The Matthew Vaughn-directed screen adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s violently hilarious – or hilariously violent, if you prefer – comic Kick-Ass is a colourfully cacophonous cinema experience, taking graphically provocative risks where a less-confident team would opt for bloodless PG-friendly fare. Its boldness has been predictably divisive, with conservative critics unable to get over the 11-year-old killer hurdle slapping a one-star score on a movie worth significantly more. But this compilation-style soundtrack takes no chances: this is a safe bet, snippets of potty-mouthed dialogue comprising the only parents-prickling moments.
But what else to expect, really, from an album bearing a lead single performed by Mika. The Lebanon-born star might stand out in the narrowest of pop playing fields, but as an amalgam of obvious influences he’s never strayed into particularly envelope-pushing territories. His collaboration with Lady Gaga producer RedOne, Kick Ass, doesn’t feature prominently in the movie itself but nevertheless makes for an easy introduction to this set – it plays to the singer’s strengths, allowing his singularly appealing/excruciating (delete as appropriate) vocals to soar/plummet (likewise) while RedOne’s signature compositional style proffers the piece a modern edge. It’s got a short shelf-life, but the song’s probably the most enjoyable track Mika’s been involved with to date.
Elsewhere, with songs from The Prodigy, Primal Scream, The Dickies (their frenetic cover of the Banana Splits theme) and Sparks shorn of any on-screen context, Kick-Ass largely plays out like a generic assortment of songs you’ve already heard elsewhere. Omen, by the British dance heavyweights, complements a pivotal moment in the picture, where its protagonist is elevated from deluded teenager to internet sensation; but here, it’s simply that song from the radio, available for the nth time on a fresh compact disc. The Pretty Reckless, headed by Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen, contribute Make Me Wanna Die – not to be confused with Tricky’s beautiful Makes Me Wanna Die, the track’s a newly penned piece. But, as a cliché-filled dirge echoing the drearier moments of the Hole and Garbage catalogues, it’s not worth noting the band’s name for future reference.
Really only for those who are as geeky about Kick-Ass as the story’s protagonist is comic books, this is a strictly supplementary soundtrack offering. It’s unlikely, indeed, that any recipient will start going out after dark to combat crime, dressed as Mika, as a direct result of exposure. Well, one hopes. --Mike Diver
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