Monday, August 26, 2013

Kick Ass 2 Review

'There's no room for punks in suits. Just real heroes who can really kick ass.'

As someone who considers Kick Ass one of their favourite comic book adaptations, this sequel came as a huge disappointment. And maybe it was inevitable with the way in which Kick Ass managed so well to tie up the loose ends of its narrative arcs by the end, that a sequel would only unravel and prolong the stories of the two main characters needlessly which, in my opinion is exactly what Kick Ass 2 does. It isn't even that Kick Ass 2 rehashes the story of the first, because it doesn't. Despite being linked by familiar characters and settings, the stories both films tell are very different. This isn't a bad thing. However, where Kick Ass's brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, paired with the emotional core brought about by Mindy's (aka Hit Girl's) relationship with her father delivered memorable scenes along with great, witty dialogue, it's sequel just felt tired.

Being a film about a teenager who decides to don a suit in order to dole out justice whilst facing real life consequences, bloody violence and fighting is a crucial part of the story that helps illustrate the 'realism' in contrast to other comic book adaptations. However, many of the fight scenes in Kick Ass 2 are reduced to a fast-paced over edited shaky-cam blur, as if to make up for a lack of interesting choreography where the fight sequences were concerned. This also created a lack of realism, that was only enforced by other details that really weren't needed, such as the SIC stick. I'm not going to go into detail of what exactly it is, as I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who wants to see the film, but basically it was just a really crude way of concluding one of the sub-plots in which Mindy has to deal with a really stereotypically obnoxious group of school bullies at her high school. Not only was this sub-plot really boring and predictable, but I felt it really unnecessarily weakened hit girl's character.

Now I'm not entirely familiar with the comics, so I'm probably not the best judge when it comes to how accurately the film reflects them. However I felt that the way in which her high school drama was portrayed felt like scenes from a bad chick-flic. On top of that was something that couldn't be helped: the fact that Chloe Grace Moretz has grown up a bit since the last film, and Mindy's potty-mouth just doesn't have the same effect coming from a fifteen year old as it does from an eleven year old. Still, I think she's the best character in the film and Moretz does a great job playing her and manages to steal the show as she did in the first despite being given less screen time.


Jim Carrey also joins the cast of Kick Ass 2 as Colonel Stars and Stripes, leader of the low budget civilian superhero group 'Justice Forever'. His performance and role in the film were a little underwhelming given the big deal that was made about him actually being in it to begin with. However it is interesting to see Carrey in such an unusual role, and both his accent and physical appearance in character make him almost unrecognizable. Still, the fact that he claimed he wanted no part in the film's promotion says a lot about his opinion on the film itself.

What the film also lacked was a credible villain. Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), 'Red Mist' from the last film resumes his role, but this time also takes up the role as the film's primary antagonist, twisted with vengeance since the death of his father and notorious drug-lord Frank D'Amico. Eager to gain the status and respect of the New York criminal underworld in order to take down Kick Ass and his gang of civilian crimefighters. Unfortunately its hard to warm to Chris as a credible villain, as he still comes across as the clumsy, petulant amateur he was introduced as in the first film and he just isn't as funny as he was.

Kick Ass 2 does on occasion manage to retain some of the wittiness of the first, it just lacks the subtlety and seems intent on one upping the crudeness, resulting in some really hit and miss one liners, tasteless comedy, and forgettable fight scenes accompanied by equally forgettable new characters. All in all, Kick Ass 2 was a predictable, poorly written sequel that tries to relive the success of it's predecessor and will likely lend itself to be a disappointment to anyone expecting any of the quality of the first. Kick Ass 2 is a an un-needed sequel to what was ultimately a very enjoyable and successful stand-alone film.