Kick-Ass turns up on Blu with a 1080p theatrically correct 2.40:1 transfer. Unfortunately, although there are no inherent major flaws in the transfer, it is certainly not up there with the best the format has to offer. However, it should also be mentioned that the flaws are actually down to the design of the film rather than any problems with the image transfer.
But first we should consider the positives. The picture has a stunning amount of pop to it. You really do get a great sense of depth from it, and the level of detail into the distance on the establishing shots is great. The source is excellent with nary a blemish
The first problem however, is that black levels are inconsistent. In some scenes they are deep and intense, in others they are quite greyed out. The second is a stylistic choice. Colours are oversaturated. Whilst this makes the image look the way the director intended, it does tend to obliterate fine detail on people – both facial and in the clothes. This is particularly obvious on the superhero costumes which just do not exhibit the level of detail you might expect.
However, it is hard to be too harsh on a transfer which does accurately reflect the director’s intentions. Therefore this could not ever rank alongside the best that the format has to offer, but it does do a decent job of reflecting the world of Kick-Ass so gets a solid but unspectacular mark.
The film is graced with a very good DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 Mix. Every aspect of the sound gels superbly in an excellent mix which really only has one minor flaw which we will come to later.
Firstly, the dialogue is perfectly anchored and is always clear whatever the mayhem occurring at the time. Every foul mouthed expletive, every nuance of Big Daddy’s dialogue, everything comes across perfectly within the mix. The soundtrack has a wide dynamic range, and front separation is more than adequate – placing action happening off screen accurately.
The bass is nice and deep, and your sub will get a nice workout during the action sequences. The surround speakers are also used frequently and the real beauty of this mix is the sense of accuracy within the sound field. Every shot and explosion is placed perfectly around the viewer to truly immerse them in the world.
So why doesn’t this mix get a full mark? Well, if you compare it to the latest Harry Potter, for example, the activity levels here are not quite as consistent as they should be. There are certain scenes where you feel there should be a little bit more action pushed through the sound. Scenes where you are surrounded by people but the mix doesn’t quite reflect this. I am being hyper critical here, of course, and this is still an excellent mix – but it is not quite perfection.
It should most certainly be mentioned here that unfortunately the 7.1 mix as found on the US disc is nowhere to be found here on the UK disc and this is a shame for those who can listen to a 7.1 mix. This is something that potential purchasers need to bear in mind
Sadly, there seems to be rather a lot missing from the UK disc. Thankfully what is here is still absolute quality – but I have to deduct marks for what is missing in action. But first we must look at what is present.
The director Matthew Vaughan presents an Audio Commentary and provides much insight into the film at times. Sadly, these moments are infrequent and most of the time he falls into the trap of describing onscreen events. One for completists and commentary fans only.
Much better – and in fact one of the best docs I have ever had the pleasure to watch – is A New Kind of Superhero : The Making of Kick-Ass. In this line of work, it is easy to get jaded with extra features and it is rare I come across a doc that I can honestly say that I enjoyed. But this one will definitely be one I will come back to. Divided into four parts (Pushing Boundaries, Let’s Shoot This Fucker, Tempting Fate and All Fired Up!) it can be watched as one feature length (113 minutes) documentary or as it’s separate parts. The doc covers everything from the creation of the comic through to the travails in finding a distributor and the creation of the score. It is comprehensive but never boring – mainly because the talking heads are so amenable. You really do get a sense of how anarchic the production team actually are – and the risks they took to get this production off the ground. If I do have a criticism it is that the actors are sometimes gush a little too much about each other – but that is par for the course these days. Watching Cage working on his Adam West impression is priceless and is just one of the many joys to be found here. Unmissable.
Also included is the 20 minute It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of “Kick-Ass”. This was of limited interest to me as I am just not that interested in comic books. However, I can recognise that for those that are – this is probably as essential as the first documentary. It goes into detail into the creation of a comic and features interviews with colourists, inkers and artists.
Finally, we get a comprehensive art gallery. Well, I say gallery but there are actually seven separate galleries here. Well worth a look.
The extras that are included are excellent but there is a lot missing. We don’t get the Ass-Kicking Bonus view mode which is a video commentary, we don’t get the Marketing Archive, and we don’t get the LG Live gadgets, or a D-Box Motion Code. To be honest the last two are fine, but I really would have liked the bonus view mode and the Marketing Archive. I have to deduct marks for these being missing, sadly.
Kick-Ass comes to the UK on a region free disc, and the film is absolutely brilliant. I am sure that if you have seen it you do not need me to tell you that the rewatchability of the film means that it is a near essential purchase if you are into this type of movie. Of course, if you are a Daily Mail reader then you are likely to feel the exact opposite – but in fact the controversial aspects of the production are dealt with so well that when you actually watch the film you are surprised at how much controversy was raised at the time of release. The film provides the near perfect balance of action and smarts – and has plenty of humorous moments to lighten the tale.
The picture is not the best you will ever see and is tricky to mark. The reason why the flaws show themselves is because they are a result of the design of the film. Should I therefore mark the picture down? It is a fine line to tread and the decision I finally made is to do so. There is just not enough detail within the picture to justify a high mark. You should be aware though that this is the director’s intention. The audio is less flawed than the picture and being hyper critical I could say that there are times when it could be more active. I also think it's a crying shame that the 7.1 mix from the US disc is nowhere to be found here. The mix we are provided with is still very dynamic though.
The extras though can only be described as a disappointment. If I was marking on what was here then they would probably get a nine – what is presented is excellent, informative and enjoyable. Sadly, two key extras are lost in translation from the US disc and I must mark accordingly.
Overall, though – anyone who purchases this is likely to get their money’s worth. If you saw it in the cinema and enjoyed it then rush out tomorrow and get yourself a copy. If, like me, you were curious and not sure then take my advice. After two years of reviewing on this site you know my taste by now – and my advice here is don’t worry about a rental, get out there and buy it. However, if you have access to the US disc you may well consider that. I will be.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.