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Normally it’s America that has a reputation for allowing kids to watch graphic violence while restricting less harmful content like nudity, but in this case, we got it right and everyone else is getting it wrong. In the United States Kick-Ass is getting an R-rating, which prevents anyone under the age of seventeen from seeing it unless accompanied by an adult. However, News AU reports that in Australia the movie’s getting a much milder MA +15 which allows 16-year-olds to see the movie unaccompanied. In the UK it’s even more accessible to teens, with a British rating allowing kids 15 and up to attend.
In response, the usual parent groups are outraged. Except… they’re not really outraged about all the right things. Look, whatever you think of Kick-Ass, it’s hard to depict it as anything other than brutally, brutally violent. At one point in the film an 11-year-old girl leaps into a room with a huge knife and literally starts hacking people to bits. If that’s not R-rated material I don’t know what is. And these parent groups, yeah they’re a little worried about that. But, inexplicably, they seem just as worried about their kids learning to say “cunt”.
In addition to being a sadistic killer, 11-year-old Hit Girl has a pretty filthy mouth in Kick-Ass. A lot of these parent groups seem to be focused on that, rather than the scene where she shoves a gigantic knife through a helpless, fleeing woman’s chest and then laughs about it while blood spurts around the room. Focus On Family’s spokesperson says, “I think seeing that kind of foul language normalizes it.” Well first, you can’t see language unless the movie’s subtitled, which this isn’t. But even if it were, who cares? Words can’t kill people, giant freakin knives can. I’d take this whole thing more seriously if they’d put their focus in the right place. Maybe it would help if some of these save the children groups actually saw the movie?
Really, if parent groups want something to complain about, forget worrying about Kick-Ass’s rating. Kids and teenagers in particular, sneak into things they want to see, no matter how you rate it. If I were in Focus On Family, I’d be out protesting the movie’s marketing campaign, which in recent weeks seems as though it’s attempting to portray the film as a light-hearted, family comedy. If you were to make your movie-going decisions based purely on this particular film’s most recent TV spots, you’d never know Kick-Ass is a vicious, shockingly violent action movie.