New writer-director Wadlow (Never Back Down) makes one severe misstep with this sequel to Matthew Vaughn's snappy 2010 Kick-Ass: he loses the irony. Now everything is played for goofy laughs and indulgent grisliness. There's no longer any subtext, nothing original in the structure or premise and a clear fear of being politically incorrect. Even so, it's an entertaining romp with a steady stream of funny gags.
After the craziness of the first film, Dave (Taylor-Johnson) has hung up his Kick-Ass costume and is trying to be a regular teen at school, but he's jealous of Mindy (Moretz) secretly carrying on her training as Hit Girl. So he asks her to team up and teach him some new tricks. But when her guardian (Chestnut) finds out, she promises to give up the violence and go back to school. Now Dave has to find a new partner, so he joins a lively team of underground heroes led by the gung-ho Captain Stars and Stripes (Carrey). But Dave's old nemesis Chris (Mintz-Plasse) still wants to avenge his father's death, so he abandons his dodgy heroic alter-ego Red Mist and instead becomes a supervillain called The Mother F**ker, with his own butler-assistant (Leguizamo) and a crew of minions.
Wadlow briskly leaps from one action set-piece to the next, and each scene has a witty sense of humour about it, even if the extreme violence is played for rather glamorised fun rather than the shock-value of the first film. Through everything, the dialog is packed with amusing lines that keep us laughing. And Mindy's parallel plot has its moments as well, throwing her in with the school's mean girls, who clearly don't know who they're messing with. Moretz plays Mindy so well that she makes everyone else feel scruffy and simplistic by comparison. Carrey's muscled meathead is a startlingly against-type role that strangely refuses to go anywhere. But Glen is rivetingly sharp in one key scene.
On the other hand, film itself is rather soft and sloppy. Aside from the lack of originality and the fondness for violence, the action scenes are so cartoonish that they provide very few thrills. The whole story is a build-up to a climactic showdown between Dave and Chris, but the clash feels trite and predictable, including the sexist sidelining of Mindy to battle Chris' female goon (Kurkulina). That said, there are some pointed comments about bullying and homophobia along the way. And a post-credit sting that leaves the door open for part 3.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th August 2013
Box Office USA: $28.8M
Box Office Worldwide: $29M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Marv Films, Universal Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 108
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Screenwriter: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass, Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico / The Motherfucker, Clark Duke as Marty Eisenberg / Battle Guy, Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, Lindy Booth as Night Bitch, Donald Faison as Doctor Gravity, Steven Mackintosh as Tommy's Dad, Monica Dolan as Tommy's Mum, Morris Chestnut as Detective Marcus Williams, Claudia Lee as Brooke, Amy Anzel as Mrs. Zane, Augustus Prew as Todd/Ass Kicker, Mary Kitchen as News Reporter, Garrett M. Brown as Mr.Lizewski, Lyndsy Fonseca as Katie Deauxma, Yancy Butler as Angie D'Amico, John Leguizamo as Javier, Robert Emms as Insect Man
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