k i c k a s s 2
14th August 2013
Chloe Grace Moretz
18th August 2013
Kick Ass was a complete surprise when it was released in 2010. A few super hero movies had looked at the realities of being a super hero but none had gone quite as far as this. Surprising, brutal, funny and very much down to earth, it was a huge hit and in particular made a star of Chloe Grace Moretz as the very much too young to be swearing and killing people Hit Girl.
The shock and awe element was always going to cause the inevitable sequel problems, simply once it’s been done, it’s not going to be as shocking the second time around. So where to go with Kick Ass 2?
Well, as it turns out, nowhere in particular. The movie picks up with Taylor-Johnson’s Dave Lizewski trying hard not to be a super hero and Moretz’s Mindy Macready trying to fit in at school and not make a liar of herself to new father figure Detective Marcus Williams (charged with looking after her after Nic Cage’s character’s death in round 1). Obviously this isn’t going to be that simple and in the background we have Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Chris D’Amico (Red Mist from the first film) transforming himself into The Motherfucker - a very strange allusion to his dear departed mother’s sexual preferences. D’Amico is bent on revenge after Kick Ass’s despatch of his criminal father by means of a bazooka.
What this all amounts to is a dog’s-dinner of a film that tries to blend the ultra-violence and comedy of the original with elements of Heathers / Clueless / Mean Girls (as Moretz tries to fit in with the clique at school) and Austin Powers (as Mintz-Plasse gathers his henchmen in a den complete with suspiciously lacklustre shark in a tank). Jim Carrey pops up as the head of the super heroes as the good guys try to find solidarity in their various causes. The causes vary widely, from a couple who’s child has gone missing to one of Lizewski’s best mates who seems only to be there for.... well, I’ve no idea.
One of the biggest issues with Kick Ass 2 is it consistently insists ‘this is not a comic book!’ whilst acting exactly like a comic book. Although the main characters clearly have spent a lot of time training to get to the fighting machines they are, the remainder of the super heroes have no outstanding qualities at all, leading to the bizarre situation where you get Battle Guy (Lizweski’s slightly rotund mate) charging into battle with nothing more than a perspex shield, surely condemning him to an early and probably deserved demise. Minzt-Plasse’s bad guys seem to exist almost entirely for him to give them all amusing names. There’s a Russian in there that I’m sure must have featured in a Stallone movie form the 80’s or at the very least probably featured in at least one Street Fighter game but they’re all just fodder for various over the top fight scenes.
The other main issue is that the script clearly has not a single original idea in its tiny mind so just continues to bludgeon us with tired growing up / finding yourself cliches. None of the characters are particularly developed and the entire sorry mess would have been straight to DVD in any sane world. Shorn of the writing and directing talent behind part 1 (neither Goldman or Vaughn are involved), the comic book creators are left desperately trying to out shock the original in order to make it stand out.
Kick Ass was a film that absolutely needed no sequel and Kick Ass 2 takes a one-shot idea and spreads it so thinly as to render it entirely transparent. A teenage girl calling somebody a cunt once is shocking, hearing it again is just lazy, even if it is in Russian. At 103 minutes, the movie still seems too long and given its early box office, I wouldn’t be betting on a third instalment. At least, not one that makes it to a theatrical release.
Check out the trailer here