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by yo go re

Kick-Ass, as a story, is supposed to be about a typical American teenager, but writer Mark Millar is Scottish, so a British sensibility pervades the work. For instance, "Red Mist" is named after a phrase no American has ever used or even heard of - it's like listening to the Mythbusters announcer slip into his native Australian phraseology while affecting a US accent. Another example? The uproar over Hit-Girl calling gangsters cunts.

"Cunt" isn't used very often by Americans - at least, not outside of porn descriptors, where it's part of a pattern of denigrating female participants. As such, an American writer probably wouldn't even have consdiered using the word; in the countries that drive on the wroung side of the rouad and put too many U's in their wourds, however, cunt is much more common. It's often used as a general expletive, not meant to have anything specifically to do with women at all. Naturally Millar would have it in his regular vocabulary, and wouldn't censor it for a character as shameless as Hit-Girl. She wasn't using a word that insults women, she was using inappropriate British slang because the writer didn't know any better.

While Kick-Ass's costume was fundamentally identical between the comics and movie, Hit-Girl was heavily redesigned. The comic version had some sort of non-descript jumpsuit, white opera gloves, and black hair in a ponytail; the movie version has a more detailed ski-suit type outfit, short black gloves, and a purple bob. She's also wearing a pink utility belt and a plaid skirt. Other than the loss of the padlock used as her cape clasp, the live-action take has it all over the pen-and-pencil.

The sculpt is very good. Hit-Girl's outfit is slightly baggy - you get the feeling that she's had it for a while, and is growing into it. She is only 10¾, after all. In addition to the wrinkles that result from being worn, the outfit has stylistic details inherent to its construction. You know, seams, panels, built-in elbow and kneepads, that sort of stuff. The gloves are simple, but she has laces and completely detailed soles on her boots. Her utility belt has four pockets and four pouches (mixing the best of both worlds from Batman), and both her cape and her skirt are softgoods - the cape was obvious, but the skirt could easily have been sculpted.

Hit-Girl was portrayed by Chloe Mortez, who was 11 at the time of the filming. You have to admire them for sticking to the source for that one: if they'd turned her into a teenager, it would have been creepy - as it is, there's zero sexuality to the character, she's just a force of violence. The likeness on the figure is good, even hidden under that mask and wig.

Like Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl is more "pre-posed" than "poseable," despite having plentiful joints in all the right places. She swivels at the boots, knees, hips, waist, wrists and elbows, has swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed neck, but you'll never get her out of the stance she comes in. At that point, why not just make the legs solid plastic and give us a little more mobility in the upper body? And again, just like Kick-Ass, she's permanently stuck looking down at the ground, not up at the taller adults she'll be fighting (the figure stands 4½" tall), or even straight ahead. It's bad work, and it's happening more often these days.

Hit-Girl's cape is removable, but we wouldn't really count that as an accessory: not when she's got two butterfly knives and what the packaging calls a "double Gitano bladed mindy stick," which seems to be a lot of made-up words. Her weapon was nicknamed "the Mindy stick" on-set (since the character's real name is Mindy McCready) and it has two katana blades on the end, so calling it a double Gitano bladed mindy stick makes it sound like someone was transcribing speech and didn't understand what they were typing. The stick splits in half, and there's a large connector to hold the pieces together. I do wish there were some way for the figure to store the weapons she isn't using, however.

Like we said, Hit-Girl was completely asexual in the film - even in the scene where she dressed in a typical schoolgirl outfit, no one reacted as though she were anything but a child. That's what makes it so weird that The Daily Mail's Christopher Tookey thought that she was "made to look as seductive as possible," a truly creepy statement that (not undeservedly) got him so much backlash he later claimed he was a victim of cyber-bullying. Hit-Girl is a cool character, a great role model for both boys and girls in that she doesn't let anyone's gender-based expectations limit her. This is a decent toy, though it absolutely could be a lot better.

Still, I'm sad this line comprised only HG and Kick-Ass: how fun would it have been to get Nic Cage's Adam West-inspired Big Daddy in action figure form, too?

-- 03/20/11

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