Clark Duke fits the profile of a lot of my favourite underrated actors in that he has a pretty terrible filmography up to this point.
Prior to this year Duke’s silver screen appearances consisted of a small role in Superbad and a larger role in the simply pathetic Sex Drive. Neither films inspire great confidence in those involved. He has had the obligatory handful of guest roles in TV shows and is currently the best thing in US TV series Greek which follows the trivial lives of students at an American college. Duke also wrote and directed the web series Clark and Michael featuring fictional versions of Duke and his friend Micheal Cera.
This year Duke appears in Kick Ass and Hot Tub Time Machine, two comedy heavyweights that could launch Duke’s career. In Kick Ass he plays one of the leads friends with a comedic subtlety I really enjoyed and with Hot Tub we may well have a comedy masterpiece or a horrible mess; I am really confused about that at the moment.
Clark Duke hasn’t really had a chance to shine yet, and if he does he may fall flat, but I think he has good comedy skills so keep an eye out.
Kick Ass is no more and no less than what you expect it will be; it is great fun, occasionally touching and filled with action. It doesn’t necessarily change the face of cinema but it certainly does not disappoint.
Matthew Vaughn easily surpasses his previous directorial efforts in Layer Cake and Stardust as he has made a film that shows a real confidence and flair. It is clear that every shot including scene transitions was carefully considered, something I’d never say about Stardust. Vaughn has also managed to create those special sequences where the entire audience is at one moment laughing and the next stunned into silence as they fear for the characters they met just an hour ago. Edgar Wright should watch his back.
I could ramble on about the whole cast; label Aaron Johnson as a “one to watch”, describe how Nicolas Cage was actually entertaining for the first time and say that the beautiful Lyndsy Fonseca is The Daughter from How I Met Your Mother. Instead I will highlight just two actors who made the film for me.
On the comedy side Clark Duke delivered a lot in his reasonably small role as one of our hero’s best friends. Duke has a style of humour that is underrated and has sadly thus far merely been a bright spot in otherwise sketchy films. This is not to say that he is the only comedic element to the film as the entire audience was laughing throughout the movie.
The real highlight, as you may have guessed from the picture at the top of this review, is Chloe Moretz. Though she has been working solidly from the age of seven it is only recently with her performance here and in (500) Days of Summer that she can got real attention. By playing Hit-Girl Moretz had done more than just swear repeatedly; she has shown a real ability as a comedic and dramatic as well as being a highly capable action hero. All this at just 13, it makes you sick.
Kick Ass is at its heart a superhero movie. It follows the origin story formula obediently even if it does so with the twist of its hero being an incompetent teen with no powers. In spite of this Kick Ass stands above its more traditional counterparts by being that much more enjoyable. This is not just down to the comedy but a testament to the flair with which the film was put together.
The best accolade I could give the film is that during Hit-Girl’s first fight I got genuine shivers down my spine. No film has had that effect on me since 2005. Kick Ass has laughs as big as any comedy combined with violence as brutal as Watchmen and a real heart at its core too.
Kick Ass is released on 31st March 2010 but has previews on the 26th, 27th and 28th. Go figure.