DIR/WRI: Jeff Wadlow • PRO: Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, Brad Pitt, David Reid • ED: Tim Maurice-Jones DOP: Eddie Hamilton DES: Russell De Rozario • CAST: Chloe Grace Moretz, Jim Carrey, Donald Faison, Clark Duke
Watch enough films and it’s hard not to predict the patterns in their plot, characters and just the general execution. In fact at time they are so goddamn unimaginative, you’ll swear you have already seen them (yeah, I’m looking at you, Identity Theft). But once every so often a movie will come out that provides that fantastically fresh twist on something familar and reminds you why you keep going to the cinema.
Kiss Ass was one of those films. It graced the big screen, just as those cheesetastic comic franchises were expelling the last of their death rattles, leaving the zombies and vampires to battle it out for box-office draws. Thoughtful and hilarious, Kick Ass effortlessly tackled all those tired formulas with razor-sharp wit and some of the best anti-heroes seen in a while; Red Mist, Nick Cage & Hit Girl. I’m not saying K.A. reinvented the wheel, but at the very least it pimped out the genre with some uniquely creative hubcaps.
Kick Ass 2 is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, like it’s predecessor. The dialogue is clunky, the exposition is lazy, little of importance is learned about these eccentric characters (except perhaps that Hit Girl is becoming a Hit Woman). The jokes are flat and mainly rely on exceptionally low-hanging fruit and the plot seems to be a made up of lazy clichés lifted from arguably better films (notably Watchmen and Spiderman). But what’s worse than everything listed above is that none of K.A.’s trademark irony or witty self-references made it into this sequel, which instead is doused in awkward earnestness.
What really gets my goat is that this film appears to take place in a parallel dimension to the original. In 2, Kick Ass himself has his proverbial socks knocked off when he’s invited to chill in his super-buddy’s fairly average basement, bearing in mind this is after he had previously hung out in Big Daddy’s epic war-lair. Also pretty early on in this movie he gets six shades of sh*te knocked out of him by a few thugs – when the last time we saw him, he was going badass on a mafia boss.
Look, the list of gripes I have with this film’s script would put the Simpsons‘ Comic-Book guy to shame; and presently I’m only one-third through it; the list, not the film. However even with sharper writing, it was unlikely that Kick Ass 2 was ever going to escape the shadow of its predecessor. In reality, especially when considering tone and theme, K.A.2 is a completely different film – that just so happens to feature the same actors.
It’s not all bad though; there’s no way of saying this without horrifying my mum, but the violence is outstanding. Just fantastic. Watching a young girl brutally murder baddies in increasingly inventive ways never gets old. Mother Russia, with her Hulk-like super strength, is one hell of a supervillian, with an honorable mention going to Jim Carrey for his interesting transformation as Colonel Stars and Stripes.
Although Kick Ass 2 frequently saunters into silly territory, overall it’s frantic, fun and fast-paced, and I’m not too big to admit to chortling a number of times. Low hanging fruit can still be funny.
Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
Kick Ass 2 is released on 16th August 2013