Kick-Ass Movie Review

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Starring Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong, Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Chloë Grace Moretz

Gun PornI had long wanted to watch Kick-Ass, and we finally watched it last month. It was a blast! In one sentence, this was a modern reimagining of the superhero genre with a little gun porn thrown in. 

Much like Superbad, Kick-Ass is full of awkward humor. This is the modern style, and it is not my own, but I acknowledge that it is popular. I cringed almost every time Aaron Johnson opened his mouth. Nicholas Cage was little better. I know that this was the object, but still!

As a superhero movie, this is excellent. Matthew Vaughn did X-Men: First Class as well, and I think he did an equally good job. This is a believable origins story for a group of heroes and villains, incorporating modern tastes and venerable traditions. If you know superhero origin stories, not much here will be surprising. But I have never been in favor of innovation for the sake of innovation. 

There is just enough realism to Kick-Ass to make it feel fresh. A little assassin girl, no matter how well trained, cannot win a fist fight with a grown man who will strike back. I appreciated that. The thugs carry knives, and they will shank you. Money matters. Well done, and can we please have some more?

My other movie reviews

Mexico's Gun Supply

I came across an excellent article from Stratfor, Mexico's Gun Supply and the 90% myth.

The meat is really this image:

Firearms traced to US from Mexican seizures

I had seen the 90% number in print, and it never really set of my bullshit detector, but I should have known better. I see lots of stories about gun smuggling to Mexico from the US, which is natural corollary to human and drug smuggling north. However, if you read the stories about the drug cartels in Mexico, you quickly realize that you can't buy fragmentation grenades and automatic rifles in the US. There is a certain amount of gunsmithing going on in Mexico to convert semi-autos into autos, but most of the stuff they are getting has to come from somewhere else. I'm not really sad about the 90% story, because I hope it will galvanize people to actually close the border, but it is a bit sloppy.

A cheap stunt

The Arizona Daily Sun reports this morning that NYC's Mayor Bloomberg attempted to embarrass Arizona by hiring private investigators to buy guns at Arizona gun shows while insinuating that they would not pass the background check

I find this unfortunate. Under federal law, person-to-person sales do not require background checks, although you are free not to sell a gun to someone you don't think should have it. Something else that is obscured is that background checks cost money, and thus affect the ability of these individuals to make money.  Of course, if it does become required, then the cost will just be factored in. It is unclear from the article whether any of the private parties at the gun show did actually refuse to sell a gun to the PIs. They took video of the ones that did sell them a gun. I haven't seen it, but I have to wonder whether these were just the sellers of below average intelligence?

It is also unfortunate that so many people insist on exercising their rights to the detriment of common sense. Just because you are legally allowed to sell to anyone with an Arizona ID doesn't mean you should. One of the reasons that private deals do not require background checks is that you cannot make 'private' deals and simultaneously make a living from doing so. This implicitly limits the number of guns sold in this fashion. That is why the BATF keeps an eye on gun shows, as noted in the article. Failing to get a federal license to be a gun dealer deprives the government of tax revenue, and we know how much the government dislikes that. 

Another thing that goes unsaid is that a network of dealers that assist in private gun transactions already exists. Websites like Gunsamerica and Gunbroker allow one to sell one's guns on the internet. In order to facilitate the sale, the gun must be shipped to a Federal Firearms License holder who resides near the buyer, who is allowed to ship guns through the mail and performs the background check. These businesses could easily supplant gun shows if the laws were changed. Economic self-preservation would seem to call for restraint.