By STEVE OUELLETTE, Movie Review
---- — “Kick-Ass” burst on the scene in 2010, a violent, profane, campy and oddly inventive breath of fresh air.
At the time, I noted that “the ending completely sets things up for a sequel that probably won’t, or can’t, be as good.”
Finally. Score one for me.
“Kick-Ass 2” ramps up the violence even further, but offers very little of the cleverness or humor of its predecessor. Any bit of satire or social commentary has been lost.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns as nerdy Dave Lizewski, and his alter-ego, Kick-Ass, a superhero with no superpowers. When the film begins, however, Dave has ditched his tights and is just trying to fit in at high school.
Chloe Grace Moretz’s mercurial Hit-Girl, though, is raring for more action, despite the first-movie loss of her beloved father.
Soon the two switch roles, with Hit-Girl/Mindy Macready joining the popular girls at school and eschewing butt-kicking for boy bands and dance teams, while Dave joins some new partners in costumed crime-fighting.
Unfortunately, his new cohorts — led by Jim Carrey’s Colonel Stars and Stripes, a born-again mob enforcer — aren’t very interesting or amusing. Carrey pales in comparison to the earnestly manic performance turned in by Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy in the original.
Carrey has since disassociated himself from the film, in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook school killings.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse returns from the first film and ditches his Red Mist persona for an unpublishably named super villain, but he is even more disappointing. While the good heroes line up behind Kick-Ass, he lines up an array of evildoers, led most notably by a new character called Mother Russia (terrifying Ukrainian bodybuilder Olga Kurkulina).
Mintz-Plasse tries extremely hard, but his character is at times painfully unfunny.
Here in the sequel, the violence and the profanity are no longer surprising and shocking. In fact, the brutality reaches a point where it’s disturbing and a little sadistic, for no apparent story-telling gain.
“Kick-Ass 2” tries too hard and never reaches a level of coherence. Sure, it’s still appealing to see Hit-Girl mess people up — and Moretz continues her trajectory as a rising star — but that’s far from enough to carry the film.
This time, I don’t see a “Kick-Ass 3” in the future.
Rental Recommendation: Moretz was at her best as a sympathetic vampire in “Let Me In.” Grade: A-
Email Steve Ouellette: firstname.lastname@example.org
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Rated: R (for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity)
Running time: 103 minutes