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With Jim Sabatini


Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass 2
Starring:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Morris Chestnut


Rated: R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 13, 2013 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

A game cast and crew can't lift a sequel to the raucous, rude heights of its origin-story just following in its hard-hitting, if revolting action-minded excess.
 
It took a little longer for Kick-Ass 2 to arrive into the multiplexes and just doesn't subvert the superhero genre with the same engaging insouciant, prurient flair. Not just because of not having actors like Nicolas Cage and Mark Strong (now on AMC's Low Winter Sun) around anymore.
 
That's not to say an avid support group for characters as played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (still best known for Superbad) won't be into the dastardly events in the orbit of their Dave, Mindy, and Chris and their alter-ego characters, respectively, for this go-round, some three years later. Mindy's (Hit-Girl) is now being watched over by her late daddy's friend (Morris Chestnut) who wants her to enjoy a more normal teenage experience, even with the typical 'mean girls' like one as played by Claudia Lee.
 
Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down) has a visceral sense for the simmering, explosive conflict that finally can make villains or anyone for that matter do messy things to themselves, but isn't able to distill the idea of struggling disaffected youth in real-life igniting vigilante for societal betterment in a viral age.
 
DIY justice is formed by Dave, adding a Col. Stars & Stripes (Jim Carrey, professing his views against the violent attitudes represented on-screen) who's a reformed mobster, as well as other heroic camaraderie from best bud (Clark Duke of Sex Drive) and a ballet teacher - 'Night Bitch' (Lindy Booth). From the loss of his parents, inadvertently doing away maternal support, is Mintz-Plasse's 'Red Mist' reborn in full bad-ass mode partially outfitted from some old bondage gear and is gleefully scene-stealing sadistic.
 
Taylor-Johnson (of last year's sprawling Savages) is affable in a bumbling Everyman sort-of-way but seems to have grown out of the role like a still feisty, foul-mouthed Moretz (Hugo) and has excelled in more modest thoughtful features like Nowhere Boy. Wadlow can't create enough of a stand-alone issue with a viable earth-bound comic-book antecedent to provide a new audaciously fresh direction. Too much here isn't tucked as smoothly or slickly for the requisite body blows and bloodshed as the wait is too long for the main characters to get together amid all of the family, friends, masked heroes and villains. Simply put, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl are deserving of better material (or maybe Hit Girl maturing to the status of a darker young Wonder Woman with her older male counterpart about to graduate as the sidekick) even with the empathy for selflessness and spunk expected of them.
 
Ultimately, even if Kick-Ass 2 leaves a bad aura or odor it doesn't go down without a diverting fight as Wadlow demonstrates in long-shots or close-ups of fierce determination. But, it's strangled in the structure perhaps more than the too familiar disjointed, if visually wild execution which may stretch the bounds of taste again as the alarming spectacle of innocence doesn't have the same impact and odd poignancy even with Olga Kurikina's 'Mother Russia' in strikingly buff  truly malevolent form.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Kick-Ass 2        C                     C 

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