Piling on the gross-out humour and offensive jokes

There are a couple of things that make Kick-Ass more than just your average summer superhero franchise - for one, the characters feel more real because they are ordinary human beings who don't possess any sort of special powers.

The first film from three years ago, in fact, also gave the genre a big kick up the buttocks by parodying the celluloid masked crusaders who take themselves too seriously.

Not to mention, it had a cherubic scene-stealer in Chloë Moretz as Hit Girl, the pint-sized prepubescent heroine with an angelic smile and a potty mouth.

And then there's the ultra-violent action scenes, executed in John-Woomeets- The-Matrix gravity-defying style.

New writer-director Jeff Wadlow, taking over both duties from Matthew Vaughn who settles for a producer role, serves up a second helping of all that and a bit more in the sequel, Kick-Ass 2.

Comedian Jim Carrey has been added to the cast although he's now denounced the film for its extreme violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre. A new ensemble of even more ridiculous superheroes and villains joins in to beef up the action quota.

The plot picks up directly from the first film; Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is ready to hang up his Kick Ass spandex after inspiring other ordinary citizens to become their own vigilante law enforcers while Mindy has promised her late father she will no longer take on her Hit Girl persona and just live the life of an ordinary teenager.

But the bad guy won't give up with Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) retiring Red Mist and transforming himself into The Mother***er instead. Not only that, he assembles his own team of villains to fight Justice Forever, the good guys led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey).

With Dave and Mindy struggling to fit back into their civilian lives, it doesn't take long before both of them answer the call of duty and slip back into their costumes to join Justice Forever i n taking down The Mother***er's gang.

Kick-Ass 2 is essentially more of the same from the first film, right down to the comic-book visual style it's shot in but minus the novelty and shock value of hearing Hit Girl casually use the "C" word and spraying bullets at the baddies.

However, Moretz's character still gets the best lines in the film and even when she's not bashing some evil person's head in as Hit Girl, she's great fun to watch as the socially awkward high school student trying to fend off the other mean girls in class.

The action is a little more chaotic with more characters in this film; all that adds to the higher body count so if you thought the previous one was violent, this is brutal enough to make Quentin Tarantino blush.

If that's not enough to make some people run, the uncomfortable laughs drawn from the gross-out humour and slightly offensive jokes might - a near-rape scene, played for comic effect, has been heavily criticised and some of the super-villain names are based on racial stereotypes.

Given the no-holds-barred nature of the source material, it's not entirely fair to blame Wadlow for letting things get slightly out of hand in this sequel.

Fans of the comic book are going to lap this up no matter what and those who enjoyed the original movie will find nothing wrong with this one.

As far as superhero flicks go, the Kick-Ass franchise knows never to take itself too seriously and that's what makes the film such a guilty pleasure. After all, with no power comes no responsibility.

Rating: B

dylantan@sph.com.sg 


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