Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Kick-Ass 2

Copyright: Universal Pictures
In the first few minutes, Kick-Ass 2 looks exactly like the first movie in the franchise. We see the same characters doing the two same things - being normal teenagers and fighting crime. Also, they are having the same moral dilemmas about the nature of masked vigilantes, apparently totally unresolved by the events of the first movie.

It seems almost as if Jeff Wadlow didn’t know what he was he supposed to do for the first third of the film, so he kind of did what the other guy did before him. Then, when the story starts to splinter, Kick-Ass 2 kind of finds its own (crooked) sea legs.
On one side, Dave Lizewski, who is also the costumed hero Kick-Ass, wants to continue fighting the evil on the streets and wants to have Hit-Girl by his side. The problem is that Hit-Girl, or Mindy Macready in her everyday life, resists this notion because of their commitment to her new guardian.

Instead of continuing to live a vigilante lifestyle, Mindy decides to become a regular high school girl. Dave, having no other options, must find new crime-fighting friends, while his archenemy Chris D'Amico, formerly known as Red Mist, does the same thing with criminals and psychopaths.

In short, there is a lot of copying going on in this movie. The villains copy the good guys, Wadlow copies Matthew Vaughn, the director of Kick-Ass. In some segments, the plot is surreal and tries to parody some aspects of modern society, especially the way people today use (and overuse) social networks. Unfortunately, majority of these jokes are forcefully delivered and lacks any insight whatsoever. It's almost like the writers heard that Twitter is popular among the youngster, so they had to poke fun at it.

Cartoonishly extravagant violence always blends well with poor writing and Kick-Ass 2 is no exception. There is a lot of blood-letting in every action scene.  Swords, nunchucks and machetes don’t stop flying all over the place. This makes Kick-Ass 2 dynamic, but even violence seems somehow constrained and never reaches the level of ultraviolence which can greatly improve films that know how to deal with it, for example Kill Bill or Dredd.

Jeff Wadlow made Never Back Down in 2008. I didn’t like this film, but it was at least a clearly labeled product designed for a teenager audience. Here, Wadlow tried to pull of a completely different project with a similar amount of effort, and it didn’t succeed. With a great cast (Chloë Grace Moretz and Jim Carry stand out the most), it couldn’t fail completely, but in the end all those actors just held the movie’s head above the water.