Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kick Ass 2 (2013)



Title: Kick Ass 2 (2013)

Director: Jeff Wadlow

Cast: Aaron Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, Donald Faison, Clark Duke,  Morris Chestnut

The thing I enjoyed about Kick Ass (2010) is that it presented us with characters who don’t have super powers, they aren’t mutants, they aren’t aliens from another planet. These masked vigilantes are essentially pissed off citizen’s that dress up in costumes to do what the police doesn’t do, they take preventive action towards crime, they don’t sit around eating donuts in a coffee shop waiting for their walky talkies to tell them some disaster has just gone down, they don’t arrive at a scene to pick up the pieces, or fill out paper work, nope these vigilantes are patrolling the streets trying to nip crime in the butt, before the bad guys do their thing! They are colorful versions of Charles Bronson in Death Wish (1974) only difference is that Bronson simply walked around in a trench coat, while the heroes in Kick Ass dress up in silly costumes and hide their faces behind masks. Oh, and Bronson never walked around with a Samurai sword in his trench coat!


The premise for this sequel is that Kick Ass has kind of forgotten how to be a super hero, so he wants Hit Girl to train him, to help him get back into the ass kicking business, after all, Kick Ass is credited in the media with having started the whole masked vigilante movement, he can’t just walk out of this thing he started. Hit Girl helps him and she’s thankfully still very much in the ass kicking business, the only problem is that her new step dad wants her to lead a normal life. So in order to please him (and her dads dying wishes) she attempts to leave her vigilante days behind and takes a stab at being a regular teenage girl, which means joining the cheerleading team, going out on dates, attending sleep over’s and dressing more girly. But is that what she’s really all about? Is Mindy Macready Hit Girl or not? Meanwhile, the former hero known as “Red Mist” decides he wants to get revenge for his father’s death, so he has only one thing in his mind: killing Kick Ass. In order to do so, he leaves his hero name behind and now calls himself ‘The Motherfucker’ and calls upon anyone who is willing to join his vengeful crusade. Will Kick Ass be ready to go up against ‘The Motherfucker’ and his gang?


Some controversy was stirred concerning Jim Carrey and his character ‘Coronel Stars and Stripes’. You see, at one point Jim Carrey was all gung-ho and happy to be in Kick Ass 2. But then, the tragic events that happened in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton Connecticut made him change his mind. In case you’ve forgotten, the Sandy Hook Massacre was all about this 20 year old man who one day killed his own mother, then, went to Sandy Hook Elementary School, shot twenty kids and six staff members, then to put the icing on the cake, shot himself. According to Carrey, after these events took place he had a change of heart and suddenly didn’t want to promote Kick Ass 2 because of its levels of violence? Truth be told, Kick Ass 2 is not more violent than the first Kick Ass film, in fact I found that the levels of graphic violence were considerably brought down for this sequel. Yeah there’s blood and decapitations…but it’s still less graphic then anything that happened in the first film.

"Yeah! There's a dog on your balls!"

But that’s not even the point; the point is that Kick Ass 2 isn’t going to augment the levels of violence in the world. Jim Carrey not promoting the film isn’t going to stop more mass murders. True, the events that occurred in Sandy Hook were tragic, but they are not related to movies, they are related to way bigger problems in society, in reality, films though violent and profane always try to bring out the best in all of us. Even a violent film like Kick Ass has in the end a positive message to it. I just hate it when people blame movies for the crazy things that happen in the real world? Chole Moretz put it nicely in an interview when she said that if we we’re all that gullible we’d all dress up like princesses after seeing a Disney movie. It’s not like I would pick up a chainsaw and chop off my own hand after seeing Evil Dead II (1987) you know what I mean? And I don’t want to say that the cinematic medium isn’t a powerful one, because it is. Movies are powerful medium, quite possibly the fastest way to transmit ideas and concepts to the masses, still, this doesn’t mean we can’t see a violent movie and see what it’s trying to convey without getting violent. I mean, I can see a graphic and violent film like A Clockwork Orange (1971) and understand it’s really a film about learning to give something back to society as opposed to abusing our power. We all know movies are fake, most of us know how to differentiate between fiction and reality, we know how to grasp a concept that a film is trying to convey even though it’s a violent film. If you don’t then my friends it’s something to work on okay! So don’t give me that bull. My big question for Carrey is, dude, didn’t you read the script? Now on the other hand if Carrey’s comments were just a publicity prank to grab some headlines and give the movie some media coverage, that I understand; that I can get!

Chloe Grace Moretz, goofing around behind the scenes

So; on to the movie itself. How was it? Well, I’d say that though it isn’t the same director (Matthew Vaughn stepped out for whatever the reason) the film managed to retain the same feel of the original. We still got the goofy situations with the vigilantes trying to be all that they can be even though they are all just regular people. Loved all the inside jokes at superheroes and comic books; comic book fans will giggle on a constant basis. I will make an observation though; the film is named Kick Ass, not Hit Girl, so why does the film feel that it’s more about Hit Girl then Kick Ass himself? As it is, Hit-Girl has the more interesting story arc here, Kick Ass, as a character, is always playing catch up. I get it, Hit Girl was such a hit with the fan boys across the world that they gave her more screen time. If they ever make a third one, and I hope they do, well, I hope they focus a bit more on Kick Ass himself and his journey towards becoming a hero, because as it is, on this sequel Kick Ass feels like the sidekick, which has always been the case from the very first film. The assortment of villains was pretty nifty. ‘The Motherfucker’ gathers a group of villains to achieve his goals, and so we end up with this crazy group of villains. My favorite was this crazy Russian lady called ‘Mother Russia’, wow, crazy character! She’s the one responsible for most of the graphic violence in the film.


By far the best thing about the movie is how the vigilantes all decide to form a group called ‘Justice Forever’ which feels like the low budget version of ‘The Avengers’ or ‘The Justice League’. I loved those scenes where they get together to patrol the streets and kick ass together. There’s this really cool scene where they fight some villains, and everyone does their part to kick some ass. I love the mantra they shout before going out into the streets. The comic book related jokes fly when these guys get together, funny stuff. So, in the end I think this movie is getting a bad rap unnecessarily, everything is so freaking ‘politically correct’ that if a film has even an inkling of graphic violence or profanity (which Kick Ass 2 has a lot of) the media boycotts it and the masses tune out. I guess it’s all part of the dumbing down of the masses, can’t have them getting violent or emotional, we can’t have the masses, god forbid, exposed to the idea of taking matters into their own hands and trying to make a difference on their own like the vigilantes on this film now do we? But whatever my peoples, I’m always for the waking up of the consciousness, the not playing it so freaking safe, the idea of living your life more or less on the edge, without so much predictability. I’m always pro-action, pro go out there and do stuff. Not necessarily putting on a mask and kicking ass out on the streets, but maybe fighting our own personal motherfuckers and taking control of our destinies, becoming who we really are or should be; as this film, even through its violence, implies. Let’s read between the lines people!  


Rating: 4 out of 5 


8 comments:

Kev D. said...

I'm thinking it's about time for me to finally see these movies.

Francisco Gonzalez said...

A comic book fan should really enjoy them, they are tailor made for the comic book freakazoid! Since I am one of these "freaks" I guess that's why I had a blast with them.

I want to get down to seeing James Gunn's Super, it seems to be in the same vain as these...but I've read they are slightly darker. Defendor, starring Woody Harrelson is also along the same lines...

Francisco Gonzalez said...

Holy crapenstein, I just realized this was my 600th review! To all my readers, thanks for your continued support!

Neil Fulwood said...

I had a lot of fun with the original and enjoyed its cynicism. The sequel is getting very mixed reviews, but I'm looking forward to seeing it this weekend.

Congratulations on 600 reviews (and counting), btw.

Dan O. said...

Good review Francisco. I had some fun with this movie, however, the tone was way off and it took me out of some of the scenes that should have worked, but didn't.

Francisco Gonzalez said...

Neil: Yeah, screw the mixed reviews man, Kick Ass 2 aint gonna change your world, but it sure was fun. Thanks for the congrats Neil!

Dan O: A shift in tone? I didn't quite get that from it, out of curiosity, which scenes are you referring to Dan O? Thanks for commenting!

the sayer of the truth said...

Francisco, the overt sexualizing of the 14 year-old Chloe Grace Moretz in the "Kick-Ass" movies is done specifically and only to drive all the heterosexual geezers in the audience wild with lust and desire, but then Hollywood has the nerve to call those geezers 'perverts' for being turned-on by an under-age girl ! ! !, the ludicrous hypocrisy of Hollywood never ceases to amaze me.

Francisco Gonzalez said...

I might be wrong, but I never got the idea that she is sexualized in the film...she does kick huge amounts of ass..but sexualization of her? Never noticed it, or got that vibe. But yeah, Hollywood can be a huge hypocrite.

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