Let’s set the record straight. The original KICK-ASS film directed by Matthew Vaughn is an amazingly fun film filled with quirky characters, a great sense of humor, and some twisted yet jaw dropping action sequences. It’s one of my favorite super-hero films to date and I was eager as a beaver in an abandoned forest to see the next installment. That said, does the sequel KICK-ASS 2 (thank god they dropped the “Balls to the Wall” in the title), directed by Jeff Wadlow (NEVER BACK DOWN), deliver all the goodness of the original!? Yes and no. I know that’s a horribly vague answer that really means nothing but I swear I can explain if you give me a chance! Dammit give me a chance! Alright, well in short it does have all of the elements I loved about the original, but it all just has a little less…what’s the word, “impact” I suppose. It’s set in a familiar “been there, done that” universe where everyday people without powers become superheroes. Are there quirky characters? Yes. Is is funny? At times (but it’s a little more juvenile this time around). And does the action deliver? Again yes, but not nearly as good as the original or other movies of this ilk (SUPER anyone?). SO yeah, all the right elements are there, but it’s just not as fun this time for some reason.
Something I do admire about this film is that all the main players are back. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Recently cast as Quicksilver in THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON) is back and just as good as I remembered as the bumbling yet high spirited Dave Lizewsi. He nails his performance and really brings kick-Ass to life. Christoper Mintz-Plasse (SUPERBAD) returns as Chris D’Amico who can now be referred to as “The Motherfucker”. He is fun to watch this time around and gives us a lot of the laughs here. And of course we see the return of the foul-mouthed heroine Hit Girl played by the young and talented Chloe Grace Moretz who is a bit…older this time around. She is still a bad ass here and it is fun watching her go through a “MEAN GIRLS” version of high school. One fact that can be said about all of these talented actors is that they have 3 names instead of just two like the rest of us lowly peasants. No fair! All three really hold this film together and they are joined by a huge list of side characters that I really don’t feel like listing. Well, one stands out in the form of Jim Carrey (ACE VENTURA) as Colonel Stars and Stripes. I don’t really care what he says or does in the real world as long as he’s not murdering puppies or anything so you’re not going to get a half-assed and confused rant out of me. I love the dude, he is a comic genius and even though he may not like it, his performance here is stellar! My only complaint would be that I wanted to see MORE of him! And it would not be fair of me to at least give a nod to Donald Faison (TV’s SCRUBS) as Dr, Gravity. He had a few one-liners that had me laughing. All in all, a fun and enjoyable cast filled with a lot of character.
Since last time we met in the original KICK-ASS, the civilians of the world have become obsessed with becoming super heroes. As a result, a huge array of regular every-day people have decided to become heroes and patrol the streets to fight crime. Meanwhile, the villain formerly know as Red Mist is seeking revenge on Kick-Ass for his actions in the first film. He is hell bent of finding Kick-Ass and destroying him. Even though Kick-Ass and Hit Girl have seemingly retired, they are soon thrust into an epic battle between good and evil as they cope with all the crap they have done to one another (and Red Mist) in the past. I really like the simple yet fun character dynamics here and the themes of revenge and redemption pop up every now and again in good measure. While the story here may not be as fun as the original (sorry I keep comparing the two), it’s pretty great to return to this universe and watch everyone throw down one more time. Having a bunch of copycat heroes and villains running around fighting one another is amusing to say the least.
And of course we have the action sequences. I will admit there are a couple here that will stay with me for some time and proved to be a hell of a lot of fun. A scene involving a super villain called “Mother Russia” comes to mind first as well as a handful of pretty awesome Hit Girl moments. While there was fun to be had, I was left with a bit of a hollow feeling in the action department. Sure it’s there, and it’s pretty good, but it just wasn’t as mind-blowingly fun as in the (dare I compare again!?) original KICK-ASS. This does not mean it wasn’t better than a lot of what’s out there, because it is, but it just means that the bar was set really high and it just failed to outdo itself. One of the problems could have been the Nicolas Cage-sized hole this film had. His portrayal as “Big Daddy” really made the last film great. But again, the action was still over-the-top and fun.
KICK-ASS 2 is the type of sequel that will almost make you say “meh”, but has enough going for it to please fans of the original and the genre. I’d say that KICK-ASS 2 serves better as a companion piece to the original rather than taking it all to the next level. The cast and wide variety of characters is truly great even though no one shines quite like Cage shined in the original. The story is simple, but fun in a weird kind of “where is this all going” kind of way. And the action sequences were satisfying enough to be better than what we get in a lot of action films these days. So would I recommend seeing this one? Yes, yes I would. Especially if you are a fan of the original and like the super hero genre as much as I do. KICK-ASS 2 is definitely worth the price of admission and there is a lot of quirky fun to be had.
Final Score: 8 out of 10