Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass, a cheerfully gory comedy about comic-book obsessed teens who decide to become superheroes, won't open in the U.S. until next Friday. But the movie is already playing in Australia, where several family groups and at least one critic has taken mortal offense to the R-rated film's sense of humor.
Richard Wilkins, the entertainment editor for the Aussie TV channel Nine Network News, has gone ballistic on the film. "I can't possibly encourage you to go and see this overhyped, inappropriate sensationalism that glamourises kids with guns," Wilkins said. "I just think it is wrong ... so wrong."
"The film is inappropriate — it's excessively violent and there's nothing particularly clever about it," Wilkins said, adding there was no way he'd let his 14 year-old son watch it. "I don't want him seeing kids with guns and knives, killing people randomly and hearing young children say the sort of language they use in the movie."
I've written a big story on Kick-Ass running in Sunday's paper that addresses the inevitable controversy that will greet the film (I will post it onto the blog over the weekend). But the short version is: The movie is rated R for good reason. And compared to the violence in other R-rated films such as Repo Men, Kick-Ass is as offensive as Toy Story.
At the end of my interview with director Vaughn, I told him how much I appreciated his 2004 debut Layer Cake, a fantastic action picture starring a pre-007 Daniel Craig as a cocaine dealer trying to retire. Layer Cake is one of those movies that never found the audience it deserved, but Vaughn told me he's already mulling a follow-up.
"I've had an idea of doing a sequel set in Miami. I always thought it would be amazing if Daniel Craig showed up there to take on the Miami drug underworld."
Cast Al Pacino as the baddie and you've got yourself a smash hit.