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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Kick-Ass

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

The seemingly never-ending search, among some in Hollywood, for those rare screen taboos that have yet to be toppled results in the jaw-dropping spectacle of Mindy Macready, aka Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz).

She's the blithely murderous masked tween with a fondness for spouting such vulgarities as the C-word whose viciously efficient mowing down of her enemies is central to the plot of "Kick-Ass" (Lionsgate), an intentionally outrageous but deeply perverse action comedy.

Home-schooled as an assassin by her father, Damon (Nicolas Cage)—a deranged ex-police officer who also has a costumed alter ego named Big Daddy—Hit Girl serves as an ally in Big Daddy's feud with Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong), the straight-from-central-casting mob boss who frame-up of Damon landed the honest cop in prison. The trauma of Damon's jail time, we learn, resulted in the death of Hit Girl's mother and the birth of an obsessive vendetta.

Stumbling into the midst of this conflict comes the film's hero, ordinary high school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson). Fed up with the petty thievery by which he's constantly victimized, nerdy Dave has taken time off from habitually pleasuring himself with the help of Internet porn to create the would-be superhero of the title.

As Dave soon discovers, however, it takes more than the mail-order wetsuit that constitutes Kick-Ass' outfit to bring down the bad guys, and he first encounters Hit Girl when she saves him from the potentially fatal consequences of his well-intentioned but ill-advised overreaching.

Intent on using Kick-Ass to get to his father's enemies, Frank's spoiled son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a fellow student of Dave's, creates a persona of his own called Red Mist whose hip lifestyle includes a fancy sports car and easy access to marijuana.

As the plot approaches its ultra-violent conclusion, director and co-writer (with Jane Golman) Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr.'s series of comic books fills the screen with bloody mayhem. Characters from either side who fall into the wrong hands find themselves crushed by machinery, riddled by Gatling guns and even exploded inside a giant microwave designed to dry lumber.

The film contains much gory violence including torture and dismemberment, brief graphic nonmarital sexual activity and offscreen masturbation, upper female nudity, drug use, a few instances of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.




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James: This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20). 
<p>James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani. </p><p>Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can’” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!” </p><p>The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life. </p><p>On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them...” (Luke 9:54-55). </p><p>James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a). </p><p>This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.</p> American Catholic Blog Walk the talk. Show, don’t tell. Values are caught, not taught—all variations of one theme: A good example is essential for good parenting.

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