Noth­ing su­per in this se­quel

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

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

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