Chloe Grace Moretz
reviewed by Tom-Tom
I’m happy to say that Kickass 2 learns from its rather immature predecessor and gives most of its characters an extra dimension. Mindy Macready (Moretz) and Dave Lizewski (Taylor-Johnson) have grown up and are much more interesting characters for it. After Big Daddy’s death, Mindy is being raised by the man who swore to take care of her, Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut). He is one of the best father figures ever filmed exuding strength, love, but also loving, no-nonsense discipline. It’s fun to see a swear jar in the household after the endless Hit-Girl potty mouth rants. He’s probably one of the only decently realized characters in the movie. Mindy faces the challenges of high school and being a girl, which is nice to see. Dave, on the other hand, is trying to improve his hero skills and at first is trained by Hit Girl herself before finding a band of amateur superheroes who were inspired by the mark Kickass made on the vigilante world.
The first Kickass film polarized quite a few viewers for a few important reasons. An 11 year-old girl was wearing all purple, including purple hair was spouting the nastiest dialogue one could imagine. Like Jay from the Jay and Silent Bob films nasty. Her superhero character’s name was Hit-Girl and she mercilessly killed loads of people she and her father, Big Daddy deemed to be bad. Not arrested, not beat up, but killed horribly. The bad guys did their own nasty killing with walk-in microwaves, shots to the head, and fire. It was an odd combination of breezy superhero like bravado with rankling violent sequences complete with spurting blood, and breaking bones. This was such a shock after the rather cute and realistic set up by Taylor-Johnson’s character Dave Lizewski’s boy to hero rise and hit and miss attempts to combat crime. I didn’t much mind Moretz’s dialogue although it sounded too knowing and unnatural for any 11 year-old to be saying. What bothered me was the violence, which was pornographic and excessive. Why did the drug dealers, where Hit-Girl goes on her first mission and incidentally meets Kickass (Dave’s silly titualar superhero name), deserve to die? Kickass and Hit-Girl were trespassing on private property. Frank D’Amico’s (Mark Strong) callous murder of children wearing the Kickass costume is somehow supposed to be funny. It was pretty sickening. The only scenes I liked were between Taylor-Johnson and his friends, and with Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Red Mist character. They felt real and geeky and fun.
One of Dave’s friends Marty (Clark Duke) joins the group led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey in an unrecognizable role), a former mob enforcer born again and sensitive to swearing. The members in the group all have good reasons to attempt to put an end to crime in their own way except Marty who calls himself Battle Guy. It is touching the care given to their stories. The filmmakers sure learned their lessons after the first film.
Meanwhile Chris D’Amico (Mintz-Plasse) has given up his superhero guise for a new one, a supervillain with a name so pathetic and cheap, I’m not even going to mention it. Aided by family enforcer Javier (John Leguizamo, who plays straight man and sensible enabler to D’Amico’s awkward meandering). His rise to power is mostly a cute affair using Twitter to gain evil followers.
Suddenly the kid gloves come off and the over-the-top violence is let out of the bag with Hobo with a Shotgun level gruesome kills courtesy of Mother Russia, a giant, buxom, one-eyed Colossus whose long arm and leg guards make her walk like an action figure from the 80’s, with very little knee or elbow bending. This all leads up to a battle between costumed heroes and villains almost redolent of Scott Pilgrim but lacking the direction or excitement. Hit-Girl vs. Mother Russia is definitely worth a watch. Kickass 2’s decision to cut out most of the violence and language that earned it so much cash in the first film perhaps wasn’t a wise one financially but story wise, maybe even morality wise, it was a respectable decision at least for me.