Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/08/2013

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Despite strong performances and the occasional decent action sequence, this is a disappointing and largely pointless sequel that fails to capture the tone of the original and ends up feeling unpleasant on a number of different levels.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Jeff Wadlow, Kick-Ass 2 is the sequel to the 2010 superhero hit that was based on the comic by Mark Millar; the sequel, in turn, is partly based on both Millar's Kick-Ass 2 comic book and the Hit Girl mini-series. Three years on, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has hung up his Kick-Ass costume in order to concentrate on high school, but he's persuaded to come out of retirement and join Justice Forever, a team of costumed vigilantes he inspired, lead by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).

Meanwhile, purple-wigged superhero Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), now 15, is adjusting to life without her father and still kicking ass with aplomb, but she has her hands full when she comes up against a group of high school Mean Girls. At the same time, Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is plotting violent revenge against Kick-Ass for killing his father, so he refashions himself as The Motherfucker and recruits a new team of supervillains.

The Good
As with the first film, the performances are excellent, particularly the central trio of Taylor-Johnson (once again nailing the American accent, though looking a lot less like a teenager), Moretz (whose language is as fruity as ever) and Mintz-Plasse, who gets a lot more to do this time round and nabs most of the available laughs. In addition, Jim Carrey (who has since withdrawn his support from the film due to the excessive violence) makes a welcome addition as Colonel Stars and Stripes and there are colourful supporting turns from the likes of Clark Duke (as Dave's best friend Marty), Lindy Booth as Justice Forever member Night Bitch and Olga Kurkulina as supervillain Mother Russia.

The Bad
The main problem is that there are three key figures missing from the first film - director Matthew Vaughn (who takes a producing role here), screenwriter Jane Goldman and Nicolas Cage - and their absences are keenly felt throughout. As a result, the film all too often feels like a cheap rehash of the first movie (entire sequences are reprised), but it lacks the wit and invention of Kick-Ass and fails to add anything new or interesting.

On top of that, although Wadlow does pull off a couple of decent action set-pieces (notably a fight on a moving vehicle) he frequently misjudges the tone of both the violence and the comedy (one rape joke in particular) and the film ends up feeling surprisingly unpleasant as a result.

Worth seeing?
Kick-Ass 2 is watchable enough, but the disappointing script and misjudged tone mean that it's occasionally actively unpleasant and ultimately nowhere near as much fun as it should have been. If you do see it though, make sure you stick around for the post-credits sting.

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Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall (R16)
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Content updated: 27/01/2020 23:05

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