4 out of 5

Director: James Gunn

Based on the mostly negative reviews, I wonder what people were expecting of this film. James Gunn is a Troma guy. But were not firmly entrenched in a genre here, and that can make this come across as empty or offensive, but this is a more sympathetic version of Kick-A** with some interesting concepts and surprising turns dawdling in the runtime. Rainn Wilsons hottie wife – Liv Tyler, a recovering drug addict – is stolen from him and sucked back into the bad stuff by club owner Kevin Bacon. Rainns Frank couldve been portrayed as pathetic, but the hes shot and acted, he comes across more as a regular guy who accepts his lot in life – accepting of his normality. An uncomfortable act to pull off, but Rainn made me like Frank. Our first taste of Troma / B-movie sensibilities comes when Rainn narrates, during a dream sequence where his brain is literally touched by the finger of god, that he has always had divine visions of god and devils, and now he wonders if its meant to inspire him to some greater good… He dons a costume, does some push-ups, and gets a sidekick in the form of young comic-book store worker Ellen Page (who also does an excellent job of blending comic relief with believable manic teenage attributes… making her character frightening, funny, and understandable). If you want senseless violence to laugh at, its there, and yes, Rainns Crimson Bolt brains some people with a wrench without too much consequence, so get offended if you like. But past all that is some very strange, very interesting wandering about the nature of responsibility… fate… good vs. evil… wrapped up in a colorful, well-shot dark comedy. Its not genius, and does not fully explore these elements, and the combo is not entirely successful (the comic book sound effects and Rainns battle cry seem like elements thought up before Gunn had the whole movie planned), but for genre experimentations I found this to be worth my $10.

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