Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: "Kick-Ass 2" Kicks Better Ass

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 7 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Running time:  103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity
DIRECTOR:  Jeff Wadlow
WRITER:  Jeff Wadlow (based upon the comic books by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.)
PRODUCERS:  Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, Brad Pitt, David Reid, and Matthew Vaughn
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tim Maurice Jones (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Eddie Hamilton
COMPOSERS:  Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson


Starring:  Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris Chestnut, Clark Duke, Augustus Prew, Donald Fiason, Garret M. Brown, Steve Mackintosh, Monica Dolan, Robert Emms, Lindy Booth, Daniel Kaluuya, Olga Kurkulina, Tom Wu, Yancy Butler, and Jim Carrey

Kick-Ass 2 is a 2013 British-American superhero film and crime comedy from writer-director, Jeff Wadlow.  It is based upon two comic books, Kick-Ass 2 and Hit Girl, from writer Mark Millar (the creator of Wanted) and John Romita, Jr.  Kick-Ass 2 is also a sequel to the 2010 film, Kick Ass, which was also based on a Millar-Romita, Jr. comic book of the same name.  In Kick-Ass 2 the movie, high-school superhero Kick-Ass joins a group of costumed crime-fighters who were inspired by him, while an old enemy plots revenge against him.

After the events of the first film, high school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) retired from fighting crime as the costumed vigilante/superhero, “Kick-Ass.”  But now, he is bored, and begins training with Mindy Macready a/k/a Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), who is now 15-years-old.  However, Mindy’s guardian is her late father’s friend, Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut), and he demands that Mindy give up being Hit Girl and become a proper high school student.

With Hit Girl taken out of action, Dave looks for a new partner and finds a group of normal citizens who were inspired by Kick-Ass to fight crime in costume.  Led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), Kick-Ass and a small band of wannabe superheroes fight crime and do charity work.

Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), whose crime boss father was killed by Kick-Ass, is frustrated that his mother forced him to stop being the costumed Red Mist.  After he takes control of his family’s wealthy, Chris becomes what he calls the world’s first supervillain, The Motherfucker, and swears vengeance against Kick-Ass.

I thought that the first Kick Ass movie wasn’t as deranged as it thought it was, nor was it as entertaining as its source material.  Kick-Ass 2 is as deranged as it thinks it is – perhaps even more so.  Sometimes, it is too deranged – with violence that is off-putting.  It is not that the violence is over-the-top, so much that it seems like the filmmakers almost seemed obsessed with spiting the critics, prudes, and people who cannot accept that this is make-believe and has nothing to do with real-world violence (like Newtown).

I think I find Kick-Ass 2 more entertaining than the first movie because the new film has one main plot.  The first movie was kind of all over the place, which is understandable as it was introducing a new kind of superhero concept.  Kick-Ass 2 is about revenge.  Yes, the story has subplots about teen angst and self-doubt, parental-child conflict, and peer acceptance, but this is a movie about payback and the mindset one has to have in order to engage in revenge.

I thought Hit Girl dominated the first movie, thankfully.  This time, Dave Lizewski and Chris D’Amico are just as fun to watch as Mindy Macready, although I honestly wish that Kick-Ass 2 has a few more hits of Hit Girl.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse deliver excellent performances that make their characters’ respective conflicts, obstacles, and goals seem quite genuine.

I can’t say exactly what, but Kick-Ass 2 seems to be missing something.  I like the movie and had a blast watching some of it, but there were moments that I found only mildly amusing and entertaining.  I guess that should be enough.  I can say that Kick-Ass 2 has the wanton violence, foul language, and sexual content of the first film, but done a little more thoughtfully.  Plus, Jim Carrey’s turn in a small role is an amazing little thing that has to be seen.

6 of 10

Friday, February 14, 2014

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