Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Kick-Ass" / Malcolm McLaren

I’m not sure how much I enjoyed “Kick-Ass”. Developed alongside the comic by Mark Millar, this New York-set Brit-flick about super-heroes and super-villains with weaponry in place of super-powers is certainly slickly directed by Matthew Vaughan, cleverly scripted (by Vaughan and Jane Goldman) and well acted – Aaron Johnson is excellent in the lead role, as are Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl and Mark Strong as the chief gangster. It also manages to maintain a consistent tone – light without being entirely shallow, and on a nodding acquaintance with the real world. I found it hard to warm to, however - maybe because I was uneasy with the idea of an eleven-year-old girl blithely slicing, dicing and machine-gunning bad guys; the right-wing tabloids have been too busy complaining about the colourful language she uses to notice that the film tends to adhere to their agenda in terms of family values and summary justice. The parodically blatant set-up for the inevitably inferior sequel was a little irritating, also. Still, as cinematic thrill-rides go, it ticks most of the boxes.

Sad to note the passing of Malcolm McLaren, who had a disproportionate effect on the cultural lives of much of my generation thanks to his role in bringing us the Sex Pistols. And not only punk – he was also responsible for raising the profile of rap and “world” music, thanks to his surprisingly excellent “Duck Rock” album; not to mention getting opera into the pop charts. I think his unique gift, however, was as a spinner of yarns to gullible journalists and broadcasters: I well remember his long, involved, and entirely fictional tale, told on Radio One, of spending weeks attempting to track down Syd Barrett to act as producer on the Pistols album, only to eventually find an immensely fat, totally bald man in an upmarket gentleman’s club, who brusquely told him to formally make the request via a letter in his pigeon-hole. A rare character.


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