Nothing super in this sequel
AT one point in Kick-Ass 2, the teenage Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the self-made superhero from the original film, wears a T-shirt that reads ‘‘I hate reboots’’. The shirt gets a huge laugh from the audience. But you know what I hate? Lame, leaden sequels to fun, vibrant movies. What seemed edgy and brash in Kick-Ass is now routine and old-hat. The first movie was a brash satire on formulaic comic-book movies – exactly the sort of picture the sequel turns out to be.
Writer-director Jeff Wadlow ( Never Back Down), taking over the reins from Matthew Vaughn (who only served as producer this time), has made a movie that manages to meld the worst elements of Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin with Paul Greengrass’ epileptic-cam from the Jason Bourne movies.
The action sequences in Kick-Ass 2 consist of lots of handheld, shaky camera work. But that sense of gritty realism keeps the movie from being fun.
When a Russian female bodybuilder kills 10 police officers outside a home where a woman is being raped, the film becomes a major downer.
The plot of Kick-Ass 2 feels like something that was written solely to cash in on the first film’s success. The villainous Red Mist (Christopher MintzPlasse), who vowed to avenge the death of his gangster father in the first film, kills his mother early in the movie, comes across some leather S&M garb hidden in her closet and rechristens himself with a name that cannot be repeated here.
He buys himself a roster of ex-convicts and murderers to take down Kick-Ass and his newly formed gang of superheroes, which includes an unrecognisable Jim Carrey as an ex-mob enforcer who calls himself Col. Stars and Stripes.
Carrey has distanced himself from the movie and spoke out against it in June, stating that he couldn’t promote it after the Sandy Hook shootings.
But the movie is so cartoonish and ridiculous, the actor’s stance seems misguided.
Practically no one in Kick-Ass 2 looks like they want to be there. Taylor-Johnson, a British actor who made for an endearing American kid in the first film, looks much too old for the part this time, and his attempt to make his voice sound younger is noticeable to point of distraction. Mintz-Plasse gives the first all-out bad performance of his career.
The only person to come away from the movie unscathed is Chloe Grace Moretz, whose performance as the 13-year-old Hit Girl in the first film was the focal point of most of the controversy that surrounded it. Now 15, she still spouts bad words and kills bad guys, but her behaviour isn’t quite as shocking.
Kick-Ass 2 isn’t irritatingly bad or torturous to sit through. But it does remind you of just how good the first movie was and shows how easily a film can come off as trying too hard.
Kick-Ass 2 opens today.
Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl and (left) John Leguizamo as Javier and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico in Kick-Ass 2