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Chloë Grace Moretz: Hit Girl
Kick Ass Movie Review
Eleven year old Chloë Grace Moretz dominates in the action movie "Kick-Ass" by director Matthew Vaughn. Chloë, who is now thirteen, has been at the center of controversy, not for an eleven-year old handily dispatching a roomful of thugs with violence and gore, but for the four letter word she calls them before she does it. Anyone who has seen Chloë in 500 Days of Summer as the precocious little sister of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, knows that it was only a matter of time before she would be starring in her own take-charge role. Who knew it would be when she was eleven.
After seeing Angelina Jolie on billboards advertising the movie "Wanted" based on the comic's by Mark Millar (also the author of "Kick-Ass" comics,) Moretz told her agent she wanted an Angelina Jolie-type role. In her own words: "You know, like an action hero, woman empowerment, awesome, take-charge leading role."
One month later she was given the role of Hit Girl in the teen angst satire of action heroes, "Kick-Ass." Moretz plays a self-assured, potty-mouthed heroine who leaves a trail of bad guy left-overs in her wake. At ease with either guns or knives, she wields a mean double-bladed spear and can hit any moving target with her reel-in knife line.
If you've ever asked yourself what would happen if you ever donned a costume and tried to be a superhero, even though you knew you had no superpowers, and you can get past the language and violence, then you will love this movie.
Kick Ass is the superhero alter ego of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), who in real life says his only superpower is to be invisible to girls. His love of comic heroes and his frustration with crime in his city combine to convince him to become Kick-Ass, a crime-fighting superhero who unfortunately pulls off being a dork better than fighting and ends up getting his own ass kicked and lands in the hospital. After he gets out, instead of quitting, he foolhardily defends a fugitive running from a tough New York street gang from a beating or death, and though thrashed himself, is still standing and warns them off. An onlooker records his heroic efforts on a cellphone, and Kick-Ass becomes a worldwide internet phenomenon, complete with Kick-Ass merchandise and media sightings.
Unfortunately he attracts the attention of organized-crime kingpin Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). Sherlock Holmes, Body of Lies and The Young Victoria. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Frank's nerdy son, Chris, who talks his dad into financing his own superhero persona, Red Mist, to help bring down the opposition.
He also gets on the radar of a well-prepared and financed duo of aspiring superheroes in the form of Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Moretz), a father and daughter team who have made it their mission to bring down the crime empire he blames for the loss of his career and for the death of his wife.
Hit Girl is part of what Vaugn calls "the ultimate father-daughter relationship, where Barbie dolls are replaced with knives, and unicorns become hand grenades." Raised to be "a fully trained, brainwashed assassin," Vaughn says, "she is not normal, and therefore the rules that apply to other people do not apply to her." The surprise is how Moretz makes the character multi-dimensional with her charm, wit, intelligence and ability.
Moretz says: "We show up at [Kick-Ass'] house, say, 'We know about you,' and he realizes we're real vigilantes. I've been trained since I was a baby to be this crazy assassin girl. But what I like about the character is that she's an assassin, but at the same time she is still just an 11-year-old girl. She doesn't know any better; it's just how she was raised."
Watching the title character Dave Lizewski transform from a scared, shy dweeb into the green garbed superhero "Kick-Ass" is both poignant and revealing. Even the most beautiful girl at his high school is taken in by his charming naivety and his dedication. Using weapons instead of superpowers, the three manage to pull off some fantastic but still somehow believable fight scenes with henchmen hired by the film's bad guy, played by Mark Strong. Cage's portrayal is one of his recent best and throughout the film the characters never take themselves seriously and manage to mix mayhem and humor with Vaughn-orchestrated ease.
Before filming on "Kick-Ass" began, Moretz spent several months training in gymnastics, body conditioning and weapons safety. ("Always check your gun when someone gives it to you," she says. "Make sure it's a fake bullet.") Raised in a family of four older brothers, she is at home with the dialogue and mettle required by her character.
Her mother, Teri Moretz and her brother Trevor, read all her scripts and were enthusiastic about the "Kick-Ass" project. "My mom was like, 'It's exactly what you've been wanting to do,' " says Moretz. They thought it was a great opportunity to show off her athletic ability and smart as a whip grit. Hit Girl with her purple wig and purple pleated skirt delivers a no-holds-barred action sequence that Natalie Portman would have killed to play with Jean Reno had she had Hit Girl's training and arsenal.
Whether or not you believe an eleven year old should be swearing on screen or wreaking havoc like she would never do in real life, (she says she knows that what her characters do is fiction and has nothing to do with her real life,) everyone who sees this movie will be blown away with her performance. While she is not yet allowed to see one of her idols, Natalie Portman in The Professional, she was allowed to see Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill" movies. "It was hilarious!" she says.
"One of my favourite scenes is the one where I come in and rescue Nic and Aaron," she says. "And another is the one where I come into the corridor and I kill like 30 guys in 30 seconds. I loved doing all the action in those scenes. That was a lot of fun because I got to do crazy stuff."
In answer to the people who are appalled by the violence in the film: "I think it's pretty ironic for people to think, 'Oh, this little girl is going to be messed up by this movie'," she says. "(The movie) is ironic. It's so ironic that an 11-year-old girl can go out there and kill these 7-foot guys who are like 500 pounds. It's not real life."
"It's a movie; it's not me," she explained. "If I ever uttered one word that I said in ['Kick-Ass'], I would be grounded for years! I'd be stuck in my room until I was 20!
"I would never in a million years say [what Hit-Girl says in this film]," she laughed. "I'm an average, everyday girl; when I act with my friends, I'm totally immature. ... I have to go to bed at 9:30. If I'm up late on the computer, I lose it for two months."
Chloe recently signed to "The Fields" with Sam Worthington and "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" for Martin Scorsese and will be playing a child vampire in "Let Me In" a remake of the Swedish film classic "Let the Right One In."
"My mom and my dad, they keep me totally grounded. My mom has always said that if I get a big head, she'll take me out of this business as quickly as I got into it."
While they were shooting the film, her mother and brother reminded her that it was Hit Girl and not Chloë doing the swearing and shooting. Moretz seems to get it. She says: "When they call cut, I leave it behind."
This movie has lots of heart and fearless commitment to making fun of the genre while still retaining the love of comics and heroes. It constantly refers to comic hero culture but manages to confront its characters with real life consequences and obstacles. It will no doubt attract a sophisticated, intelligent audience in the mainstream culture as well as its counterpart in the comic hero genre with its satiric tone and seriously offbeat mood and the most outrageous tour de force by a young girl in action film history.
If you are looking for equal parts heart, fun and adventure and are willing to laugh while mayhem reigns to the gritty patter of an uncensored precocious eleven year old, get a ticket in a packed theater (it's better with a crowd) and get ready for the ride of the year.