Monday 29 May 2017

Feisty Hit-Girl is a positive role model -- and a rare kick in the ass

The (extremely) young heroine of a new action flick is an example to us all, writes Julia Molony

Not since Sarah Michelle Gellar kicked ass as Buffy the Vampire Slayer has popular culture seen such a feisty, self-determining, empowered example of female adolescence as Hit-Girl, the protagonist of much touted new action flick, Kick-Ass. But there's a rub. The film, though not yet released, is already mired in controversy. Hit-Girl is a foul-mouthed, bloodthirsty assassin, who asks for a knife for her birthday, and is perfectly at ease plugging villains. Oh, and she's 11 years old.

Cue, naturally, a chorus of opprobrium. And much hand-wringing over the social impact of glorifying, not just violence, but violence committed, and relished in, by children.

Kick-Ass is based on a comic by Scottish writer Mark Millar. It's about as true to life and authentic as Batman & Robin. Once we see this for what it is, fantasy and metaphor, it becomes clear that just like Buffy, Kick-Ass is wildly unlikely to encourage any well adjusted teenager into brutality or murder. Like any film in its genre, the violence is elaborate, stagey and theatrical. It's not about masochism, but about a fantasy of dominance.

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