Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Untitled-1The first movie was a little violent. But it was also very stylish and occasionally very funny. It balanced quite well the brutality and the humour; the violence was prominent, yes, but because the characters made a joke out of it, it was tolerable — even enjoyable. Now we have the sequel, Kick-Ass 2, and all it makes me do is wish for the first movie again.

This is a sorry excuse for a sequel, or even a movie. It is so horridly scripted, and so clumsily directed that at times I felt as if I was watching a B movie with A-listing actors. That might be a bit of a stretch though: There are no A-list actors in this dredge, except for one, and even he disowns it. Everyone seems to operate on the I-really-wish-I-wasn’t-here setting, which simply means no one does a good job. Not even Chloe Grace Moretz, and she was so charming in the first movie.

The premise is that Kick-Ass, the superhero of the first movie, as you recall, has started a revolution in which ordinary citizens all across America (New York City) have begun dressing up like superheroes, even if they can’t fight like one. And also, the son of the bad guy in the first movie, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, whose mouth is two inches too far to the right), wants revenge for his father’s gruesome death at the hands of Kick-Ass. He uses his money not to hire a hit man, but to become a super villain, named The Motherf*cker, and recruit an army of like-minded super villains, of which there is a giant Russian woman with an eye patch, a black MMA fighter, a random Asian man, and a plump radioactive geek. He builds himself a lair and populates it with other useless extras and a shark tank with a dead shark in it. Or at least he thinks it’s dead.

Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) on the other hand joins a group of good-hearted but mean-spirited superheroes, called Justice Forever — yawn — headed by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, excellent). As usual, this group is composed of washouts who probably can’t even do their own laundry. But when it’s crunch time, they can wield deadly weapons with the best of them, and none of them have a moral plug that advises them against killing innocent costume enthusiasts. They busy themselves with petty crimes, not knowing the terror The Motherf*cker has planned for them.

Have I forgotten anyone? Oh yes. Chloe Grace Moretz. Hit Girl. Probably the most engaging character from Kick-Ass 1. Here, however, she’s reduced to bickering with college sluts, and trying out for the school dance team. Not very aggressive. But she takes on a van full of baddies and kills them all, you say. Oh yes she does, but how stupid is the whole sequence? She crouches on the van’s roof and shoots through it with a pistol, magically killing every single bad guy in there. Oh, but not the good guy of course, because she knows precisely where he is in the van, even though she cannot see him.

This movie is as much about her as it is about Kick-Ass. Her dilemma here is that her carer Marcus (played here by Morris Chestnut but by Omari Hardwick in the first one) forbids her from doing any superhero stuff and condemns her to a normal life, which includes slumber parties, dating, and kissing. Oh no! She’s not allowed to be Hit Girl! Calm yourself. This is a Kick-Ass movie, and Hit Girl is on the poster — she will not remain powerless (costumeless) for long. This makes me wonder: What is the point of stripping her of her powers and forcing her to live a life of mundanity if she’s just gonna ignore it all and eventually don the purple hair and cape again? She uses the break from crime-fighting to discover who she really is. But she relished the bloodshed in the first movie. She knows exactly who she is. What journey of self-discovery does she need to embark on?

In fact, what journey do any of the characters need to embark on? Our hero is a wimpy excuse of a man who wants to do good. To paraphrase Alfred: What is the point of all those one-handed pull ups if you can’t even beat a guy’s ass? He goes from zero to zero, and then he gives up.

It’s always easy to write an essay about bad movies. I end up complaining more than critically discussing. But I was just so angered by this movie, by its existence, by its shoddy craftsmanship. None of the jokes are funny. None. None of the action is clever and plot-driven. None of the characters are interesting. And no line of the script makes sense. There was a shot of a t-shirt that made me chuckle though: “I hate reboots”, it says. Why take a stab at reboots when your sequel does no better?

Best Moment | Nope.

Worst Moment | Among the sea of horrendous jokes and gags lies a particularly repulsive one: Hit Girl jabs the college sluts with a device that makes you puke instantly and uncontrollably. This in itself is a stupid idea. But wait, it also makes you defecate… in liquid form.

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