Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Offendor, or Who REALLY Kicks-Ass?


Kick-Ass was by far my biggest disappointment at the theater so far in 2010. So when I saw a commercial for a straight to DVD release of what seemed to be a Kick-Ass clone I was a little cynical. It seemed Defendor hoped to capitalize on the hype. The drawing power of Woody Harrelson did little to change my mind, even coming off his intense performance in The Messenger, and a laugh riot role in Zombieland. I was ambivalent at best. until I took a trip to the local video store. Avatar was out, the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus was out, and I had seen everything else. So I strolled past Defendor, spared a passing glance and moved on, I was only at the Ds, surely something better lay ahead. Turns out, I was wrong, so I walked out of the video place, this gem in my hand, but still slightly disappointed.  But 060909_kickassnot for too long.

First off, I will just say Defendor was not an amazing, blow your mind kind of film.  It was just something better than its competitor.  I will not spend much time lambasting Kick-Ass, instead I will let Poseysessions do that, she is more than capable.

Instead let us talk about Woody Harrelson, the man can carry a movie.  At one point I had considered Woody somewhere along the lines of a Kevin Costner or a Nick Cage, makes plenty of fun movies, but nothing to write home about.  Generic looks, generic acting, minimal talent, and pretty much the same guy in everything he was in.  Not so anymore for defendorthe Woodmeister. He has found a niche into which he fits well, and he is executing.  Zombieland was hilarious, and Harrelson’s comedic timing spot on.  Defendor is a film in that vein.  But chock full of emotion.

Defendor is not a comedy, I repeat, it just isn't a comedy.

To be fair, neither is Kick-Ass.

It is a shame that Kick-Ass was packaged as such, otherwise, going into the theater with different expectations I may have came out with a different point of view.  My only expectation with Defendor was an “everything comes in pairs” scenario.  Deep Impact and Armageddon etc and so on.  Average guy becomes a super hero, action and (hopefully) comedy ensues.

Kick-Ass suffered from another identity crisis, who was it about?  The movie attempted to split its time between two different story lines, which never came together in any acceptable way.  Kick-Ass, you know the kid on the posters, was not the main character, his was not the story I cared about, he was more like a vehicle to introduce us to the story of Hit Girl and Big Daddy.  The meat of the movie was with these 2 characters, a (wanna be) touching father-daughter story played out on a gritty cop gets revenge backdrop.  The supposed main character is nowhere in this better side of the movie.

Defendor on the other hand is driven by the main characters, Harrelson’s portrayal of the  quirky, mentally deficient  Arthur Poppington as he seeks to escape from his bleak real life by becoming a super hero is the center of the film.  Poppington is a likeable loser, Kick-Ass is a pretentious teen.  Poppington has real problems, Kick-Ass wants to get laid.  The love stories in both films highlight where one film went wrong and one right.  Kick-Ass’ superficial “love” drama is a lust based snorefest, it comes and goes as easily as real high school romance, and is just as interesting.  Defendor’s love story is a tale of two broken people in a harsh world,  the affection develops as the Prostitute and the Nutcase come to understand and appreciate each other through their shared tribulations.

In summation, Defendor is a better movie if you are interested in Drama that has a story filled with real emotion. Defendor is a better Comedy if you like to laugh.  Kick-Ass on the other hand is a better Action movie all around, a merit on which it could have succeeded, if it had painted itself as such.


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