(NEW YORK) -- “Act like a b***h, get slapped like a b***h.” – Hit Girl
Why start my review with that particular quote? Why not? In fact, throughout Kick-Ass 2, the sequel to the 2010 action-comedy, I was constantly under the impression that what I was seeing on screen was the result of somebody looking at the script and asking that same question of writer-director Jeff Wadlow -- “Can we do that?” -- and Wadlow answering, “Why not?”
Having put his super-hero alter-ego Kick-Ass behind him, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is bored with his life as a high school senior, hanging with his two best friends and dealing with the monotony that comes with being a normal teen who used to dress up like a super-hero and fight bad guys. He is, however, proud of the movement that his super shenanigans have inspired, as other average citizens have picked up the mantle and started fighting crime dressed as super-heroes.
The truth, however, is that Dave wants to kick ass once again, but he knows he’ll need help, so he recruits Chlöe Grace Moretz’s Mindy Macready, aka Hit Girl, as his trainer. At 15, Hit Girl is far tougher, seemingly stronger and definitely more adept at defending herself than Dave is, and he knows it. But Dave's soon left to fend for himself when Mindy's legal guardian forces her to give up her life as a masked crime fighter.
Dave searches for other like-minded pretend super-heroes and before long, hooks up with a former mob enforcer who calls himself Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by Jim Carrey, who makes quite the impression, considering his limited role. You may also recall he publicly announced that he wouldn’t be promoting Kick-Ass 2 due to its violent content, an epiphany he had following last December's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Improving on his performance in the first movie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse is back as Chris D’Amico, but instead of becoming his super-hero alter-ego Red Mist, this time he's out to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Kick-Ass by becoming the super-villain The Motherf**ker. He recruits an army of bad guys, all of whom have their own super-villain names, and the game is on.
Just as she did in Kick-Ass, Chlöe Grace Moretz again steals the show, most notably when she sheds Hit Girl for a bit in an attempt to fit in with the "it" crowd at school. It's inspired work and if you weren’t already convinced that this girl is one of Hollywood’s most promising young stars, you won’t need much convincing after seeing her here.
Kick-Ass 2 lacks the originality and heart of Kick-Ass, but in many ways it's the more entertaining film. The satire is clever, though at times a little too cute. Likewise, the over-the-top violence is funny but on occasion just a little too over-the-top, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Then again, I believe that's exactly what fans are expecting.
Four out of five stars.
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