I'm sure many of my fellow geeks managed to see Kick-Ass
in a theater this April or rented/bought it as soon as it was released on DVD/Blu-Ray this past Tuesday. I'm also sure that, much like myself, they have all fallen in love with it. Many of them will likely remember the classic opening involving a superhero attempting to fly off a skyscraper who ended up being "an Armenian with a history of serious mental problems". Now imagine if that guy wasn't Armenian and had his own film. That film is Defendor
stars Woody Harrelson as Arthur Poppington, a deluded but noble hearted man child who attempts to enforce vigilante justice as his superhero persona Defendor. Armed with a club, marbles, a swarm of home raised wasps and a camera built into his helmet, Arthur hits the streets in order to find his arch nemesis Captain Industry... whom doesn't seem to exist despite Poppington's insistence. After trying to bust a corrupt undercover cop (Elias Koteas), "Defendor" befriends Katrina (Kat Dennings), a young street walker with a troubled past and a pension for smoking cocaine. While hiding out in Arthur's "secret hideout" (a workshop owned by Arthur's construction day job boss and devoted friend Paul (Michael Kelly), who constantly attempts to keep Arthur out of trouble), Katrina deludes Arthur into believing that a local crime boss is the real Captain Industry which sets him on quest to finally bring his supposed foe to his justice.
The main thing that really sets this apart from Kick-Ass
is that it sticks to the "real life guy gets his ass kicked" premise that Kick-Ass
started with before going into its hyper real second half once Hit Girl and Big Daddy spilled into the mix. Director/writer Peter Stebbings does an impeccable job at letting this story flow naturally; the characters don't have exposition heavy dialogue, instead going for dialogue that explains little yet leaves a deep impact on the characters' back stories or leads to some crushing flashbacks that reveal the same visually. Woody Harrelson is the heart of this movie, giving this character a childlike naivete and layered characteristics that are funny and endear you to him. Kat Dennings also delivers one of her best performances; her character has a bitter and unpleasant personality that you can tell is merely a shield for a girl that has had a tough life. Most of the supporting cast is just as good, especially Elias Koteas and Michael Kelly. The only person that really suffers is Sandra Oh as a court appointed psychiatrist for Harrelson. While she is decent in her role, she is saddled with framing device scenes where she is interviewing Woody about his escapades. These scenes tend to slow down the pace and make Harrelson out to be more of a socially retarded retch than he actually is. Still, in the last view scenes involving her character, Harrelson manages to show his real performance and Oh becomes more sympathetic as a character.
? Not really, but it doesn't have to. Both are completely different films, with Defendor going for a more realistic and emotional turn, suceeding in the most genuine way possible.Rating:
4.5/5 (or a very high Full Price)