I can understand where the filmmakers are coming from on this one, I’m finding it hard enough to find the energy to just write a review of Kick-Ass 2. Just imagine if I had to write and direct the actual movie.
Kick-Ass 2 may in fact serve as evidence even Hollywood has become bored with its tired routine of sequelizing every film possible in hopes of a lucrative franchise or, at the very least, enough films to release a trailer with the accompanying phrase, “The conclusion to the epic trilogy…” Well, chances are the Kick-Ass franchise will have to end as a duology as this sequel to the mediocre, 2010 original more or less tells the same story, but can’t even seem to muster up any measure of excitement in the process as it goes through the motions without much of a pulse.
The first film introduced Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) as the masked vigilante Kick-Ass and Mindy Macready (ChloÃ« Grace Moretz) as Hit-Girl. Together, along with Hit-Girl’s father, they took down crime boss Frank D’Amico who just so happened to be the father of self-styled vigilante Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), which is where Kick-Ass 2 begins.
Despite her father’s death at the end of Kick-Ass, Mindy has continued her personal training and self-appointed duties as Hit-Girl while Dave hung up the Kick-Ass tights, but only briefly as he is looking to continue his partnership with the 15-year-old and form something of a superhero team. Blah, blah, blah… Mindy’s guardian (Morris Chestnut) is all like, “No more Hit-Girl,” and Mindy is like, “But…” and he’s like, “No more Hit-Girl,” and she (all pouty-faced) is like, “Okay.”
So Dave is left to his own devices and ultimately teams up with a group of underground vigilantes naming themselves Justice Forever, led by ex mob enforcer Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey). It’s here we meet Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison), Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), Insect Man (Robert Emms) and other “heroes”, but all the while trouble is lurking on the other side of the city.
Chris D’Amico (aka Red Mist) hates Kick-Ass for killing his dad and vows he will find him and kill him, shedding his superhero name and donning his new, supervillain name, The Motherfucker. Dressed in his dead mother’s S&M clothing, he assigns his butler (John Leguizamo) the duty of hiring psychopaths and killers to join his army to raise hell around town before finding and destroying his newly named nemesis. This band of ex-cons includes Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina), Black Death (Daniel Kaluuya), The Tumor (Andy Nyman) and others.
Things happen, there are a few laughs and the film ends with the obvious suggestion a Kick-Ass 3 is still possible, though I have my serious doubts.
Carrey’s performance as Stars and Stripes is brief and occasionally fun and you could tell Faison enjoyed his part as Dr. Gravity, but can we please put an end to seeing Mintz-Plasse as the whiny little punk. How many films must we see him play the scrawny weakling before the collective groan is loud enough to end it? There’s a moment in this film where Mintz-Plasse begins training with Chuck Liddell and you think they may actually make the character a bad-ass in his own right. No luck, just the same-old, same-old. Boring!
Writer/director Jeff Wadlow (Cry_Wolf) does little to inject any measure of new energy into the film. In fact I’d argue the narrative sucks the film dry of energy, as Wadlow tried to mash the first film up with the cliched story tropes of high school comedies and comes away with a mixed bag of “I don’t know what I want to be.” It’s like Kick-Ass meets Mean Girls meets every cliche movie with daddy issues ever made. It just doesn’t work and while some of the scenes do generate moments of laughter, they are few and far between and can’t mask the stale narrative.
Kick-Ass 2 is one of those films that wears out its welcome and quickly begins to feel long. With Hit-Girl no longer the violent little girl of the film, even her character loses its luster and she was the only reason to even see the first movie. I can’t say I am necessarily against this film, but a theatrical viewing is far from necessary as any interested party should be perfectly satisfied with a home viewing about three months from now.