A few years ago, there was a cinematic focus on unqualified vigilantes. 'Defendor' was the ultra low-budget one, 'Super' was the dark-comedy and 'Kick Ass' was the legitimate action movie among the bunch.
Guess which one got the sequel.
Umm..'Kick Ass' got the sequel. Just want to be clear.
Dave/Kick Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is one of many masked vigilantes who are keeping their city safe from crime. This is challenged when the once-heroic Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) turns villain after his criminal father was killed by Kick Ass at the end of the first film. He finds a costume, rebrands himself 'The M-Fer' (edited for your protection) and uses his family's vast wealth to form a team of supervillains. Oh yeah, his mom dies abruptly, leaving him the family fortune.
Meanwhile, Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz) aka. Hit Girl is forced to retire because of a promise that she made to her late father. This leaves the city shorthanded, even though Kick Ass stumbles across an organized group of vigilantes, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).
An inevitable clash is bound to ensue. Who will survive? Will who participate?
The script is noticeably weaker this time around. Perhaps the goofy lines and cliched catch-phrases were present the first time around, but they seemed fresher then. It was also more interesting to see Kick Ass in his formative moments, learning to become a vigilante and discovering the consequences. Here, aside from a re-training montage, he is back in action as a mediocre fighter.
More problematic is that for much of the time, Hit-Girl is relegated to the sidelines, attempting to make domesticity and normal teen life work. Mindy is forced to endure the rigors of high school as the new girl. She encounters 'mean girl' types and other archetypes that are so overused and cartoonishly broad, it is dull. This stretch of the film is really bad. The only redeeming quality of this angle (young hero promising a parent to hang up the cape) is that it is also touched upon with the Kick Ass character in a bit of symmetry.
This leaves us with a lot of superheroes who aren't very super. On the bright side, some of these loser characters have compelling stories and reasons for wanting to provide justice.
Most of the action sequences, fights and moments of violence are extremely impressive. They are the whole reason to watch this. Everything done in the first film is done again on a much larger scale. Also keep an eye out for a device that creates spontaneous vomiting and diarrhea.
Taylor-Johnson is fine as Kick Ass, but the real star here is Moretz. Carrey doesn't actually have as much screen time as one might think, but he is amusing. Mintz-Plasse normally wouldn't be a convincing villain, but the whole idea is for him to be an angry nerd with unlimited wealth and a lot of anger is workable.
Special features include: extended scenes, a talk about making the sequel bigger and better, weapons and stunts, a look at the setting and commentary.
'Kick Ass 2' brings us the same main characters but little of the freshness of the first film. It is dumber, goofier, less grounded, and is less capable hands.
Sometimes, bigger isn't better.
This is one of those times.
Add an extra half star to this review.
Rated R 103 minutes 2014