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‘Kick-Ass 2’ does not kick ass

By Frank Ruggiero (frank@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Aug. 22, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 22, 2013
‘Kick-Ass 2’ does not kick ass

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz star in ‘Kick-Ass 2.’



“Kick-Ass 2” is the kind of movie its predecessor so sharply satirized.

Whereas director Matthew Vaughn delivered something witty, tongue-in-cheek and oddly endearing with the 2010 original, successor Jeff Wadlow (“Never Back Down”) presents a dumbed down, uninspired, paint-by-numbers action movie.

Like some of its characters, the film suffers from an identity crisis, uncertain of what — if any — message it’s trying to convey. The result is a meandering, two-dimensional and generally mean-spirited experience, reduced to toilet humor and rape jokes.

Set a few years after the first film, “Kick-Ass 2” finds high-schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Savages”) still determined to fight the good fight as costumed vigilante Kick-Ass. Aspiring to be a crime-fighting duo with pint-sized heroine Hit Girl, aka Mindy MacReady (Chloë Grace Moretz, “Hugo”), that dream is put on hold when Mindy honors her late father’s last request, namely to obey her legal guardian, Det. Williams (Morris Chestnut, “The Call”), and hang up the cape.

But Dave is determined and soon joins up with a team of costumed moonlighters, led by a born-again mob enforcer, Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). They even make a good go of it, until someone proclaims himself the world’s first supervillain.

It’s none other than Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, “Superbad”), the son of a mob boss Kick-Ass killed in the first film. Determined to exact revenge on his father’s killer, D’Amico garbs himself in female bondage gear and dubs himself the Mother#%@^$* (it’s profanity, see). Building an evil army packed with costumed thugs, including Mother Russia (bodybuilder Olga Kurkulina), the Mother#%@^$* — OK, let’s just call him Chris — takes aim at Kick-Ass’ personal life, namely his loved ones.

Can Kick-Ass and his super-friends stop the fiendish Chris? Will Hit Girl come out of early retirement? Does anybody really care?

Somewhere in there, the film tries to convey a message about fighting for what you believe in, living up to one’s true self or something along those lines. It’s wishy-washy at best and repeatedly contradicts itself at every turn.

The plot wanders aimlessly from action scene to action scene, delivering ultra-violence and gore aplenty, but completely missing what made that unique in the first film. Vaughn wasn’t glorifying violence, but rather juxtaposing it with the cartoonish aspects of comic-book heroism. Playing superhero isn’t safe, and “Kick-Ass” ran with it, boldly ignoring the mainstream. Its sequel, however, is the mainstream, playing it safe to a fault.

“Kick-Ass 2,” rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content and brief nudity, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.


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