KICK *** 2
Review by Jeff Ames
“Kick *** 2” is painstakingly bad. A try-too-hard effort from “Never Back Down” director Jeff Wadlow that scurries along with all the grace of a drunken antelope, sans the comedy.
Granted, the original “Kick ***” wasn’t what you’d call a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination. Moments of brilliance, particularly every scene involving the inspired Hit Girl character, played with spunk by Chloe Grace Moretz, were offset by lowbrow sexual humor that felt like leftover material from a Seth Rogen comedy. At least director Matthew Vaughn knew how to mesh bizarro-hijinks — Nicholas Cage’s Big Daddy, for instance — with heavy-handed drama while maintaining a reasonably light tone.
Wadlow can’t decided if he’s making a raunchy teen comedy, or a comic book satire; and has less to say about the civic duties of a hero than the sexual exploits of the film’s primary villain, the M*****F***** (played by the irritating Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who continues to believe all sentences must contain the F-word, or some variation of it).
It’s been several years since the events of the first movie. Kick *** (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, already looking ready to move onto better material) and Hit Girl have opted for normalcy, though a yearning for the good old days of vigilante crime fighting keeps them from fully embracing their quiet surroundings.
When an old threat comes calling in the form of Chris D’Amico, who seeks vengeance for the death of his father, Kick *** and Hit Girl must don their masks once more and unite with a team of superheroes, including Colonel Stars and Stripes (a game, but sorely underused Jim Carrey) and Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison), to bring about a swifter brand of justice.
The concept is unique, based on the disturbing Mark Millar comic book, but Wadlow can’t strike a proper tone. A good example of his poor decision-making arrives early on when Hit Girl, aka Mindy Macready, attempts to fit in with a group of normal high school girls. Except, these girls aren’t normal, but ugly caricatures of the American teenager. They cuss, dress, and dance inappropriately; have way-too-candid conversations about ***; and bully poor Mindy to such extremes I half expected Carrie to reveal herself and vanquish the lot via telekinesis.
Hit Girl opts to stun the main bully with a vomit stick, forcing her to spew and **** all over the gym floor. That’s just the kind of brazen comedy I love to see. Girls spewing and shitting all over themselves.
The rest of the film doesn’t even meet those standards, though it comes close in establishing some rhythm once Kick *** meets up with his newfound vigilante buddies. These guys mean business and get their kicks by wrestling down mob bosses while dressed in homemade costumes. Had the film focused more on their exploits it might’ve made for a better show.