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Blu-ray Reviews: Kick-Ass

Originally published in Sound and Image, 2011
Last updated 19 August 2012

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2010 - Universal Pictures (Australasia) Pty Ltd
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Lyndsy Fonseca, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage

Movie: Picture: Sound: Extras:

Naughty me. I meant to review this months ago, but forgot. I was reminded by two things: first, the Director has a new movie out, and second, on a rewatching, I was reminded how incredibly good Kick-Ass is.

First, the director. This is Englishman Matthew Vaughn's third movie -- yet even after the fine crime thriller Layer Cake, and the extraordinary fantasy Stardust, he ended up having to go independent with this one. That was a blessing, I suspect, because he was able to take the story in directions with which Hollywood would have been uncomfortable, and the juxtaposition of teen comedy and gritty ruthlessness would have been crushed out of the script, leaving it as a limp thing indeed. Just beware, things that are not supposed to happen in a movie do, and one or two bits may leave you squirming.

Set in America, many of the actors, including Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Johnson (who played the young John Lennon in 'Nowhere Boy' the year before) are British. Much of the background photography was CGI'd to allow startling camera movements. None of this looks fake, and the digital processing has left a picture which is startlingly sharp and clean and bright. Perhaps not all that realistic, but this movie is based on a comic book, and seems designed to evoke at little of that flat painted look.

The sound quality is strong and immersive, if not quite a stand-out. Good solid stuff of the type you'd expect for a modern action movie. Being an independent production, the distribution arrangements are different in the various parts of the world. Thus the US version, distributed by Lionsgate, has 7.1 audio, whereas ours, distributed by Universal, gets 5.1. I doubt that it makes much difference.

The special extras are nothing fancy, but quite informative with over two hours of HD featurettes and a full feature-length commentary.

Running time: 118 minutes
Picture: 2.35:1, 1080p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 24.20Mbps
Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 24/48 3/2.1 @ 3681kbps (core: DTS 24/48 3/2.1 @ 1509kbps); Descriptive Video Service, Commentary: Dolby Digital 2/0.0 @ 192kbps
Subtitles: English
Extras: My Scenes; 5 Featurettes (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD2.0 @ 192kbps - 134 mins); 5 Still Galleries (193 stills, 1080p24, MPEG2, no audio)
Restrictions: Rated (Australian rating); Region Free

The following video bitrate graph was generated by BDInfo 0.5.6:

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