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Kick-Ass 2: Ultra Violent Sequel Ultra-Violence

August 22, 2013

kick ass 2

There is a scene where a villain named Mother Russia murders 10 police officers. She uses lawn mowers, knives and her thighs in a fetishistic barrage of dirty ultra-violence. The scene isn’t done ironically or tongue in cheek. It is straight up police murder that does nothing other than prove a badass is a badass. It punches you in the face with its unpleasantness and it happens because the bad guy named Mother F***er went to a house to rape a woman.

Kick-Ass 2 is a weird hybrid of  sequelfied (new word) humor, violence and profanity. It shies away from the extreme violence of Mark Millar’s graphic novels but still is blood stained like the Evil Dead cabin. Mothers, fathers, friends and police are all electrocuted, hung, stabbed or die via lawn mower. The sly and ironic vibe of the first film is gone and replaced by all things associated with sequels (bigger, louder, bloodier). Also, 30 minutes are spent in an R-rated Mean Girls world culminating with bodily functions ejecting from both ends of a beautiful blond cheerleader. Kick-Ass 2 and it’s violence may be predictable but you could never guess how far it goes.

Kick-Ass 2 focuses on Christopher Mintz-Plasse seeking revenge on the titular hero after he killed his father with a rocket launcher (we hear about this a lot). So, he tasks John Leguizamo to put together a team of violent killers to hunt down Kick-Ass. What follows is 90 minutes of murder, mayhem and bodily functions. The bad guys are suitably menacing, the good guys are in over their heads and Hit Girl is the best part.

What made this violent romp palatable are the likable characters.  John Leguizamo’s back and forth with the rich, evil and ready to stereotype Motherf***er is enjoyable (Mother Russia? You can’t have two “mothers” in a crew!). He is like an enabling uncle who is loyal to family but knows better. It all ends badly.

Chloe Grace Moretz, and Jim Carrey are solid in their respective hero roles. Moretz has to be an insecure teenager/brutal death instrument who doesn’t hesitate to chop off the hands of lying robbers. She nails the role despite too much soul-searching dialogue and domestic drama with her guardian Morris Chestnut. Jim Carrey is a former mob enforcer who becomes a deadly instrument for good. Carrey infuses his scenes with a violent earnestness that is surprisingly believable. However, his role has been famously overshadowed by his public denouncement of the film’s violence.

While walking out of the theater my fiancée and I were talking about the original and she made an interesting observation. The violence was startling but somewhat necessary to the plot. You understood why Mark Strong put a guy in a huge microwave. Also, the scene where Strong kills a lookalike Kick-Ass is representative of a mob boss losing his cool and being himself. KA2 strays away from this formula and wantonly goes to excessive heights.  Kick-Ass 2 didn’t have the luxury of surprise so it went for the throat. Thus, the Rotten Tomato score is at 28% and the film is being inundated with its dealing with rape.

Kick-Ass 2 is bigger, louder and bloodier. Fans of the comic book and ultra-violence will be pleased. However, by building violent set pieces Kick-Ass 2 strayed away from its characters that made it popular.  Watch the Original and appreciate why it became a sleeper hit.

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