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Branson Family Trip

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Reviewed on 2010-04-17
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreAction / Comedy / Drama
This dark comedy is a pleasant surprise that lives up to its title.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an ordinary New York City teenager and a rabid comic book reader. He wears glasses and has curly hair. He questions why nobody ever tried to be a superhero to counteract the criminal elements in society.

Combining his optimism and naiveté, Dave orders a green scuba diving costume complete with a hooded top. He dons this outlandish outfit and becomes the title character. He takes on two neighborhood bullies and ends up in the hospital with a stab wound and several broken bones.

In the vicinity, Damon Macready (Oscar winner Nicolas Cage from “Ghost Rider” and “National Treasure”) is training his prepubescent daughter Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz from “(500) Days of Summer”) to be a ruthless crime fighter. Damon is a former cop who served a five-year prison sentence after being framed as a drug dealer. His pregnant wife could not cope and went into a deep state of depression. She died shortly after giving birth.

Damon’s forte is stirring the pot with his own brand of vigilante justice and mass murder. His main target is local mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong from “Sherlock Holmes”). Damon and Mindy’s alter egos are Big Daddy (a Batman knockoff) and Hit-Girl.

This guilty pleasure takes wish fulfillment beyond your wildest imagination. A crazy concept becomes clever and ingenious as you are willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride. You will never view a superhero movie the same way again.

The stunt work, action sequences and special effects are top notch, taking a page out of “The Matrix” playbook. The dynamic soundtrack adds immeasurably to an enthusiastic immersion into a classic battle between the forces of good and evil.

Things start slowly while introducing the characters, but once the explosive action and over-the-top gore-filled violence begin, this movie becomes an unstoppable dynamo.

Based on a comic book series by Mark Millar (“Wanted”), the big screen adaptation is directed and co-written by Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust” and “Layer Cake”).

Cage adds a veteran presence, but the youngsters are the key ingredients in this most original spin on the superhero myth. Johnson does a voiceover narrative that sets the stage for what follows. He pretends to be gay in order to get closer to class hottie Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca from “How I Met Your Mother” and “Desperate Housewives”).

Moretz is the main attraction, uttering a steady stream of crude and vulgar words. You will want to wash her mouth out with soap. She is an irresistibly cute 11-year-old in her purple wig, black Halloween mask, skin tight jumpsuit, Scottish plaid skirt and work boots. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Superbad”) adds a comedic element as the crime leader’s son Chris. His alter ego is Red Mist.

With endearing characters worth getting behind and boisterously cheering for, this looks like the birth of an enduring franchise.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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