KICKASS 2. Starring Aaron Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Chris Platz, Jim Carrey, Morris Chestnut. Directed by Jeff Medlow. 109 minutes. Rated MA 15+ (Strong violence, coarse language and sexual references).
There is no doubt that Kickass 2 lives up to its title. This reviewier was not a fan of the original Kickass, a blend of realistic violence with comic book violence, Nicholas Cage as a comic strip avenger, Mark Strong as a comic strip villain, Chloe grace Moritz as a little girl action heroine, Hit-Girl, with a violent streak and a bad mouth.
Obviously, the film was popular, and did well in the box office, a sign that the film should become the beginning of a franchise. And now the sequel. This reviewer is not a fan of the sequel either.
With Nicholas Cage and Mark Strong gone from the film, though we see their photos in their children’s homes, the film relies on Aaron Johnson Taylor as David, the bespectacled and mild-mannered young student who transforms himself into the heroic figure, Kickass, going out on the streets to defend the defenceless. However, Mindy (Chloe Grace Moretz) now aged 15, is confined to the care of her father’s friend, Markus (Morris Chestnut), who insists she stay in school and not participate in any action. This gives her the opportunity to have some scenes straight out of a Mean Girls kind of film where she excels at her dance routine, imagining herself as Hit-Girl battling with her opponents, but then exercising a mean vengeance on the snobby girls with their loss of control of bodily functions.
Mark Strong’s son, Christopher Mintz Plasse, inherits all his father’s ill-gotten money, decides that he will be a villain incarnate, with a generally unprintable title, and decides to go after David to avenge his father. He gathers round him a truly oddball group, especially a gigantic wrestler woman called Mother Russia.
In the meantime, a born-again Christian, anti-swearing and anti-profanity captain gathers together the avengers. They go into action but soon he is disposed of. Waiting for Jim Carrey to appear, it dawns on us that he has already appeared as the captain but was, more or less, unrecognisable as the Jim Carrey of the past. In comments after the making of the film, Carrey has made some statements highly critical of the violence. He is not wrong.
The film veers into different moods every couple of minutes. At one stage it is realistic. At another, soon after, it is highly stylized. It goes into high school movie mode. It goes into domestic drama. It goes into fighting fantasy. But all the time it returns to confrontation and comic-book violence and killings while several times mentioning that this is not a comic-book but is real life. Well, not exactly.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out 22 August 2013.