Scrappy fighter "Kick-Ass" high on Hollywood radar

Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:02am EDT
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By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It had low-wattage stars, no Spiderman or Batman, and little money behind it. In short, the script had little that a major studio wants when developing a movie, yet days before its U.S. debut "Kick-Ass" now has what they all desire -- huge fan excitement.

The new film about a costumed crime fighter with no real superpowers bills itself as a cheeky blend of teen humor and stylish violence, directed by a veteran of seedy British gangster films, Matthew Vaughn.

Ahead of its U.S. debut on Friday, that combination has fueled a strong buzz among "fan boys" -- mostly young men who crave movies about comic book superheroes. The "Kick-Ass" Facebook page enjoys over 150,000 "fans" and early reviews have been favorable for the most part.

"All the studios said no to it," Vaughn told Reuters. So, the "Layer Cake" director raised the $35 million he needed from private investors and reached his target only weeks before the first signs of 2008's financial market meltdown.

"I knew the recession was pretty serious because six weeks later the 'fun, stupid' investment became the best investment they (the investors) had right then," Vaughn said.

In the movie, typical New York teen and comic book nerd Dave Lizewski (19-year-old actor Aaron Johnson), dons a wacky green costume to become the superhero-cum-vigilante "Kiss-Ass." He sets out to battle evil-doers but having no superpowers, he is savagely beaten on one of his first crime-fighting forays.

Yet, with a wink and nod to modern Internet celebrity, the amateur superhero eventually becomes a Web sensation, allowing him to meet the father-daughter crime fighting duo "Big Daddy" (Nicolas Cage) and "Hit Girl" (11 year-old Chloe Moretz). Banding forces, the trio attacks mob boss Frank D'Amico and his son Chris -- who concocts his own superhero, "Red Mist."


<p>(L-R) Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz, and Aaron Johnson pose for a portrait while promoting the film "Kick-Ass" in New York, April 8, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>