Fresh on 4K Ultra HD: ‘KICK-ASS’ – an unbeatable addition to high-quality home entertainment

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Connor Bynum // Film Critic

With every passing week, the list of titles available on 4K UHD Blu-ray grows ever longer. This makes perfect sense as more and more films are shot with 4K in mind. However, Lionsgate Home Entertainment seems determined to re-release past titles with an apparent randomness akin to pulling names out of a hat. Still, as strange as it may be, there isn’t much reason to complain if these older films translate well into Ultra High Definition. Among those titles is a film that is surprisingly relevant seven years after its release: KICK-ASS.

Movie Grade: B+

If you enjoyed the recently released KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE or its 2014 predecessor, you’ll likely find plenty to love in KICK-ASS. Director Matthew Vaughn arguably found his hyper-violent and comedic style in this film, and if you somehow missed it in 2010, the film’s story is pretty straightforward.

In the film, an awkward teenager named Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) takes his obsession with comic books to the next level by dressing up as a real life superhero, only to find that there’s a reason nobody does this in real life. (Hint: It’s dangerous.) But Dave presses on in spite of nearly getting killed multiple times and finds himself caught up with other vigilantes who take crime fighting way too seriously. So seriously in fact, they show little to no restraint in the ways they brutally murder the criminals they fight. What follows is a darkly comedic and wildly entertaining story about what it means to be a hero.

Video/Audio Grade: A-

Shot on 35mm film and mastered in a 2K Digital Intermediate, KICK-ASS joins the list of “upscaled” 4K titles, but that’s not to say it doesn’t look great. While there are some notable moments of heavy film grain, the conversion does offer an improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray. The previous version of the film suffered from very compressed dark tones that gave off a purple cloud effect, and the new 4K version mostly fixes this issue. Where the disc truly shines is in the HDR color pallet. In a film already bursting with vibrant colors from the superhero costumes to the bursts of blood and gore, the added depth brought with HDR makes the film more gorgeous to look at than ever.

As with most action heavy films, the audio design is top notch. The exquisitely mixed sounds of bullets flying and knives stabbing add a wonderfully uneasy sense of realism as they pierce through the speakers just enough to make viewers squirm.

Courtesy of Blu-ray.com

Extras Grade: B

The bonus features included are certainly worth a look, but fans who already own the initial Blu-ray release will find nothing new. The UHD disc contains very little supplemental material, and the included Blu-ray contains everything from the previous release. That being said, the extras on that disc are spectacular. The “Picture In Picture” bonus-view mode allows you to watch the entire film with interviews and behind the scenes footage playing to offer a more interesting perspective than the included commentary track. Check out the full list below.

4K ULTRA HD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • “A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of KICK-ASS” 4-Part Documentary
  • “It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of KICK-ASS” Featurette
  • Audio commentary with writer-director Matthew Vaughn
  • Marketing Archive

BLU-RAY/DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Ass-Kicking Bonus View Mode (Blu-ray Disc Exclusive) –  Synchronous with the feature film, this innovative multi-media presentation incorporates video and audio commentary, behind-the-scenes clips and illustrative graphics with Co-Writer/Producer/Director Matthew Vaughn, plus cast and crew providing an all-access perspective on KICK-ASS
  • “The Art of KICK-ASS” Gallery

Final Grade: B+

With the fascination in superhero films, this re-release proves to be just as enjoyable as it was back in 2010. If you happened to miss this one when it first came out, you’ll be happy to know it still alive and kicking.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.