If you take this ultraviolent film about superhero kids literally, you’re probably going to be appalled and find it “morally reprehensible” as some critics already have. However, if watched in the context of the comic book style, teenage revenge fantasy that I’m convinced it’s meant to be, then you’ll find it as wildly entertaining as I did. The tonal tip-off comes early when viewers meet an ex-cop (Nicolas Cage) mentoring his 11-year-old daughter (Chloe Jane Moretz) in the art of becoming a pre-teen killing machine by having her take two shots to the chest wearing a bulletproof vest. This is in contrast to the principal character (Aaron Johnson), a nerdy high school kid whose alter ego becomes something of a viral celebrity when he dishes out as well as takes a beating from a gang of assaultive street thugs. Based on the eight-part comic book by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr., KICK-ASS on-screen plays out like a junior version of KILL BILL VOL. 1 (2003) with its balletic mayhem inflicted by a female as well as its homages to anime and spaghetti Westerns. Despite these derivative elements, though, the film does manage to achieve something of a new spin on the superhero genre by creating characters with no special powers who bleed profusely after taking a severe beating. If the action and dialogue are over the top, it’s because they’re aping the excessive attributes from their very dark, comic book origins to stay true to the spirit of the material. The ensemble cast is more than adequate with Cage (ADAPTATION) at his quirky best and special attention going to Moretz’s (500 DAYS OF SUMMER) Hit Girl, who gives new meaning to female empowerment. This is a fun movie as long as you’re willing to suspend belief and accept it for the carnage-flying cinematic pulp that it is and nothing more than that. CRITIC’S GRADE: B

10 “ENTERTAINERS” I’D LIKE TO SEE SWALLOWED UP BY AN EARTHQUAKE: (in ascending order): 10. Kendra Wilkinson 9. Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Doodley Squat or whatever he’s calling himself now 8. Dr. Phil 7. The Burger King king 6. Oprah Winfrey 5. Any national talk radio host on KURV 4. Jon and Kate Gosselin 3. Nadya Suleman aka Octomom 2. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt 1. Anyone named Kardashian