It's very rare indeed for a matinee idol to trash his or her own picture prior to its release, no matter how horrible the film is. Instead, they tend to just bite the bullet and participate in the press junket praising it to high heaven. For that reason, audiences should have considered themselves warned when Jim Carrey decided to distance himself from Kick-Ass 2, going so far as to apologize to his fans for the splatterflick's shocking "level of violence."
But upping the ante on gratuitous gore is just one of a host of this sorry vigilante sequel's fatal flaws. Another is that the rubber-faced comedian was not only crippled by a script with no funny lines for him but also required to keep his most valuable asset covered with a mask for most of the movie.
Replacement director Jeff Wadlow takes the hit here for miscasting Carrey in a dramatic role. What's wrong with playing to a thespian's strengths, especially when you have at your disposal one of the funniest comics to ever grace the silver screen?
If you remember Kick-Ass 1, what really made the movie magical was Hit-Girl (Chole Moretz) and Big Daddy's (Nicolas Cage) bizarre but tender father-daughter relationship. Unfortunately, Big Daddy bit the dust in the original, and the title role of Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has been expanded this go-round, mostly at the expense of Hit-Girl's screen time.
In fact, as the film unfolds, we learn that Hit-Girl has hung up her mask and stretchy pants to focus on her freshman year at Millard Fillmore high school as alter ego Mindy McCready. Senior David Lizewski, however, still moonlights as Kick-Ass and soon joins Justice Forever, a ragtag team of self-proclaimed superheroes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey).
Their nemesis is The Mother [expletive] (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the richest kid in all of New York. This spoiled orphan has inherited the bucks to assemble the most diabolical band of villains money can buy.
The ensuing epic battle between good and evil for the fate of the city eventually forces Hit-Girl out of retirement, and just in the nick of time to turn the tide. Too bad the picture's pathetic attempts at humor fall flat, its special f/x are cheesy, its characters never generate any chemistry, its preposterous plot fails to engage, and it features a morally-reprehensible "level of violence," most of it involving teenagers.
Oh, but the ending does set up the franchise's next installment, for folks who get their kicks vicariously, via the observation of explicit vivisection. A relentlessly-gruesome bloodfest of no redeeming value that at least Jim Carrey had the decency to 'fess up about.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for sexuality, graphic violence, crude humor, pervasive profanity, and brief nudity
In English, Mandarin and Russian with subtitles
Running Time: 103 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures