I have almost certainly seen movies worse than Kick-Ass 2 this year, but I’m not sure I’ve seen one I so intensely disliked. No, I wasn’t offended by hearing teenagers (and faux teenagers) swear nonstop. That’s a complete nonissue for me — except that as much as I’m neither offended, nor shocked, I’m equally unamused by it. For that matter, I’m not particularly offended by the movie’s violence. I am, however, troubled by the film’s base hypocrisy that its excesses are all OK because, it says, all this violence and killing is — you know — bad (all the while gearing up for more). I’m also more than a little wary of the movie’s overall mean tone. This is really a nasty little movie. And, no, not in the over-the-top silly satirical manner of Machete (2010) or Hobo with a Shotgun (2011). This is simply a deeply unpleasant work — not to mention overlong, over-stuffed and underdeveloped. Worst of all, though, Kick-Ass 2 thinks it’s clever and subversive, when in fact it’s merely tedious and obnoxious — and possibly downright toxic.
I can’t compare it to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 original because I never saw that. However, Vaughn’s other films — Layer Cake (2004), Stardust (2007), X-Men: First Class (2011) — suggest his film had to better than this … thing from writer-director Jeff Wadlow, who has never made an even passable movie (a record unblemished by this). This entry appears to pick up where the last left off. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson looking way too old for this) has given up his Kick-Ass persona. Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) has also stopped being Hit-Girl, because her guardian, Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) disapproves — he’s taken over her care after the death of her father (Nicolas Cage) in the first movie. A lot of the film’s story concerns the Dave and Mindy going on and off the idea of returning to crime fighting (they have all the timing of Rhett and Scarlett in this regard). Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), has given up his status as Red Mist and restyled his character as a super villain calling himself “The Motherfucker” (no fooling), who is out to avenge his father’s death. (Fatherhood is a dicey business in these pictures.)
Predictably, all this leads to a big showdown with Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and their minions vs. “The Motherfucker” and his henchmen. To get there, though, we have to plow through what seems like hours of Mindy trying to be a regular girl — a doomed attempt that results in her attacking the school’s mean girls with a device that induces projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea. (Yep, this is just as puerile and tasteless as it sounds.) There’s also a segment involving Kick-Ass getting involved with Colonel Stars and Stripes’ (Jim Carrey) vigilante “super-hero” organization — which at least ties in to the good-guys-vs.-bad-guys climax. But so what? It’s all incredibly predictable, flatly executed and no fun at all. Actually, if it weren’t for the film’s nasty tone, it would have no personality at all. Strictly for those who are into foul-mouthed teens, fans of pointless violence and admirers of bad CGI arterial spray. Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content and brief nudity.
Playing at Carolina Cinemas, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, United Artists Beaucatcher