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Kick-Ass 2 - Review

Kick-Ass 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

GIVEN the sheer foul-mouthed, bloody audacity of the first Kick-Ass, Jeff Wadlow’s sequel always faced a battle to top the exploits of the original. But while certainly still fun, the ensuing film slips up somewhat by opting to be ruder and cruder.

The follow-up is also notable for its absentees, given that the ghosts of both Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong weigh heavily over proceedings and highlight the lack of worthy replacements.

That said, those who thought Kick-Ass belonged to Hit-Girl will be glad to hear that she walks away with the movie yet again.

Picking up in the aftermath of the original, Kick-Ass 2 finds Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) struggling to adjust to High School life and give up her superhero persona, while Kick-Ass himself (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) looks to beef up and become part of a team.

This he finds in a new group of community service minded ‘superheroes’ led by former Mob enforcer Colonel Stars & Stripes (Jim Carrey), and including possible new love interest Night Bitch (Lindy Booth).

Seething away in the background, meanwhile, is the vengeful Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), newly christened The Motherf**ker, and determined to avenge the death of his dad by forming a league of super villains.

Based once again on Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.‘s ultra violent comic books, Kick-Ass 2 displays the same refreshingly non-PC attitude and adult approach to its content as its illustrious predecessor – albeit with a slightly more risqué tone.

Hence, some of the material is uncomfortable and jarring, with a gag involving one character’s failure to get an erection so that he can rape a rival’s girlfriend in particularly poor taste.

There are other problems too. As with a lot of sequels (particularly those based on comics), the addition of a lot of new characters means that several aren’t fully realised, with Carrey good but under-used and the likes of Donald Faison’s Dr Gravity and Steven Mackintosh’s Tommy’s Dad struggling to make any real impression.

Kick-Ass himself also struggles to make any real forward progress with his character, leaving the main emotional arc to Hit-Girl, whose battle to fit in and embrace her stolen childhood offers up some of the film’s best dramatic moments.

Wadlow, for his part, delivers suitably violent thrills and spills during the numerous set pieces and still generates plenty of laughs among some of the sicker stuff. And he also ensures there’s plenty of scope for a still-welcome third movie in the series.

But while Matthew Vaughn’s original Kick-Ass was an out and out classic, Wadlow’s sequel is an untidy follow-up that frequently struggles to reach those high standards. It’s good but we were expecting greater things.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 106mins
UK Release Date: August 14, 2013