Starring: Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings, Sandra Oh
Released: 6th September 2010
Runtime: 101 minutes
Arthur Poppington (Harrelson) believes he is a superhero. He calls himself Defendor. He understands that he has no special powers (well neither does Batman) but he wants to help people and to fight against crime. Just like Kick Ass. Nothing wrong with that. And despite his low IQ, Defendor does actually make a difference. People might think he’s a joke and has been undergoing psychiatric evaluation but he’s determined to bring to justice Captain Industry – the man that killed his mother by supplying her with drugs.
So with a duct-tape letter D stuck to his chest and a black boot-polish eyemask as well as an array of odd weapons including marbles and wasps he sets out to rid his city of crime. Along the way he befriends a teenage prostitute (Kat Dennings) who becomes his friend and nurse, while taking money from him for her expensive drug habit.
Woody Harrelson, having appeared in Zombieland and challenging the conventions of that particular genre – the zom-rom-com – is now starring in Defendor released on DVD this month (apparently we will have to wait for the blu-ray to be released at a not-yet-disclosed date) and will be investigating and probing into as well as turning the conventions of the Superhero genre on its head.
Kat Dennings takes a huge side step from her previous nice-girl roles to become a believable crack-smoking prostitute. It’s rather disturbing to be honest seeing her act like this. I’m used to seeing her alongside the likes of Michael Cera. And to be honest I think that’s where I’d prefer her to be. Nevertheless she produces a strong performance and also injects a sense of pathos into her character.
Writer/Director Peter Stebbings handles the film well. It’s fairly slick without ever being flashy or over the top and it belies the fact that this film was, no doubt, produced on a comparatively small budget. The characters (and actors) are real and likable and they carry the story along nicely, covering over any cracks in plot or grubby locations.
I like this small sub-genre of films that looks at the successes of people that are caught up in a fantasy world, in a way it reminded me of the film Don Juan DeMarco from 1994 starring Johnny Depp as a man that believed himself to be Don Jaun.
Once you’re seen Kick Ass, Defendor should be next on your list.