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Movie review: ‘Kick-Ass 2’

Posted 5:06pm on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

R (strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, brief nudity); 95 min.

Kick-Ass 2 comes three years after the modest ($48 million) success of Kick-Ass. Covering much of the same ground, with a lot of the cute worn off or aged out of it — Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) is no longer a pre-teen, and Kick-Ass himself (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) strains to look like a high school senior — the sequel is notable for some amusing bits, a few cool scenes, and its wince-worthy violence and staggering body count.

Dave, aka Kick-Ass, suffers terrible beatings and Hit-Girl delivers worse ones. And the mobster’s son once known as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) rounds up a posse, becomes a super villain, and kills or maims scores of cops and civilians.

Hit-Girl is hitting puberty and having second thoughts about this night vigilante thing.

Dave, meanwhile, finds himself throwing in with others who have taken to wearing costumes and prowling the night streets, looking for injustice. Jim Carrey is a bit out there as Colonel Stars and Stripes, a born-again mob enforcer. Donald Faison makes a dopey Dr. Gravity, and Lindy Booth is the tart who calls herself Night [rhymes with witch], who becomes Dave’s paramour.

What’s missing from this comic-book adaptation is Big Daddy, the father played by Nicolas Cage, who gave the first film that last dollop of heart, who taught Hit-Girl her moves and who lifted Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass right to the edge of zany.

And Vaughn himself, whose way with action ( Layer Cake) and fantasy ( Stardust) added up to the right touch in the first film, is also missed. Writer-director Jeff Wadlow’s sequel lumbers from cool action sequences and funny segments into dead ends.

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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