Rating: R (strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity)
Length: 113 minutes
Release date: Aug. 16, 2013
Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
The original “Kick-Ass” was the first creator-owned comic-book-series movie to achieve immense popularity back in 2010. The film took a different route to the typical superhero movie. The superheroes are ordinary people in homemade costumes with no super powers and varying degrees of combat training. The movie wasn’t without controversy; a young girl raised by a father who shoots her while she wears a bulletproof vest in order to prepare her for the real world is a risky concept. The sequel proves to be even more controversial, bringing back much of the action, sassy dialogue, and revenge seeking started in the first film. Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns as Kick-Ass and Chloë Grace Moretz is back as Hit-Girl while Christopher Mintz-Plasse-Red Mist in the original “Kick-Ass” movie-is back as a super villain known as The Mother F**ker. Lyndsy Fonseca, the girl friend turned girlfriend of Kick-Ass from the first film, also reprises her role as Katie. The sequel brings in smartly cast new faces, including Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, Donald Faison as Doctor Gravity, and John Leguizamo as Javier.
What made the first “Kick-Ass” so much fun was seeing the inept Dave Lizewski transform into Kick-Ass, a vigilante with no fancy gadgets or combat training. His only power was permanent nerve damage that happened when he got his own ass kicked, which left him with a significantly decreased ability to feel pain. In “Kick-Ass 2,” a legion of ordinary people in costumes inspired by Kick-Ass are now out fighting crime, giving viewers an entire gang of superheroes with good intentions and extremely limited skills to back up their masked identities. The gang includes Night Bitch (Lindy Booth)-a woman wanting to avenge her sister’s murder-and Insect Man (Robert Emms)-a former police officer ready to take the law into his own hands. Perhaps the most amusing addition to the team is Marty Eisenberg, Dave’s nerdy friend from the first film, who has followed in Dave’s footsteps and become Battle Guy. Clark Duke reprises his role, bringing dry wit and false bravado that is fun to watch. Leading the band of masked misfits is Colonel Stars and Stripes, a reformed mob thug.
The movie will begin with Dave and Mindy living normal lives in which their greatest obstacle is surviving high school. When they discover their antics inspired the Colonel to form the Justice Forever band of superheroes, they decide to join the team. Mindy dons her Hit-Girl costume but gets caught sneaking out and is unable to fight alongside Kick-Ass.
Unfortunately, Mindy’s forced retirement won’t keep her safe from Red Mist; he is seeking revenge for his father’s murder. He ditches his Red Mist persona and becomes a bigger villain, The Mother F**ker. The superhero team must take down team Mother F**ker, including the top guy’s bodyguard Javier, his bodyguard’s sidekick Enzo, and Mother Russia; she is probably the most terrifying of the bunch. Only in “Kick-Ass 2” do bodyguards get sidekicks. There are also villains named The Tumor and Black Death. As The Mother F**ker’s minions begin to take out her superhero friends, Hit-Girl finds a way to return and rescues the superheroes.
The movie is based on the comic books, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall and Hit-Girl. Like the first film, which was based on the Kick-Ass comic book, the movie plot remains true to its comic origin but eliminates some of the gratuitous violence put in merely for shock value. The original storyline of the comic books remains but by stripping down some of the extras in favor of plots, both movies are better than the comics. Fans of the first movie will still be satisfied with the violence in “Kick-Ass 2” though; nearly every character gets killed or severely beaten. This continues the tradition of the first film where audiences witnessed Hit-Girl’s father, creepily named Big Daddy, murdered in front of her and watched Kick-Ass being tortured, both events occurring live online. More death and mayhem ensue in the sequel, but the basic concept of ordinary people stepping up as superheroes is actually better portrayed in this second film. Still, there should be a don’t-try-this-at-home warning flashing across the screen during the entire film-just in case anyone gets any dumb ideas.
“Kiss-Ass” ends with the young Mindy getting a fresh start, being able to dress like a little girl, and going to high school. Thankfully, it will be a welcome relief for adult fans to see her return to her ass-kicking superhero ways in “Kick-Ass 2.” (watch trailer here!)