Picking up about two years after the story in “Kick-Ass” ended, “Kick-Ass 2” pretty much continues with the ideas of the first film. That’s kind of a problem. Even though it’s brimming with new characters, and plotlines flying off into new directions, there’s also a touch of listlessness, a feeling of been here, done that.
Still, it works as an enjoyable, if quite violent, romp, and writer-director Jeff Wadlow proves that he has no fears concerning alienating any member of his audience. He provides some funny lines and action-packed situations, but this movie is never far away from patting itself on the back for being rude and crude.
That part is mostly in the writing, and in the casual use of some downright salty language, much of it coming, just as it did in the first film, from the mouth of Chloe Grace Moretz, aka Hit Girl, the 15-year old, purple-wigged dynamo who knows her way around martial arts as well as curse words.
For those who have not seen the first film, and really have no business seeing this one till they do, Hit Girl (real name: Mindy Macready) was raised, and trained to kill, by her single dad, a former cop who went renegade after his life was ruined by a drug kingpin. Alas, that character, marvelously played by Nic Cage, is nowhere to be found in this film, beyond a photo and an action figure in his daughter’s bedroom.
There’s also our title character, a geeky fellow named Dave Lizewski (the chameleonic Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who decided to become something akin to a superhero – or at least dress like one – because, hey, it’s better than being beaten up at school.
Also carrying over from the first film is wealthy and immature Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who, though starting his fantasy life as superhero Red Mist, has now devolved into his own idea of a super villain, whose named cannot be printed here, but begins with an “M,” has 11 letters following it and rhymes with brother trucker.
Now let’s bring Jim Carrey into the picture. He plays, with a straight face and not a lick of hamminess, Colonel Stars and Stripes, an ex-Mafia enforcer who now runs a secret operation of would-be superheroes whose objective is to clean up the streets of New York.
Carrey, in real life, recently went on a rampage against the film, complaining about its level of violence. Well, OK, it does feature someone’s hand being cut off by a sword, and someone else getting a stiletto through the throat, and a scene that can only be described as “death by lawnmower.” But it’s cartoon violence, and no more outrageous than what was seen in “Kick Ass.” Doesn’t Carrey read his scripts before making his films? Sorry, Jim, your argument is moot. Yes, it’s violent, but it’s the type of absurd violence that makes the film fun, not offensive.
Page 2 of 2 - I mean, come on, this is a movie where ridiculously costumed “superheroes” hang out together in the streets, with a story in which the totally incompetent “super villain” claims that his power is that he’s so rich he can hire other super villains to join him.
Yes, there is a dark edge to it, and there’s plenty of angst and self-doubt flying around in the heads of both Kick-Ass and Hit Girl. But it’s also got a sequence that reaches new heights in the rarefied area of cinematic projectile vomiting, and it has one of the scariest villainesses I’ve ever seen, going by the name of Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina).
The script gives us a satisfying ending, then goes on to leave things wide open for another entry. And after the end credits, a postscript makes that opening even wider.
Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
Written and directed by Jeff Wadlow
With Aaron-Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse