Kick Ass rating controversy

Australian family groups have spoken out against Kick Ass‘ MA15+ rating in Australia, saying it is inappropriate considering the film’s “perverse” content.

The Herald Sun were good enough to round up all the hyperbolic comments from various family advocates, in a move that is surely only adding fuel to the unstoppable Kick Ass hype machine.

The irony is sweet indeed.

Most of the vitriol seems aimed at the character of Hit Girl, a foul-mouthed 11-year-old assassin with a penchant for decapitation.

Deb Sorensen of Focus on the Family had this to say about the film (which, presumably, she is yet to see):

“It’s a disturbing step into the perverse, reveling in the corruption of an 11-year-old girl … It’s different to any other superhero film which focuses on good triumphing over evil.”

Meanwhile, adolescent psychologist Simon Kinsella also threw his two cents on the subject:

“It can also desensitise people of any age to violence … I think seeing that kind of foul language normalises it.”

Real Mums founder Amanda Cox finally decided to bring the Government into it, claiming they had passed the buck to parents.

“The Government is society’s parents; they can’t do this stuff and then turn around and blame parents.”

When Australian family groups first declared their outrage over a film they hadn’t seen back in January, I responded with typical calm decorum.

I’d like to throw my hat into the ring once again, as I have actually seen Kick Ass – which is more than I can say about a lot of these people making a fuss.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification has it exactly right with their MA15+ rating. Kick Ass does not feature the kind of nightmare-inducing violence that these soap-boxers would have you believe. In fact, the film is nowhere near as bloody as the Saw films (also rated MA15+ in Australia).

Kick Ass actually does feature a strong moral center. The comic book upon which it was based certainly reveled in gory violence – but that was a satire about the fetishisation of vigilantism and comic book heroes. The film tones down the satire and amps up the morality and heroics (not a shift I was happy about, but important to note in this conversation).

In fact, Hit Girl, in both the comic and the film, is the only character that is an out-and-out hero worth cheering for. Sure, it’s disconcerting to see a young girl swearing and slaughtering drug dealers. But that is the point.

Anyway, I’ll discuss this more when the film comes out on the 8th of April.

My advice? Parents, you know your kids. If they are under the age of 15, they probably shouldn’t see the film. BUT, if you deem it appropriate to take them, that is your decision. AS WITH ANY MA15+ FILM. If you are older than 15 years of age, knock yourself out. This is hardly the most graphic thing you’ll ever see, and if you haven’t already been inspired by movies to be a hero and kill evil villains, this one won’t push you over the edge.

Finally, to the family groups – all this is doing is publicising Kick Ass even more. THANKS! It’s a great movie!

Discuss: Will you be checking out Kick Ass when it opens next week?

15 Responses to “Kick Ass rating controversy”

  1. Let the hype machine roll on. This movie has actually proved to be worth every word spoken. The only unfortunate thing I found was that the film did it's job so well that it is going to really alienate the mainstream public. It's a fanboy dream come true, an absolutely electric film- if you're in the mode. It kinda sucks because all of the hyperbole from all these "informed and educated" sources actually have it right; the movie has it all. What the aforementioned sources don't have is the sense of mind to get off the soapbox and educate their own damn kids, and also be sensible enough to choose for themselves.Doesn't matter though. I'll fill their absent seat with a second viewing. It really was that good.

  2. You know I really had no intent on seeing this film at all, just didn't think I'd like it. Now that I know that there's parents groups that are pissed off by it already I've decided that I have to see this movie. If they don't want their kids to see this movie that's fine by me, but they haven't got the right to tell me or anyone else that we can't see this film which it's clear they really want to do.

  3. The government are society's parents? What the hell? Did I miss a meeting?Last time I checked, the government was elected to represent the people, not tell them how to think. Christ, no wonder we're such a nanny state if people are demanding that the government tell them what's acceptable!

  4. I'm so sick of the 'Family Groups' complaining about things they have not actually played or watched.Funnily enough, this is actually great advertising for whatever they are complaining about.If you don't want your kids to see a film, don't take them. Don't tell me whether I or my children can see it.I would also like to point out that I heard far worse language from kids at school. They're going to hear the 'bad words' somewhere, eventually. Stop trying to blind people to the real world around them.

  5. I have seen the movie and it is great, I agree the rating is fine considering what else it goes up against. If you don't want your kids seeing it then don't let them. But good on ya!! you have all just made sure everybody will see this movie πŸ™‚

  6. Fairytales take erotic and violent symbolism right up to the hilt and you have access to these tales as a child around the same time you learn to read, and so you should. is generally used as a political tool, as if the ratings system wasn't enough, prissy parents and politicians want to neuter all of our philosophical musings by way of the untransparent Australian Net Filter going through legislation in the coming weeks.

  7. I read your first article about this and have since seen 500 days of Summer which has this same actress in it…Family groups should look across genres as i'm sure they would realise this particular girl is not new to this and clearly her parents are fine with it. Bring a bottle of vodka over to her brother (main character in 500 days of summer) and telling him to get over it …with some nice language thrown in some other scenes from memory should get them jumping up and down just as much.I hate their narrow outlook pick on everything if you are going to take a stand against this type of thing.Personally…i can't wait to go see it the trailer looked great πŸ™‚

  8. I am a parent and I understand how the parents groups feel. We rely on film ratings to give an accurate representation of what our children will be viewing. I think that is only fair. I can no longer trust PG ratings after some of the films I have sat and watched with my children and been horrified that the content hasn't been classified PG13 at the very least. You think ok yeah it might get a little scary and you might have to hold their hand or cover their ears if there is a bad word but you can't take back some of the unnacceptable things they see once they have viewed them. In an ideal world we would all sit and preview every single film before our children watch them but let's be realistic here! Who really has the time for that? Hence – ratings. I have not seen this film in question so I cannot comment on the suitability of this particular rating but I can sympathise with the parents who only want an accurate indication of what their child will be viewing if allowed to see the film. Thanks

  9. Paul, you took the words out of my mouth.A growing problem Australian society seems to be developing is a greater reliance on 'government'. Understand the motives and context of 'government' and you will see politics in the clear light of day.We can never rely on government as society's parents and we shouldn't have that expectation. (Amanda Cox – founder at Real Mums) needs a reality check as in her world we are living in a nanny state. Maybe she needs to get off the government's teat and start participating in real life – you are responsible for your actions and you should be the major influence over your own three sons. You have the say as to what movies your children watch, don't rely on government to make that decision for you. You're a woman, you decide.

  10. I find it interesting that family groups will single out a movie or TV show to censor and then, five or so years later, lose interest with it and no longer complain if it's shown on TV. Surely if something is too bad to watch then it should remain that way forever and not become acceptable with the passing of time.Keep in mind that many video games, including PacMan, were the subject of debate over their violence in their day. Most family groups would consider these games good, wholesome entertainment now.I haven't seen Kick Ass. Personally it reminds me of The Professional -it seems to have that whole Lolita thing going for it. If my kids catch it, I don't really care, even though they're young. I'm confident in my own ability to explain any themes that may or may not come up -something I think any parent should be confident of.

  11. To Namelessme:Despite Leon being the only comparison I can think of- or that comes to mind- with the whole "kid doing adult things" thing, the film doesn't sexualize Hit Girl at all, the only reference coming from a passing comment by a young man watching her "exploits" and saying "I think I'm in love." Hit Girl is just very adept at killing and swearing. Funny how that seems to be so much worse than a young Natalie Portman saying that the far older Jean Reno is not only her lover.

  12. saw this tonite at the movies for free!!! it was awesome! Id go again!! MA15 rating is there for a reason, responsible parents will not take their kids under 15 to go see this…if they do suck it up! dont complain and take a look at your parenting skills

  13. I've seen Kick Ass and thought it was great, and Hit Girl is by far one of the best characters in it. It's appropriately rated and if parents don't want their kids to see it, then don't let them. I wish the government would just leave the "fantasy violence" of movies and video games alone, after all, don't kids hear worse language in the school ground these days?

  14. Instead of worrying about what is being portrayed in movies, i think these 'family groups' should take a look at youtube clips of school yard bullying and listen to the foul language and witness what kids really get up to. Violence & swearing onscreen is no different to the real world kids live in at school and at home.

  15. I actually think the gory violence is better moralistically. I'm sick of all these superhero films, that make violence look clean and fun. What kind of message does that send to kids? It's better they learn the true affects of violence, like when you stab someone they bleed, when you punch someone you disfigure their face, and when you kill someone they die. Glossed over violence will only make it more appealing to kids. They're going to think if I punch this guy, nothing bad is going to happen. You need to show the blood, the broken bones and the permanence of violence.

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