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by yo go re

Shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits. There, with that out of the way, maybe people won't flip the hell out when we say "ass" 40 times in this review.

Dave Lizewski wasn't the class jock or the class geek. He wasn't the class clown or class genius or class anything... but he was a comicbook fan. One day he put on a superhero costume - and got his ass kicked. That didn't stop him, though. And the next time he put on the costume... he saved some guy's life.

"Ass" is, of course, a corruption of the word "arse" - it was in use as early as 1860 among sailors, but was only one of several words that lost an internal R along the way: for instance, burst becoming bust and curse becoming cuss. Arse itself is from the Old English ærs (tail), which came from the Greek orros (base of the spine) and the Hittie arrash (rump). The "donkey" version of ass comes from Latin asinus and probably the Sumerian ansu (which, despite looking like a typo, has nothing to do with "anus," which comes from the Latin word for a ring). Of course, Shakespeare was already conflating ass and arse as early as 1594, when he had Nick Bottom turn into a donkey (and if you think that joke escaped the Bard, well, you're just proving Puck right).

Anyway, the point of all that was to prove that there's nothing inherently "dirty" or offensive about the word ass. But try to tell that to parents' groups, who would rather make others meet their morality than do any actual parenting work. Fortunately, Mezco has experience working around this kind of idiocy, so the package never actually says "Kick-Ass" anywhere on it: the photos of the actors cover the main logo at the top, the version on the back is vandalzed with spray paint, and the identifier for Kick-Ass himself is concealed in shadow. They really went out of their way to protect the kiddies, didn't they?

Kick (or "Mr. Ass," if you're nasty) is seen here wearing his superhero costume, which is actually a wetsuit he bought online. As in the movie, it's slightly baggy on him, because no matter how many pushups you do in real life, you're never going to have a superhero physique. A lot of fans give Mezco hell for their cartoonish sculpts, but there's a difference between style and skill, and Kick-Ass proves that Mez's (uncredited) team can do realism when they want to. This thing could easily stand with a current NECA movie toy. His boots are fully detailed with laces and eyelets, though the soles have understandably been smoothed down. And lest you think they took any shortcuts, all those yellow lines running over his suit are raised elements, not just paint. There's even a zipper running up his back.

The figure includes two heads: the one wearing his mask (with its inexplicable mouth-hole, which really makes this look more like a gimp suit than a superhero costume), and the other unmasked and beat to hell. Aaron Johnson's vaguely Elijah Wood-ish looks have been duplicated well, but the expression seems bored - with those many injuries, he should look angry or pained or anything but bored, realy.

Due to his pose, the Kick-Ass figure doesn't even reach 6" tall, but since he's a teenager, you can either put this with your 7" Movie Maniacs and Cult Classics, or with your 6" Marvel Legends and DCU Classics. Articulation is a bit lacking, sadly. The head is a balljoint, but he still can't look up, just down at the ground; that's just bad design. His shoulders are swivel/hinge joints, but all the rest - elbows, gloves, waist, hips, knees and boots - are all just swivels. The shoulders are the most useful joints in the bunch, but they can only do so much by themselves. It's disappointing to see him so static.

Since the arms are clearly designed for the "jumping around and pointing nightsticks at the mirror" pose, Kick-Ass includes his two nightsticks. They're 2" long, and can either be held in his hands, or stored in the rack on his back. That's a neat little detail that could have been overlooked or cheated, but instead adds a little extra coolness to the figure.

Kick-Ass (the movie) came out in April 2010 - the toys, meanwhile, didn't come out until October for some reason. They weren't even timed to coincide with the home video release, because that was in August. Why the huge delay? The line really missed the merchandising window, which is probably part of why Toys Я Us didn't carry these, even after Mezco Bowdlerized the packaging. There's never going to be a Marvel Legends version of Kick-Ass, but this movie-based version is a good stand-in.

-- 03/14/11

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