Ebert Calls Kick-Ass Movie "Morally Reprehensible"

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Ebert Calls Kick-Ass Movie "Morally Reprehensible"

Famous movie reviewer Roger Ebert does not see any value in the new comic book inspired movie Kick-Ass.

**Warning: Contains light spoilers for Kick-Ass**

The Kick-Ass movie, released in theatres today and based on the comic book of the same name, did not sit well with Roger Ebert, as is evident by his rating of one star. True to the comic, the movie features an extreme level of violence, which Ebert doesn't understand the context or purpose for.

Kick-Ass is a unique tale of normal people that try to become superheroes, but it casts this somewhat foolish intention in a more realistic light (in the beginning, anyway). The story's main character, a high school student named Dave, suits up to become Kick-Ass perfectly well, but usually only ends up in the hospital after trying to stop crime. After meeting father and daughter superheroes Big Daddy and Hit Girl, a duo that reduces the criminal population with their own methods of extreme violence, the story's meat begins and things get more complicated for Dave.

In his recent review, Ebert calls Kick-Ass "morally reprehensible," primarily due to violence committed by the very young Hit Girl. "A movie camera makes a record of whatever is placed in front of it, and in this case, it shows deadly carnage dished out by an 11-year-old girl, after which an adult man brutally hammers her to within an inch of her life. Blood everywhere. Now tell me all about the context," he writes.

"At the end, when the villain deliciously anticipates blowing a bullet hole in the child's head, he is prevented only because her friend, in the nick of time, shoots him with bazooka shell at 10-foot range and blows him through a skyscraper window and across several city blocks of sky in a projectile of blood, flame and smoke. As I often read on the Internet: Hahahahaha." Ebert thinks that if there's a world where the Kick-Ass movie faithfully represents the comic book, that's a world he is "so very not interested in."

Ebert also trashes the meager regard for human life Kick-Ass appears to exhibit. "This movie regards human beings like video-game targets. Kill one, and you score. They're dead, you win. When kids in the age range of this movie's home video audience are shooting one another every day in America, that kind of stops being funny."

As can be viewed in the Kick-Ass trailer, the movie is quite over-the-top, and despite its seemingly realistic intentions at first, becomes more of a superhero fantasy when Hit Girl is introduced. It's completely absurd to think that an 11-year-old could brutally take out a dozen armed gangsters with ease and not be affected mentally. If anything, Kick-Ass is just like any other superhero tale but with a more brutal real-world tone.

Ebert says: "I know, I know. This is a satire. But a satire of what?" I'm wondering the same thing, even though I loved the Kick-Ass comic and assume I would love the movie as well. Should we be enjoying the violence dished out by Hit Girl? What is it about this violence that has an appeal? The Escapist's Movie Bob calls Kick-Ass fun despite its juvenile intentions, so Ebert might not be in the movie's target audience as he says, but a little piece of me still wonders why extreme violence perpetrated by pre-teens is entertaining to us.

Source: Roger Ebert via Bleeding Cool

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some people really don't like violence and/or have uncomfortable feelings about 11 year olds.

I have neither, he has one or both
no biggie

Somehow has to bring up video games! Even when video games are not involved they still bring them up to make them out to be the bad guy. Seems like video games are the pariah of this generation and anything "morally reprehensible" will be automatically linked to video games.

It's that rare combination of horribly brutal violence and cheap jokes that he never goes for - see his review of Fight Club. I have to say I'm not much different in that regard.

I must admit, the extremely contrasting tones don't fit together all-too-well; one minute you're laughing at a guy for dressing up as a shitty batman doing a stupid voice, the next minute he's cutting and shooting 7-shades of shit out of everyone because of what happened to his wife.

It is, however, hilarious to see an 11-year-old girl walk into a room and say: "come on you c*nts".

Nice spoilers contained in the review parts. Should probably mention something about that. I certainly stopped reading as soon as I realized that. Sure, it's not much, but I like my cinematic experience to come without detailed previous knowledge of what I'm watching.

Wow, I had no idea that this movie had so much violence or was even rated R. All the trailers looked more PG.

...

I wanna see it now.

Really, Ebert? I know you've had problems with movies with a high amount of violence or gore in the past, especially horror flicks, but I'd have thought you'd realized by now that in America, there's always a market for ludicrous, over-the-top violence and gore. And why? Because it lets the audience take pleasure in something that's considered a deep taboo in real life, and revel in the escapism of it all. It's the same reason people play games like God of War, and watch movies like Kill Bill. For some people, over-the-top violence in the media they watch is fun. And there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.

I'm not overly fond of the movie myself, personally speaking, but just because Kick-Ass is unimaginably over-the-top in its violence doesn't mean it can't have some entertainment value.

ChrisRedfield92:
Why the hell do all of you give a damn?!

Well, while this site mostly focuses on vidya games, it can focus on other forms of media as well. And the whole 'extreme-violence-in-Kick-Ass' argument is very similar to the whole 'extreme-violence-in-video-games' argument, so there you go.

It's worthy of note that while Movie Bob said the movie was fun, he also made very clear that we are supposed to be made very uncomfortable by the role of hit girl in the film. entertaining and beautifully choreographed or not, the contrast (and associated cognitive dissonance) created by framing an 11 year old as a perpetrator of brutal violence can still have a message.

Hell, wasn't hard candy essentially about a 14 year old girl torturing pedophiles? What did he rate that?

Edit: oh, look at that, 3 1/2 stars.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060427/REVIEWS/60421003/1023

(though to be fair, he does congratulate the movie for not using an actual 14 year old in the role.)

-m

Wierd. I usually agree with Ebert... and I'm British (hey! There are no decent film reviewers here in the UK!). But I absolutely disagree with him here. I loved, LOVED this movie.

Not every film has to have a big old message and be deadly serious. Some can just be insane amounts of fun. And that's what Kick-Ass is. Pure, silly, violent, un-adulterated FUN. Something I haven't had in a movie in a long long time.

But now, I must use my dad's line of choice when he wants to cop out of an argument... "Each to their own." I hate myself for typing that.

Why the hell do all of you give a damn?!

I think in the case of the arguement, he had a point.

However, it's what people want to see, and, with the title don't you think it should be expected?

Why havn't i seen this film yet it's seem like a film i would like.

This is the same guy who doesn't think a video game can be art. I'm not very interested in Mr. Ebert's world, either.

sephiroth1991:
Why havn't i seen this film yet it's seem like a film i would like.

because it only released in theatres today?

-m

Ebert claims games can't be art. Strike 1
Ebert claims that all violence should have context and purpose: Strike 2

To clarify both point.
1) Not all games are art, and that's ok. Most movies aren't art either, they're committee-built bile. Shadow of the Colossus on the other hand, art.

2) Much like a good percentage of games and romantic comedies: Kick-Ass's only purpose is to appeal to our love of violence. Why do we love violence? Well, why do we love monster movies, slasher flicks and ghost stories? Violence scares the crap out of us and that's fun. And just like slasher flicks play on our pre-existing conceptions of what's safe and what's not, Kick-Ass delivers a tiny six year old girl and turns her into a murdering psycho. Now THAT's subversive horror.

Matt_LRR:

sephiroth1991:
Why havn't i seen this film yet it's seem like a film i would like.

because it only released in theatres today?

-m

That explains it

jackanderson:
Wierd. I usually agree with Ebert... and I'm British (hey! There are no decent film reviewers here in the UK!)

Mark Kermode wishes to have a word with you.

You sound like my mom, the first time she saw Jurassic Park. You know the scene: the boring guy flees into the little toilet building, and the T-Rex breaks through the roof and eats the guy right off the toilet. The entire theater was laughing. It's funny. My mom: "A man just got killed, what's so funny about that!?"

You either think it's funny or you don't (and there's nothing wrong with either option), but it has little to do with the 'reality' of what's happening to the people on-screen. It's the context that makes it funny. Guy getting eaten by a monster in real-life? Horrible. Guy getting eaten by a monster in a movie, while sitting on the toilet? Funny. The same applies here. Little girl killing people in real-life? Horrible. Little girl killing people in a movie, dressed up like a parody of teenage side-kicks like Batman's Robin? Funny.

Ebert's an idiot. He couldn't of missed the point of the movie more if he fired in the wrong direction and started in a different country all together. Human's enjoy violence. It's inherent because it allowed you to kill things you were going to eat, just like every other carnivor on the planet.

I agree with Ebert. I cant suspend disbelief in an 11 year old girl clearing an entire room like a video game.

LiquidGrape:

jackanderson:
Wierd. I usually agree with Ebert... and I'm British (hey! There are no decent film reviewers here in the UK!)

Mark Kermode wishes to have a word with you.

OK. I'll check him out. Where are his reviews housed?

Matt_LRR:

sephiroth1991:
Why havn't i seen this film yet it's seem like a film i would like.

because it only released in theatres today?

-m

Unless you were lucky enough to live in the UK. In which case, it's been out for a month! Woo!

When i saw this film here in the UK i was SHOCKED that it was only a 15, i mean there are really grisly masochistic scenes in this film, and i didn't think it was great anyway!

archvile93:
Human's enjoy violence.

And thats been criticized since the Roman Colosseum.

jackanderson:

LiquidGrape:

jackanderson:
Wierd. I usually agree with Ebert... and I'm British (hey! There are no decent film reviewers here in the UK!)

Mark Kermode wishes to have a word with you.

OK. I'll check him out. Where are his reviews housed?

BBC 5 Live.
Here, since it's on-topic.

P.S
He doesn't say that much in this one due to the guests, but search for him on youtube and you'll find plenty of material.
I've collected my favourite rants of his in this thread.
D.S

Big Daddy? Can i just call him 'Mr Bubbles'?

Shit. I'm torn in three directions- I like Ebert (despite disagreeing with him on several points, the man is clever and spawned an entire new generation of critics), I like MovieBob, and I'm interested in this movie. It seems like the only logical conclusion is the see it for myself and, GASP, develop my own opinion of it.

Honetly? Old people and they're hatred of modern culture. Anyhow, I saw this film a week ago in cinema, here in England (WE got a film in Cinema before the Americans!?) And it was awesome. It was pretty silly though, hardly real life. I don't expect an 11 year old imitation to burst into a crack den with a couple of butterfly knives anytime soon/

Hopeless Bastard:

archvile93:
Human's enjoy violence.

And thats been criticized since the Roman Colosseum.

Your point?

Fuck Roger Ebert. Even if I agree with most of his reviews, he is still a movie critic, and movie critics are full of crap.

I enjoyed the film myself, I tend not to listen to reviewers as go films and just rely on my instincts, and thankfully, my instincts pointed me right. I like Dirty Harry as well, despite the fact that it basically advocated vigilantism, so I figure unless the message is totally horrible, then I can look past any moral dilemmas at hand.

I didn't see any problem with it myself, I mean, sure, it's violent, but then again, a lot of films are, and as for the Hit Girl elements, I think it's made pretty clear that it's not the perfect life for her, that she isn't in a good lifestyle, and that Nick Cage's character isn't exactly in the right.

However, I think this is just Ebert getting on his high horse, as for why I don't think this film deserves to be condemned, I leave you with a comment from Quentin Tarantino.

"Woman Who's Interviewing Him:Why do you have such horrible violence in your films?
Tarantino: Because it's fun!"

And that is the reason why this film exists, it's fun, and anyone who can't look past that isn't a very good film critic. Even if it's Roger Ebert.

Remember, every film critic, no matter how respected, is still not you, and you are the only person who should decide if you enjoy it or not.

Xzi:
Wow, I had no idea that this movie had so much violence or was even rated R. All the trailers looked more PG.

...

I wanna see it now.

Oh yeah, there's a couple of scenes (I won't spoil it for you) that are pretty hard to watch by mainstream movie standards. Obviously, old Gore-lover here didn't have much of a problem with it, but it was a lot more violent than I thought it would be.

archvile93:

Hopeless Bastard:

archvile93:
Human's enjoy violence.

And thats been criticized since the Roman Colosseum.

Your point?

That criticizing the human love of violence is nothing new? That the argument "ITS WHAT PPLS WANT TO SEE" is a slippery slope that can be used to justify anything?

Morally reprehensible? Sounds like it's right up my ally. Wanna see reprehensible Ebert? Why don't you watch Troma's Unspeakable. Now that is fucked up.

I follow Ebert on Twitter and while he has some good points usually (Damn, he's made a career of them) I think he's being a bit harsh. Is Kickass really as bad as A Clockwork Orange,Reservoir Dogs,Repo Man or a number of uber-violence flicks?

TBH, I think it's more the adult male view that little girls are made of sugar/spice. Dammit, Peter Jackson started off with Bad Taste & Brain Dead and NO-ONE can tell me they're not insanely bloodthirsty and violent. As well as being damn good fun.

What it satirises is the media, which he himself is a part of, that treats every violent action as "the downfall of society". Nip to some African countries and you'll experience that sort of horror on a daily level. Personally I'm glad that it offends some people, as it may get them to think long and hard about how sensitized we are to movie violence, but not to real-life wars.

This is from the same guy that gave a negative review for Die Hard...Die Hard. It seems that pointless violence does not sit well with Ebert. Let's get one thing straight: Ebert's is a very smart critic and he usually hits the nail on the head when it comes to his reviews. But I think that his own personal tastes really prevented him from just enjoying the ride here.

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