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Wayhomer Review #161: Kick-Ass 2

By Widge - posted 08.17.13 @ 9:56 pm

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz while Nicolas Cage looks on, from Kick-Ass 2

It's Episode #161 for Kick-Ass 2, in which our protagonist appreciates a little double carnage, is reminded of a movie based on a Dark Horse series (but covered in razor wire) and sees this as Nicolas Cage's second best comic book performance ever.

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Special thanks to PhantomV48 for the closing animation.

Previous episode here.

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Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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A Mob Numbering 6
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    1. 

    I chuckled loudly at the evil boy scout "achieve crime" badge. That was great. I envy your ability to come up with coherent messages describing these films immediately after just seeing them. New Car?

    Comment by Troy — August 19, 2013 @ 7:38 am

    2. 

    Troy: Many thanks. And no, that's still Old Faithful there.

    Comment by Widge — August 20, 2013 @ 2:25 am

    3. 

    Is "Achieving Crime" going on the Great Band Names list? ;' )

    Comment by Joe Covenant Lamb — August 20, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

    4. 

    Ach! No more Band Names! AIIEEE!!

    Comment by Widge — August 21, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

    5. 

    You offer that one might suppose that John Hughes had been tapped to write a comedic sequel to The Professional. A rather intriguing idea, but this maybe oversells it. I rather liked some scenes, including both action and comedy scenes. I cannot recommend. In the end, I wish Kick Ass 2 had gone a bit bigger, logistically--it doesn't leave the lingering sense that it was difficult to put in the can, did this require much effort? A contributing factor, is that the direction isn't as fun, or sophisticated, this time around. Do you ever get the sense, that Tarantino is being ripped off here? Which would be sort of a complement, compared to what we have. Kick Ass Original derived some inspiration from Tarantino--there is for example, the idea of some of the movie music being imported from Sergio Leone westerns, as in Kill Bill. There is the killer underage chick in the killer uniform, again from Kill Bill. For Hit Girl's big action scene in Kick Ass 2, she's in civilian clothes, wearing what she wore to a funeral, and it's not distinctive enough to particularly remember as an outfit.

    Lines, like MF'er's scoffing at pious sentiments w/the retort (I'm paraphrasing) "Do good!?!?! Men don't want to do good; they want to boink Scarlett Johansson!'; such lines, are, I think, serviceable enough, there's comedy here, but the move seems a bit crudely executed. This is an area, in which there's I think, a little missing, which is, however, sorely missed. I wanted to be occasionally impressed by the execution. I wasn't. Jim Carrey is fine, and, indeed, lots of people are back from the original, but I didn't walk out with the sense that the movie was being taken seriously, it's just not 'big' enough. I don't want to reject the ridiculous Hit Girl goes to high school plotline out of hand, but it didn't remedy the issue that the movie seems literally cheap. I do think, that Kick Ass 2 rather fumbles the punchline in this plot thread, where Mindy/Hit girl brandishes a 'sick stick' and makes the mean girls violently throwup etc., which was kind of cool in Minority Report. Compare with the vomiting scene in Team America, much funnier. Ripping it off, even, would have probably been funnier. This particular scene pretty much got a yawn out of me, and the sparse audience, though I saw the movie on opening weekend. So the problem is not precisely, that I am offended.

    Upon reflection, I wonder if my devotion to Kick Ass is difficult to defend. Sad day, when this is the direction that a sequel pushes you into. But, the various plot threads seem too many, and it all plays rather sloppy and broad. The mean girls subplot is representative. Not engaging, just rushing through the beats. Naturally, this is true of the logic as well, as is often the case with sequels. The movie contracts a case of 'in this scene, a major character is murdered brutally! and now, in this scene, another major character is murdered brutally!' Spoilers galore, but Kick Ass's dad, given why he was arrested and how he was murdered, this does not seem like a smart place/time for superheroes to be gathering, out of costume, to attend this funeral. Naturally, the event is hit by the bad guys, who come strapped. Nobody in the movie anticipates this? Kick ass is some kind of moron. Perhaps the grief clouded his judgment. Mindy is there too? I didn't comprehend, either, how it can be that Mindy's guardian is to eager to see her retire as Hitgirl, but tolerates a supercool purple bike, in the garage. Hit girl also has a lair loaded w/weaponry. If one gets bored, which maybe I didn't, during that actual movie, but anyways in post-mortem, I wonder who is paying rent on this lair, is there, perhaps, even, more than one of them. Hit girl is somewhat loaded with money, I can accept this, and maybe she's keeping this lair and doing housekeeping maintaining the weapons, too. But Marcus is oblivious enough not to suspect this? He know where Hit-girl lived, in the original, in fact he broke in, and perused the weapons lining the wall, etc. Is this lair supposed to be the same location?--I'm not entirely clear, but that wouldn't work and neither would it work, if it's supposed to be another location. How many years has it been since these events? Three, four years? And all of these weapons are in good repair, the housekeeping is getting done.

    But what can you do. This is an adaptation. Kick Ass's dad, for example, gets killed in the comics. I realize, that when I complain that the movie could go bigger, though, this might also solve the logic problems. This funeral is supposed to be, that Kick Ass's dad's coffin had a bomb. And, Hit-Girl's mom is killed in the crossfire, when gunmen open fire upon the crowd of mourners. Rule of cool might be invoked, if this scene had been violent enough, and naturally, Hit Girl having a lair of weapons is pretty cool, but in the movie, this isn't done stylishly enough, is maybe the thing to complain about.

    I remember in the comic, the MFer blowing up every single comic shop in New York (along with Kick-Ass's apartment). The idea being, to create a distraction, while the MFer create a distraction to ensure the police will not be around to keep the Motherfucker and his group slaughter every living soul in Times Square. I note, that for the final battle in the movie, the superVillains are attacked in their lair, where they are doing--nothing. Hanging out. Making evil plans? If so, I don't remember what they were. The battle in the comic takes place in Times Square, at the MFer's invitation. The police arrive, to help the heroes. This is totally different, if you've only seen the movie. COPS AND SUPERHEROES, side-by side, heh. And, unfortunately, a dirty cop uses the opportunity to order all masked combatants arrested, allowing MFer to escape. See, there is something in the movie about arresting everybody in a mask, but this is more coherent in the comic, for being attributed to a dirty cop, and for being executed where all the superheroes have been gathered in one place.

    Also, in the comic, Hit Girl is arrested, which is pretty cool. Marcus is also arrested. And, baited into revealing that he know she was Hit Girl. She's led away in cuffs--After stopping the MFer. This is kind of maybe a story, while the movie is missing anything like these dramatic beats.

    I feel a bit silly complaining about logic issues and such, but there's a balance to maintain, I guess that one may get away with a lot, in any superhero movie, but, here, well, the cake fell, for me.

    Missing is the scene from the comics, where whoever it is, is tortured and killed, in an attempt to locate Hit Girl and Kick Ass. He doesn't know. That's from the Hit Girl comic, I think. I suppose that this might be a bit much, for an R-rated movie. But I don't say that a faithful adaptation can be done, I'm just saying that the movie that we have, didn't please many people. I don't recall, in the movie, the line 'Are you trying to blend in with us, whore?' C'mon, was that excised? Or fumbled, maybe it is there. Now, I've read a few reviews, and seen the suggestion that this could have been Hit Girl's movie. And how much better would it be, if Hit Girl had narrated. And, we had gotten lines from the comic, like 'Daddy, you taught me how blind a man with my thumbs, build a bomb with the contents of a kitchen cabinet, and skin a wolf with my bare hands. I've shot people, choked people, even drowned a motherfucker...why can't I handle these bitches?"

    Note how innocuous is the narration in the movie. Which won't shut up. I couldn't bear to censor MFer's name that time, maybe I'm getting carried away, so I'll wrap.

    Comment by Dan Langlois — August 27, 2013 @ 6:18 am

    6. 

    Dan: Thanks for a well thought out counterpoint of a review in its own right. I see where you're coming from on a lot of it and understand. I can see where you got the Tarantino flavor from, though for me QT has been about both snappy dialogue and playing around with structure...and the structure here is straightforward. Perhaps it could have done with a bit of manhandling. I guess I was just pleased to be entertained, though I would agree with you that the first film was a lot more polished. Since you have basically answered about 75% of my questions about the comics, I wonder if another thing contributing to our different take is that you've read them and I have not. So I don't have a reference point in my head for the stuff that isn't there.

    Regardless, I do appreciate the response. Good stuff, chief.

    Comment by Widge — August 27, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

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