matters into his own hands and goes Charles Bronson vigilante, dressed in a bright green and yellow diving suit (purchased online) and armed only with two night stick type club thingies. Dave overnight becomes Kick-Ass, the world’s first real life superhero. No radioactive spiders, Batcave or  Kryptonite, no tragic deaths causing our protagonist to make a vow as an eternal agent against evil. Just a pubescent kid who’s tired of being pushed around to the point that he’s about to bring it. Dave is also tired of getting no types of ass.  Tired also, of pretending he’s homo to the chick that he has a crush on, just so’s they could cuddle up as they do bish type shit together. And tired of having to jerk off to online PrOn when he goes home after his “dates” with his crush. As a hero who never had a fight in his life, you already know that Kick-Ass will get his shit twisted the fuck like dirty shoe laces. Especially since the backdrop of this tale rests in New York City. It’s not pretty. And this is where one of Marvel’s most violent comic books earns its M for mature rating. Streets is gully, Kick-Ass is terry cloth. After a very rough start, and having the cojones not to quit, Kick-Ass becomes an official Internets Celebrity, because of how his escapades start getting captured on witnesses’ smart phones and uploaded to Youtube and Myspace. Virally, Kick-Ass is hitting Nah Right numbers by the seconds. As an international phenomena, his fame eventually attracts the attention of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, a Batman & Robin like duo who has been doing the vigilante thing on the low, way off the grids and apparently, way before Lizewski decided to play hero. Unlike the famed caped crusader though, Big Daddy carries major toast and draws heat like Picasso. Cats lose arm, leg, major parts to ‘em when Daddy lets the slugs fly. His partner, Hit-Girl is also Big Daddy’s 10 year old daughter. As co-pilot, Hit-Girl is only a few steps away from besting her pops’ gun game. Plus, Hit-Girl likes to use switchblades. And swords. And all types of sharp weaponry that slices torso into carved up holiday turkey. Them two is no types of joke, nor no types of right in the head. On the surface they fight the bad guys, but you can tell, on every mission, that deep down, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl have an insatiable appetite for killing.  Mickey and Mallory look straight puss compared to them. Then there’s Red Mist, another goofy ass white boy like Lizewski, with no skills whatsoever, but has a “Mist” mobile car and other gadgets and shit that only a wealthy kid could buy. Mist says he was wholly inspired by Kick-Ass to don a mask and cape and the two soon join forces and become bff’s. Also important to the story is how Kick-Ass’ actions brings the unwanted attention of the Mafia, who very much want to snuff out any types of superhero activities that may possibly interfere with their lucrative criminal activities.

I copped the whole series in hardcover a couple  months ago,  from Bergen Street Comics, the best comic book shop in the whole of Brooklyn. Shit was dope. And because the title was released under Marvel’s Icon imprint, a subdivision, Millar and Romita flushed discretion down the toilet. In a very good way. Grimey in its realism, gully in the way it serves up crates of wanton gratuitous violence on some John Woo, Miike Takashi fleaux, ‘Kick-Ass’ is a very entertaining read that goes from dark to darker, right to the very last frame and word bubble. This book  should at least be considered as an addition to any serious readers’ book collection.

I started seeing ‘Kick-Ass’ movie teasers and trailers a couple of months ago, before I read the book. The box office success of ‘Wanted‘, Millar’s first property to be pick up by Hollywood earned him a  green light for ‘Kick-Ass’. Which is surprising. Hollywood and American Christians typically go hypocritically ape over anything kids and violence related. Especially lil’ white kids. Based on that, I expected the film industry suits to censor the fuck out of this piece. I’m guessing though, that Millar called on his Rabbi and got the beaureacatic standards waves parted. Not only does this movie match in gore and imact the shenanigans contained in the book, ‘Kick-Ass’ the movie is in every way better than the book. As a religious comic fan, please believe that never happens with comic to screen adaptations. The story plays out so naturally on screen that it’s like Romita and Millar delivered the book solely for it to land on the big screen.

I don’t like actor Nicholas Cage too tough. Other than ‘Raising Arizona’, ‘Wild At Heart’ and ‘Face Off’, his performance always comes a bit too over the top for my steez. Kinda like Pacino is these days. Playing Big Daddy though, Cage makes the role his bitch in how he owns it. Batman is my favorite character ever and Cage channels all iterations of Bat’s rich history, from the pulpy noir Bob Kane flavor to the campy Adam West from the sixties show to Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight Batman 2.0 version into Big Daddy. It is at once a funny, frightening and dynamic experience to watch how Big Daddy’s grim persona jumps off the screen. Nicholas Cage is Big Daddy, and Big Daddy is Batman. Aaron Johnson as Lizewski/Kick-Ass does the same in how his portrayal of the titular character is served way better than the book’s, especially in bringing to life his reasons for becoming a superhero, and how his mission to become Kick-Ass is that much more more believable than how it read off print.

Director Matthew Vaughn (‘Stardust’, ‘Layer Cake’) could have easily made this flick a classic with just Big Daddy and Kick-Ass as the vehicle’s main characters. But with the inclusion of the pint sized rocket launcher that is Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) ,  the 10 year old killing machine murders the rest of this films’ actors on their own shit. Whenever she took command of the camera, this nigga here instantly *died*. In action, in dialogue, in facial acting, I fell completely in love with that little Hit Girl. No pederast, R. Kelly. This movie is hers, and she never lets us, the audience down. As to the action and Vaughn’s direction, the choreography of pain plays like a beautiful concerto of death; a silk woven tapestry of blood, guts, organs and brain matter. Matthew Vaughn in this flick,  has become the new Michael Jordan of the shoot out genre. Once exclusive to production companies in the east, with movies like “Battle Royale” and “Tokyo Gore Police”, ultra violent movies starring kids now belongs to Hollywood.

Now, even though I feel I can at this point (I gotta see this shit like 2 more times before I make it official), I’m not going to say that ‘Kick-Ass’ is the BEST comic book movie of all time, but I will call it the BEST comic book to movie adaptation I have ever seen, bar none. Please believe when I say I can’t wait to see ‘Kick-Ass’ again on the big screen, then again and again on Blu-ray. The game has been taken to another level. But really, how much did I really love ‘Kick-Ass’?  Well… so far, the most amazing events that I’ve lived through in my lifetime has been man landing on the moon, the birth and growth of Hip Hop as a music and as a culture, the invention of the Internets, a black man that I can relate to as the President in the White House and having been fortunate enough to have viewed ‘Kick-Ass’ the movie with my own two eyes. I love this movie so effin much that I’m crying tears right now. As I write this. Crying because my two younger sons (12 and 8) are too young to see the movie, and life right now is looking so unfair for them. I’m also crying because I’m not yet millionaire, billionaire rich. Only because if I were  millionaire, billionaire rich, I’d charter a fleet of planes to fly over to my homeland of Haiti,  and I’d make sure to gather up each and everyone of those Haitians, touched by that earthquake and old enough, and I’d fly all of them over 13 year old Haitians out to the plushest, dopest movie houses across this great nation, and across the globe, and I’d buy all them over 13 year old Haitian people tons of pop corn, and Twizzlers too, and cheesy ass nachos. And with Raisinets, plus gallons of  Sprite. And I’d have them all take in the eye miracle that is ‘Kick-Ass’.  And afterwards, I’d go on to live a very good life, and finally, in my old age, as I’d have died knowing I gave to the world one of the greatest contributions ever given to a peoples, I’d smile taking in my last breaths, knowing that I had given so much to so many.

Real talk though,  fuck around if you want, but if I ever gave ya’ll some decent advice, please trust the God and fucking run to see ‘Kick-Ass’ asap. ‘Kick-Ass’ didn’t kick the Box office’s ass  for it’s 1st weekend volley, even though it broke even. I’m attributing that to film goers not being able to determine whether this was a kid flick or a superhero knock off joint. Understandably so. ‘Kick-Ass’ is probably one of the hardest flicks to market, probably after ‘Grind House’ in its entirety. However, you all owe it to yourselves to peep this. Even you bible thumping Jesus freak ass Christians who believe seeing kids packing heat is a mortal sin. We all need to let them suits up in Hollywood know what kind of eye candy we require. Yes we can! ‘Kick-Ass’ will most definitely kick your fucking ass. Over and over again. And a brutal ass kicking like that is something we all need in our lives.

  • BigWig

    Wow. CJ. If this is anything at all like Battle Royale, or even some percentage as good, then I'll give it a chance.

  • http://twitter.com/Dart_Adams Dart_Adams

    In terms of an adaptation this was a brilliant job. Was it a perfect translation? That will probably never happen with Millar's work. In any event, listen to CJ and SEE THIS FILM then go pick up the graphic novel to see how different it is from the film version & find out how the director & creative team managed to transform as grisly, bloody hyperviolent piece of source material into a hit film with a guaranteed sequel.

    Who's gonna wanna touch “Nemesis”, though?

    One.

  • http://dallaspenn.com/weblog Dallas

    Best. Review. Evar.