It’s been three years since wetsuit-wearing teen vigilante Kick-Ass busted the superhero genre wide open in Matthew Vaughn’s visceral stab at Mark Millar’s ultra-violent comic book.
At the very least, a sequel had to up the ante – which is exactly what Kick-Ass 2 tries oh-so-hard to do. More swearing, more violence, more heroes, more villains – there isn’t much that incoming writer-director Jeff Wadlow doesn’t do more of. Except maybe subtlety…
The ‘bigger, louder, lewder’ principle serves up mixed results, as Dave Lizewski’s (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) ski-suited street fighter gets chummy with a group of like-minded vigilantes, headed by Jim Carrey’s ex-mobster Colonel Stars And Stripes.
Meanwhile, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), still itching to avenge the climactic events of the first film, re-brands as fetish-wearing super-criminal The Mother Fucker, forms an evil army and builds a man-cave (brilliantly conceived by production designer Russell De Rozario).
Still, any genius strokes are undone by two factors. First: Carrey is wasted. Second: the Mean Girls-lite subplot involving Kick-Ass’ cohort Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) going all hormonal in high-school. Gross-out gags are no real substitute for the heart that Nicolas Cage brought to the original as Hit-Girl’s father (the so-so extras include storyboards from a Big Daddy dream sequence that didn’t make it to a soundstage).
Despite Moretz adding another c-bomb to her repertoire, this time round her profanities pack less shock (though there is a nice swear-jar joke early on).
Likewise, the endless scenes of bloodshed and dismemberment: Wadlow has a feel for action – and one speeding van shoot-out (also anatomised in the extras) is a stunner. But you can’t help feeling this sequel kicks less ass than it should.
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