What follows is a review for the movie KICK-ASS 2 by my friend Victor Rosario-Fermaint. Check out his Facebook Page Lights, Camera, SUPER Action.
“KICK-ASS 2” adapts two comic-book limited series: “Kick-Ass 2” by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. and “Hit-Girl” also by Millar and Romita Jr.
“KICK-ASS” was a low budget wonder, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, X-Men: First Class), produced with his own money and written by himself and Jane Goldman. After generating a sizable buzz in Comic-Con, the movie found a worldwide distributor, but only made over $96 million dollars around the world, half of that in the domestic market, despite getting mostly good reviews. So why is there a sequel? Because, audiences finally discovered and embraced the movie on DVD/Blu Ray.
The original was a stylish satire and a deconstruction of the superhero movie genre. It shocked and awed with its clever use of costumes, violence and language, and it’s believable cast of characters. This time Vaughn assigned the director’s chair to Jeff Wadlow, who also wrote the script.
In the same way that you were not shocked by “Kill Bill 2”, after seeing the original, you won’t be shocked here either. But the new adventures of HIT- GIRL (Chloe Grace-Moretz), her sidekick KICK-ASS (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), make no mistake, he is the sidekick , and their archenemy the former RED MIST, now called the MOTHERF—– (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are definitely worth watching.
The movie follows two parallel lines that occasionally connect, and another that only connects for the finale. Everyman Dave Lizewsky a.k.a. Kick-Ass, must decide if he wants to meet and maybe join the new costumed “heroes” his alter ego inspired and face the consequences of such a decision or stay retired, safe and bored. Mindy Macready, a.k.a. Hit-Girl is about to reluctantly embark on a mission to be ordinary, and a journey of self-discovery inside that sometimes terrifying institution called high-school. The Motherf—- must deal with his immaturity, lack of restraint, the power his newly inherited money gives him, and his lust for revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his ganglord father.
Moretz could have carried the movie herself. More on that later. Mintz-Plasse clearly had a blast playing his now over the top character, and when the moment comes to lower the volume and be subtle, he also delivers. Taylor-Johnson is again very believable in a role that isn’t larger than life, like the ones his co-stars have. He does look a bit too old to be in high-school, but unlike Andrew Garfield in “The Amazing Spider-Man”, he makes you forget about it with his acting skills.
These young actors are surrounded by a wonderful cast, and that’s one of the strengths of the movie. Jim Carrey is hypnotic as a born again ex-mafia lord turned superhero, and John Leguizamo is outstanding as Chris D’amico’s consiglieri. Then there’s newcomer Olga Kurkulina as villainess Mother Russia, a veritable force of nature that by herself is worth the prize of admission. You can bet she will be in one of Sly Stallone’s “The Expendables” movies someday. Did I say that this movie is very funny? There are moments when you might laugh out loud. I did.
After Jim Carrey’s remarks, and the dismal performance of hyper violent films like the original, the “Punisher” films, “Super” and “Dredd” at the box office. I expected the action to be less graphic, and it somewhat is. Yes, there is a body count, but nowhere near the original. We knew coming in that the new characters were likely candidates to wear a Star Trek red shirt, but that feeling of uncertainty and fear we felt for our heroes the first time is gone. Maybe it’s because the bad guys doesn’t seem that menacing or proficient. Only Mother Russia is truly dangerous. Or it’s because this is a daytime movie, and in the original most of the action happened at night. Those bright superhero colors look really loud in the sunlight.
“Kick-Ass 2” is not as stylish, ironic or gritty as the original, because it’s handled by a less experienced director and screenwriter. It is funnier. It is also about as satisfying as almost any of the better movies of the unremarkable summer of 2013. The feeling I left with, is that Kick-Ass is nice and all, but the real star of both movies is Hit-Girl, and it’s time she has her own spin off movie. Do I think Kick-Ass deserves a part three? If the very cool last frame of the movie signals some sort of greater growth for the hero. Yes. We’ll see when Mark Millar and John Romita Jr publish Kick-Ass 3.
BTW, THERE IS AN IMPORTANT POST CREDITS SCENE. Don’t miss it.