Kick-Ass 2
dir-scr Jeff Wadlow
prd Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, Brad Pitt, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn
with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Morris Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Clark Duke, Augustus Prew, Lindy Booth, Iain Glen, Olga Kurkulina, Donald Faison, Steven Mackintosh, Daniel Kaluuya, Benedict Wong, Andy Nyman
release UK 14.Aug.13, US 16.Aug.13
13/UK Universal 1h43
Kick-Ass 2
Back in training: Moretz and Taylor-Johnson

mintz-plassesw" carrey chestnut
Kick-Ass (2010)
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Kick-Ass 2 New writer-director Wadlow gives this sequel a drastic tone-shift: it's funny, tense and entertaining, but never anarchic. Aside from the lack of novelty, this sequel gives in to politically correctness in a way the 2010 original never did. It also indulgently glamourises the violence. Which makes it feel much less consequential.

After putting away his Kick-Ass costume, Dave (Taylor-Johnson) is finishing high school like a regular teen. But he misses his alter-ego, so when he realises that Mindy (Moretz) is carrying on the Hit Girl training her father began, they team up. Her guardian (Chestnut) grounds her when he finds out. So Dave instead joins a group of underground superheroes led by the gung-ho Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey). Meanwhile, Dave's old nemesis Chris (Mintz-Plasse) is still bearing a grudge, becoming a supervillain called The Motherf**ker with his own team of minions.

With a blinding pace, the film is structured to build up to a big showdown between the crimefighters and the bad guys. Dave and Chris take the fairly straightforward route, while Mindy has a goofy sideroad, joining the school mean girls in an attempt to have a normal life. But there isn't much subtext: this is a simple revenge thriller packed with clever gags. Fortunately, the script is witty enough to keep us laughing.

The cast members dive in with gusto. Taylor-Johnson and especially Moretz hold the film together with characters we can identify with, while Mintz-Plasse camps it up as the idiotic baddie. Carrey delivers a startlingly against-type turn as a born-again military meathead. Chestnut and Leguizamo (as Chris' guardian) ground their scenes with wry humour. The array of heroes and villains are amusing. And Glen delivers the most razor-sharp performance in a single scene.

All of this is wacky entertainment even if nothing is particularly original. Wadlow feels schizophrenic when dealing with violence, cutting away from some of it then playing seriously brutal grisliness for laughs. And the cartoonish action scenes are underwhelming. On the other hand, some harsh plot turns give us strong jolts along the way, including some pointed comments about bullying and homophobia. But compared to Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman's groundbreaking work on the first film, this feels like just another sassy American franchise.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 12.Aug.13

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