My take is the whole manufactured controversy over Lionsgate's red-band Kick-Ass trailers is pretty simple. At the end of the day, trailers are supposed to give you an accurate look at what kind of movie you're going
to be seeing. Granted, not every trailer accomplishes this, and many are quite deceptive, but that's the general idea. At the end of the day, red-band trailers for R-rated movies are more likely to be accurate in regards to tone and content than
an all-ages green-band trailer. So, one could argue, that studios make red-band trailers to best advertise the kind of movie that they are selling. And, they do take certain steps to make sure that said previews are not easily viewed by those
who otherwise wouldn't be allowed to see such films. Of course kids will invariably get around these barriers, but that's the nature of childhood.
But here's the issue: Let's say that Lionsgate didn't put out these R-rated trailers, specifically for a film that could easily be advertised as a family-friendly PG-13 superhero comedy about teenagers becoming costumed
vigilantes. Frankly, profanity and violence aside, the film feels aimed at ten-year old boys anyway. Which is why, slight digression, even if it's as stupid as it looks, I'll probably be less offended by it than Wanted, which presumed itself to
be intelligent, quasi-feminist, adult entertainment. Anyway, we all know that even with these trailers available online, there are still going to be any number of clueless parents who take their kids to see Kick-Ass over opening weekend fully
expecting a feel-good teen comedy variation on Spider-Man . It happened with South Park: Bigger Longer Uncut and it'll happen here too.
Interesting to note the 11 year old using 'fuck' and 'cunt' in the trailer and also to ponder about adult versus child comic book violence.
Jonathan Ross's wife, Jane Goldman. has caused 'outrage' with a film she has written featuring a 'foul-mouthed' 11-year-old assassin called Hit-Girl
The character, called Hit-Girl, slices off people's legs and shoots bullets through a man's cheek. In one scene, the young serial killer – played by 13-year-old American actress Chloe Moretz – screams at her victims: Okay, you cunts, let's see
what you can do now.
In another, she tells her vigilante father she wants a puppy for her birthday. When he looks surprised, she says: I'm just fucking with you, Daddy , and asks for a razor-sharp knife instead.
Kick-Ass, released next month, is based on a comic book series that is advertised with the slogan Sickening violence: Just the way you like it .
The film has already provoked complaints in the U.S. after children were allowed to access violent trailers of the film online. Nell Minow, a lawyer and one of the complainants, said: These particular trailers are even worse than normal
because they depict a child and so are more interesting to a child. Isn't there a limit to what we can ask children to do on screen?
Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, said: It's still enough of a real taboo that when you hear some of those words coming out of the mouth of an 11-year-old kid, it's really shocking. But that's the whole
Protests about the film have also erupted in Australia where John Morrisey of the Family Association said: The language is offensive and the values inappropriate – without the saving grace of the bloodless victory of traditional superheroes.
Film censors were blasted by rent-a-quote nutters last night for handing a 15 rating to a film peppered with obscenities and violence.
Kick-Ass , co-written by Jonathan Ross's wife Jane Goldman, is billed as a comedy action adventure.
Tory MP David Davies, who sits on the home affairs select committee, said he was horrified the film would be seen by 15-year-olds.
And Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch UK, said: It just sets up a context of behaviour for 15-year-olds that they can go and see this and it reinforces this sort of behaviour.
In the film, a teenage boy decides to make a stand against street crime by becoming a superhero called Kick-Ass . The most 'shocking' scene shows actress Chloe Moretz, who was aged 11 at the time, playing heroine Hit Girl, using obscene
language. She tells a group of assailants: OK you cunts, let's see what you can do now. She also repeatedly calls other characters motherfuckers .
On its website, the BBFC defends the swearing saying: Although some people might be offended by a child using this type of language, the predominant effect is comic.
Comment: Online Daily Mail Readers Kick-Ass
26th March 2010. From Shaun
It is interesting to note that in the Daily Mail, that the Kick-Ass film article reader comments get marked well down when someone suggests it should be censored.
Many respondents on the Daily Mail website seem to be against censorship rather than for it, when the subject comes up, which is often.
Not that that paper seems to learn anything from this.
The BBFC passed the 2010 cinema release 15 uncut with the following explanation:
Kick-Ass is a comedy action adventure in which an ordinary teenage boy decides to make a stand against the street crime in his city by becoming a superhero known as Kick-Ass . The film was passed 15 for
strong language, one use of very strong language and strong bloody comic violence.
The film contains multiple uses of strong language. These exceed the 12A'/'12 Guidelines where there may be only infrequent strong language but are permissible at 15 where the Guidelines state that There may
be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') . The Guidelines at 15 also state that the strongest terms (for example, 'cunt') may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest
language is unlikely to be acceptable . Kick-Ass contains one use of very strong language. The word is spoken by a young girl who, like Kick-Ass, has become a makeshift superhero. Although some people might be offended by a child using
this type of language, the predominant effect is comic. The young girl in question possesses incredible strength and agility and manages to dispatch a large group of adult male villains immediately after making the remark to them. The remark is
delivered in a throwaway fashion rather than aggressively directed and the unexpectedness and incongruity of the use provides a comic justification for its inclusion.
There are numerous scenes of strong bloody violence throughout the film as the various would-be superheros battle the baddies. Many of these violent scenes show blood spray from gunshot wounds as well as the occasional
severing of limbs, cutting of throats or stabbing of hands. While there is copious blood loss these scenes do not breach the BBFC Guidelines at 15 by dwelling on the infliction of pain or injury . This is especially so given that
most occur in the context of a cartoonish style of choreographed violence that is rapidly edited and focuses more on the inventive skill and panache of the heroes than the detail of the wounds that are inflicted. Other scenes present violence in
a more realistic and less comedic style with vicious beatings meted out to a couple of restrained heroes and one scene in which one of the main bad characters assaults the young girl superhero. However, those doing the beatings have been clearly
established as evil characters and the audience is encouraged to feel sympathy for the victims rather than revel in the violence being inflicted. At the same time, the audience knows that the highly skilled good guys are likely to regain the
upper hand very swiftly. None of the violence inflicted presents the strongest gory images which would be unacceptable under BBFC Guidelines at 15 and the comedic, fantastical tone of the film as a whole means that even the
strongest moments of violent action have a lighter counterbalance.
The film also contains some strong sex references, including references to a teen boy liking to jerk off and scenes of implied below screen masturbation, as well as verbal references to drugs and sight of a man
smoking a bong and another man snorting a line of coke. There are also many scenes in which weapons such as knives and guns are displayed and handled, including by a young girl who is shown to be proficient in their use. These are presented in a
comically excessive manner and are designed to play up the rather ridiculous idea of having trained a young girl to be an assassin.
Kick-Ass Has opened in Australian cinemas with an MA15+ rating, restricting it to those over 15 unless accompanied by an adult.
A spokesman for the Australian Family Association, John Morrissey, said the film was part of the shift in public standards and its classification was a mess . You've got some R certificate language but the film is rated MA, meaning that
children can go along and yet it is most definitely aimed at 12, 13 and 14-year-olds.
In a media release issued last week, the director of the Classification Board, Donald McDonald, urged parents to note the film's classification: As one of the main characters in this film is a 12-year-old girl, [sic] parents may be mistaken in
thinking this is a film suitable for children. It is not suitable for persons under the age of 15 years.
But a film reviewer with The Age, Jim Schembri, gave the film two thumbs up for refreshingly giving a fillip to the comic-book genre for an adult audience. All too predictably, a low-rent controversy has been stirred up over the film's MA15+
rating, which some think is too mild, he said: What nanny state nonsense … The suggestion that only a hard R rating can make that clear sadly highlights the need for people to take full responsibility for what their kids see.
Don't be fooled by the hype: This crime against cinema is twisted, cynical, and revels in the abuse of childhood
Millions are being spent to persuade you that Kick-Ass is harmless, comic-book entertainment suitable for 15-year-olds.
Don't let them fool you. Kick-Ass has been so hyped that it is certain to be a hit. It is also bound be among the most influential movies of 2010. And that should disturb us all.
It deliberately sells a perniciously sexualised view of children and glorifies violence, especially knife and gun crime, in a way that makes it one of the most deeply cynical, shamelessly irresponsible films ever.
An unkind remark that most of us would never say to another person's face becomes much easier to express from the safety of a computer keyboard. Add to that the poisonous effect of anonymity - the ability to say anything you
like without being held accountable - and, too often, any sense of proportion or civility is abandoned online.
I can say this with authority because I recently joined the ranks of the cyber-bullied, thanks to a review I wrote in the Daily Mail on April 2. It dealt with a film called Kick-Ass, by Jonathan Ross's wife Jane Goldman,
which features a youth who decides to become a super-hero despite having no special powers.
The reason I found the movie so objectionable was that its most violent, foul-mouthed and sexually aggressive character, Hit-Girl, was an 11-year-old.
I called attention to the glaringly obvious sexual overtones in the deliberately glamorous, fetishistic way in which Hit-Girl and her startlingly violent behaviour is portrayed, and in her sexually explicit vocabulary. The
movie's writers clearly wanted the audience to see Hit-Girl not only as cool, but also as sexy, like an even younger version of the baby-faced oriental assassin in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Paedophiles, I wrote, are going to adore
The Daily Mail often sets the news agenda, and I knew my review would provoke debate. What I hadn't anticipated is that it would result in an avalanche of vitriolic personal abuse - much of it simply too obscene to be
Hundreds of bloggers, twitterers and Facebook fiends weighed in, creating websites dedicated to destroying my character and levelling the most outrageous accusations against me.
Christopher Tookey recently wrote of the somewhat strident internet criticism he received about his over the top Daily Mail Kick-Ass review.
Mediasnoops then commented on this piece and Tookey responded:
The attacks on me are all the more bizarre as many critics said almost exactly the same that I did.
One of the youngest national critics in the UK, Tim Robey of the Daily Telegraph, shared my view that the Hit-Girl character, a foul-mouthed, murderous 11 year-old, is a deeply icky fetish figure who should set all sorts
of schoolgirl-porn alarm bells ringing.
In the Sunday Telegraph, Mike McCahill complained about the amount of cold, unfelt violence: clearly, at the Methusalean age of 32, I fall outside the designated demographic, but then again I am old enough to remember
plenty of films based on comic books that didn't so obviously resemble instructional videos for sociopaths.
Reviewers for the Observer and Mail on Sunday also found the film despicable. Even Kevin Maher in the Times, who praised the film's action sequences, acknowledged that morally, Kick-Ass tends to drift into the abyss, and
certainly the pig-tailed sexy-assassin poses of Hit-Girl are problematic.
Jim Carrey has famously refused to promote this film -- not on the grounds that he's in it for only about half an hour, during which time he's as dull and unfunny as the rest of the picture, but because he feels it trivialises violence.
Actually, it goes further than that. It supports vigilantism, advocates violent revenge and revels in gang warfare. It also suggests that the way to deal with bullies is to bully them back, even more brutally.