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What a "Kick"!

"Kick-Ass" ***1/2 (out of four): When a movie's called "Kick-Ass", the best you can hope for is that it lives up to its name. This one lives up to it, and then kicks its ass.

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Comic book writer Mark Millar often has the word "re-imagining" associated with his name. From his radical Superman riff, "Red Son", to his transformation of "The Avengers" into "The Ultimates", Mr. Millar knows how to keep loyal comic readers on their toes. With his graphic novel "Kick-Ass", Mr. Millar has found a story all his own: what if a teen comics fan, with no superpowers, decided to don a costume and fight crime? It's a fantastic concept. So much so that you're left to wonder - as the oh-so-self-aware characters in the film do at length - how it hasn't been done before (sadly, no one ever remembers 1980's similarly-themed John Ritter movie "Hero at Large"). Whatever the reason, Mr. Millar's concept was quickly picked-up by Hollywood and given a cheeky and, yes, kick-ass adaptation.

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