Saturday, 17 August 2013

Kick Ass 2 - The Review

I enjoyed the original Kick Ass three years ago, and the prospect of a sequel was welcome at the time.
However, I wondered if writer/director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman would be on board for the follow up.
The good news is they are in a producing capacity, while writer/director Jeff Wadlow is obviously channelling the manic intensity that made the original so refreshing.
In fact the lack of pretense and sombreness that dominated films such as The Wolverine and The Dark Knight Rises makes this a welcome breath of fresh air.

Aaron Taylor Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz are once more fantastic as the eponymous hero (Dave Lizewski) and Hit Girl (Mindy Macready) respectively.

Alas, student by day, viral Internet vigilante in a scuba suit by night, Dave seems to have learned little from the original movie; he still gets hit a lot by generic villains. 
Meanwhile, Hit Girl is still a whirling dervish of energy, and foul language. And like an arch criminal, steals the movie both as the lethal purple assassin and as the confused teen trying to adapt in a world of ’plastics’ at high school. 

Christopher Mintz Plasse attempts to bring a view fresh licks to his role as a villain, but once more comes across as just annoying and spoiled. Okay, that is the point, but I wish he'd shown a little more depth. 

Then there is Jim Carrey as the head of the vigilantes who slots into Nicolas Cage's role from film one as the patriarch character - a God-fearing, gun-hating, dog-wielding anti hero, who also takes an early bath half way through the movie.

I can understand Carrey's reluctance to promote the movie after the Sandy Hook massacre. At times Kick Ass 2 does seem to glorify violence, but this is comic book carnage, and the over-the-top tone is no different to the original film. 

For the most part, Kick Ass 2 is a lot of fun; violent, foul-mouthed, hedonistic fun reminiscent of Ben Stiller’s effort Mystery Men... with a lot more blood. 
Colourful, subversive and a little unhinged. 

In a film market dominated by superhero flicks, it's good to see Brit movies poking fun at the genre. 
It also proves you don't need to spend $100m to make a great superhero movie. 
At $28m, this was far more enjoyable than snoozefest Green Lantern, or Chris Nolan's impressive but overblown offerings The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel. 

Star-spotters should look out for reliable British supporting actors Stephen Mackintosh and (Alan Partridge's love interest) Monica Dolan as the costumed vigilantes ’Remembering Tommy’, a duo looking for their missing son, and Andy (Dead Set) Nyman as barely recognisable villain The Tumor. 

It's not perfect by any means. Some ropey special effects during a truck chase let the side down, but unlike some bigger budget comic book efforts which tend to follow the same formula of ’explain hero origins; villain executes deadly plan, face-off against boss monster’, this is mostly an engaging, adrenalised mix of Mean Girls and Watchmen. 

The plot sees Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass join a team of fellow vigilantes called Justice Forever, while falling for sexy team member (with perfect abs) Night-Bitch (Lindy Booth). 
Meanwhile, at the behest of her guardian, Mindy Macready retires her Hit-Girl alter ego, and spoiled gangster's son Chris D'Amico becomes the world's first super-villain (this time sporting an Oedipal moniker instead of his original Red Mist).  

Seeking vengeance for the death of his dad, Chris recruits his own gang, including androgynous ’Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV mode’ antagonist Mother Russia (Olga Kurkulina). 

No super villain would be complete without an evil lair, in this case boasting a Damien Hirst-style shark in a tank, which forms the backdrop for the showdown. 

The first two acts are pretty engaging, but things tend to drag on too long, so by the third chunk you are ready to go way before the closing credits roll.

Kick Ass 3 is inevitable, and bound to centre on an adult Mindy and Dave. 
Not such a bad prospect. If those two don't eventually get together, there is no justice in the movies, comic book or otherwise. 

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