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Chloe Moretz in 'Kick-Ass' -- are toddlers toting Uzis next?

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Kick-Ass is nothing compared to the film’s crime-fighting father-and-daughter duo: Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage). Vowing to revenge himself on Mafia honcho Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) for making him a widower, ex-cop Big Daddy has been training Hit Girl (real name, Mindy Macready) for mortal combat. Their first scene together is a touching example of paternal guidance: In order to get her ready for prime time, he repeatedly fires bullets into her bullet-proof-vest protected chest.

It gets better. Their first crime intervention is so gory that even Tarantino might be envious. On the other hand, he’s probably flattered – the double-blade wielding Hit Girl, in her purple Clara Bow wig and pleated skirt, is like a “Mini-Me” version of Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill.” And like that film, we are encouraged to see the violence here as strictly cartoon stuff.

But why should we, especially when the chief perpetrator is an 11-year-old girl? The sheer exuberance of blowing things up, of kicking ass, can be liberating to watch, but too often the most dubious cinematic representations of violence are given a free pass because, after all, it’s only a movie. But it’s not only a movie. If it’s OK to show preteens slicing the opposition while mouthing unprintables, then where, exactly is one supposed to draw the line?

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