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The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass returns, this time with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
For more about Kick-Ass 2 and the Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray release, see Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on December 10, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jim Carrey, John Leguizamo, Morris Chestnut
Narrator: Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Director: Jeff Wadlow
» See full cast & crew
Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray Review
This franchise may have kicked the bucket.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, December 10, 2013
Postmodern irony can only take you so far when confronted by a tragedy of immense, almost unimaginable, proportions. Kick-Ass 2 received some probably unwanted publicity—which ironically was all about publicity—when co- star Jim Carrey announced that in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School he could not in all good conscience promote the film due to its extreme violence. The fact that it took Carrey several months after this still shocking mass shooting to come to this conclusion may cause cynics to wonder about the real motivations spurring this action (or inaction as the case may be), but the fact is even Carrey's participation in promotional efforts for the film probably wouldn't have swayed either critical or public opinion, for the film met with even less praise than the highly mixed response the first Kick-Ass received, and box office receipts were similarly pallid (the sequel, though budgeted at around the same amount as the first film, made barely half of what the original did). The first Kick-Ass was a rather odd mash up of snarky humor and extremely graphic violence, and that seemed to catch at least some people off guard. Kick-Ass 2 tries to recreate that strange casserole, but in this case the ingredients seem warmed over, repetitive and often surprisingly uninvolving. There's a dash more teenaged angst in this picture than in the first, but that actually only provides some perhaps unintentional comedy, as both Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz) have to come to terms with both their everyday lives as well as their alter egos of Kick-Ass and Hit Girl. The fact that Kick-Ass 2 wallows in a morass of Mean Girls shenanigans may indicate how unfocused this follow-up is. When the social pecking order of high school provides more passing interest than superhero smack downs, something is seriously awry.
As Kick-Ass 2 starts, Dave has given up his crime fighting "career", but the film actually then spends most of its running time with Mindy being the one who forsakes her former life as a crime fighting superhero (and/or heroine). This is just one of many ways where the film meanders through competing and supposedly contrasting plot points without ever making much sense of any of them. In fact, the first act of Kick-Ass 2 has Dave begging Mindy for help in training, a request she actually fulfills. But Mindy is dealing with her new guardian Marcus (Morris Chestnut), a cop who does not want Mindy to take on the role of Hit Girl any longer. When he finds out about an escapade where Hit Girl saved Dave (dressed rather improbably as a white pimp) from a pummeling, he exacts a promise from the girl that she'll never do anything like that again. And once again, Mindy agrees. So much for logical character development.
Once Mindy retreats from Hit Girl status, she finds herself ensnared in a perhaps even more dangerous world—high school girls. Marcus hooks her up with the popular girls, who are intent on remaking Mindy in their own image, at least until she upstages the leader at a dance tryout (where Mindy imagines she's Hit Girl and does an amazing routine where she fantasizes taking out a horde of bad guys). That leaves Dave to fend for himself—at least for a little while. Social media hooks him up with a gaggle of other "real life" superheroes (or, more appropriately, superhero wannabes), led by a paramilitary guy named Colonel Stars and Stripes (an almost unrecognizable Jim Carrey).
Meanwhile, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is dealing with his harridan mother in the aftermath of his crime boss father's death—at least, that is, until Chris' temper tantrum burns the awful woman to a crisp in her tanning booth. That leaves the junior henchman with a large pile of cash and a nervous lackey (John Leguizamo) eager to help him do his dirty work. Chris finds his mother's S&M getup (which looks like a slightly altered version of the rubber suit from American Horror Story: The Complete First Season), dons it, and adopts a supervillain name which will not be printed here in interests of decorum (suffice it to say it can be abbreviated as MF-er). Only too aware that he lacks the physical skills to really be a threat, Chris offers large wads of cash to a coterie of other baddies, all of whom join up with him to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting public—but most especially Kick-Ass, whom Chris of course blames for his father's demise.
Okay—so we have a gaggle of good guys and a bunch of bad guys, so it's a foregone conclusion they'll meet in some sort of cataclysmic showdown, right? Well, right—but first, Kick-Ass 2 takes off on even more tangents, including two more fairly predictable deaths. And rather incredibly, one of those deaths results in Kick-Ass abandoning his costume again. Again. This film lurches back around the same two or three plot points so many times it may provoke whiplash in some viewers.
There's a very telling comment by Chloë Grace Moretz in one of the supplements on this Blu-ray. She's supposedly defending new to the franchise writer-director Jeff Wadlow (a not very accomplished filmmaker whose greatest claim to fame may be that he's Katie Couric's nephew), assuring the franchise's followers that Jeff is "such a fan- boy" and has made the film exactly like a fan-boy would. And that's more or less the problem with Kick-Ass 2. It cobbles together a couple of huge set pieces (which are admittedly well done), and then spends the rest of the time in a number of bloody vignettes that do little other than pass the time. The character "development" here is downright laughable—Dave and Mindy simply change places like vapid dance partners throughout the film. First it's Kick-Ass who's given up, then it's Hit Girl, then it's Kick-Ass again, and so on and so on in some mad version of Russian roulette where only the viewer ends up wishing he (or she) would get the business end of a bullet.
Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Kick-Ass 2 is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Studios with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1. To my eyes, this is a much more satisfying looking high definition presentation than the one afforded the original Kick-Ass. Now admittedly I never saw the original film in the theaters, but I was actually shocked at some of the color and contrast boosting in the film, which ended up creating weird anomalies on the Blu-ray, like what appeared to be the sheen of a purplish oil slick in a scene where Mindy was brushing her hair. This film has a much more natural looking palette, which is not to imply that it's pallid by any stretch of the imagination. The film is full to bursting with bright primaries and cooler pastels in virtually all of the costumes the various superheroes and supervillains wear. Wadlow and DP Tim Maurice-Jones also capture some wide vistas of Manhattan that have excellent depth of field and maintain an artifact free appearance. Fine detail is excellent in midrange and close-up shots, to the point that some may feel there's a bit too much fine detail in the blood and bruising that shows up on several characters. There is some extremely lame CGI in the lunchroom sequence where Mindy exacts her revenge on the mean girls which seriously detracts from an otherwise sharp and appealing looking presentation. This native HD shot presentation has no compression issues per se, though there are a couple of brief moments where Chris' jet black rubber costume tends to blend into darker backgrounds.
Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Kick-Ass 2's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is, not so very surprisingly, an incredibly bombastic and immersive affair that is awash in fairly ubiquitous LFE and well placed foley effects. A couple of the set pieces—notably the well done scene with Mindy atop a van trying to rescue Dave—feature expert directionality and some extremely punchy (no pun intended) sound effects—listen, for example, to how the spray of automatic gunfire pans through the sound field or how when Mindy is taking on bad guys in different locations the accompanying effects are precisely directional. There is also a fair amount of source cues utilized throughout the film which spill through the surrounds quite appealingly. Dialogue is cleanly presented, and perhaps surprisingly never gets buried even in the noisier action sequences.
Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Kick-Ass 2 is a pretty sad follow-up to what was, for better or worse, one of the more unusual and provocative superhero films of the past few years. Fans will still probably find enough to enjoy in this outing, but it's a pretty stale, warmed over rehash of what made the first film so notable, without much of anything new to recommend it aside from a couple of admittedly well staged set pieces, including the exciting van sequence that has Mindy taking on a coterie of bad guys from both the top and side of the vehicle. The technical merits of this Blu-ray are still very strong, so for those who do love the film, a purchase won't be regretted.
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Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Kick-Ass 2 - December 12, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Universal Studios Home Entertainment are offering three members the opportunity to win a copy of writer/director Jeff Wadlow's Kick-Ass 2. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse return for another action-packed, over-the-top ...
• Kick-Ass 2 Blu-ray - October 15, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has detailed the Blu-ray release of writer/director Jeff Wadlow's Kick-Ass 2. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse return for another action-packed, over-the-top round of extreme crime fighting, ...
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