Review: Kick-Ass 2
PLOT: After inspiring a wave of new people to don costumes and fight crime, David Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) comes out of retirement, and once again becomes Kick-Ass. With Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) sidelined by a need to be a normal teenager, Kick-Ass joins Justice Forever, a superhero club run by a former Mafia thug, turned born-again superhero calling himself Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). Meanwhile, wanting to avenge the death of his father, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), aka Red Mist, has decided to reinvent himself as a super-villain named The Motherf**ker, complete with his own army of psychos.
REVIEW: I have great news for everyone who loved the first KICK-ASS. While Matthew Vaughn isn't back as director (although he's still a producer), KICK-ASS 2 is just about as good as the first film, meaning- if you'll forgive the cliché- it kicks ass!
I'll admit I was sceptical, with writer-director Jeff Wadlow's last credit being the teen MMA flick NEVER BACK DOWN. Wadlow has really picked up exactly where Vaughn left off and run with it, as if you'd seen it minus the credits and the knowledge that Vaughn wasn't back, you'd never think 2 wasn't directed by the same guy as the original. It feels like a pretty seamless continuation.
In a (slight) departure from the first film, Kick-Ass is no longer quite as hopeless in a fight as he once was, thanks to months of training by Hit-Girl, leaving him with a six-pack and some serious muscles to flex. Johnson's so perfect in the part, hitting just the right balance between being goofy and serious when the moment calls for it. The stuff with Kick-Ass and Justice Forever- which counts among it's members the drop-dead sexy Night Bitch and the wimpy do-gooder Doctor Gravity (played by SCRUBS' Donald Faison)- is terrific.
While he's distanced himself from the movie, Jim Carrey steals every scene he's in as the goombah-ish Colonel Stars and Stripes. Nearly unrecognizable under a layer of prosthetic makeup, Carrey seems to be having a blast busting heads and talking like a wiseguy, even if now he says he can't get behind the finished product. That's too bad, because he's great in it.
Having not read the comics, I can't tell you how closely it follows Mark Millar's series, but for the sequel, Hit-Girl's pretty much moved up to being the co-lead. Heck, they could have even called it KICK-ASS & HIT-GIRL (doesn't have quite the same ring as KICK-ASS 2 though), which would have been pretty accurate considering how their screen-time is divvied up. More of Moretz as Hit-Girl is always a good thing. Her side-plot- where she's ushered into life as a Mean Girl type high-schooler by a music video (a pretty hilarious, and accurate spoof of One Direction)- could have gone disastrously wrong, but ends up being just as much fun as any of the superhero business. That said, you can still expect Moretz to get into plenty of ultra-violent scraps. Like Johnson, the part feels tailor-made for her, and one she can probably keep playing for years to come.
Meanwhile, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who's gone on to prove himself as a pretty consistently funny guy since SUPERBAD (unbelievable that came out six years ago), chews the scenery as the diabolical baddie The Motherf**ker who- wouldn't ya know it- also turns out to be a real motherf**ker with the evil shenanigans he gets into. For the first two-thirds of the movie, KICK-ASS 2 is mostly going for laughs, but after a particularly nasty turn of events, it gets surprisingly dark, more-or-less closing out as a legit (if gonzo and crazy) superhero flick, albeit one with tons of R-rated ultra-violence. My only complaint here would be that the action scenes are maybe slightly less memorable than they were in the first movie (nothing matches Hit-Girl's introduction or when Big Daddy took on a warehouse full of thugs). Still, a few of them standout, such as a fun part where Hit-Girl fights baddies on a speeding SUV, which is a lot like an action scene out of an obscure, but great, eighties Donnie Yen Hong Kong flick IN THE LINE OF DUTY 4 (or is it 3? I dunno). Wonder if that maybe inspired Wadlow???
Overall, I really can't see anyone who liked the first KICK-ASS not digging this one too. It has the same manic, cheeky, ultra-violent but cartoonishly fun sensibility. Of course, the opposite is also true. If you hated the first one, this isn't going to change your mind. However, as far as I'm concerned the KICK-ASS series is the ironic breath of fresh-air the increasingly epic legions of superhero movies needs every couple of years. I had a blast.
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|Extra Tidbit:||Stay past the end credits!!!|