Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

kick-ass-2-justice-foreverRoze-Rating: 4 / 5

Three years on following the success of Kick-Ass, we are reunited with superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). Growing bored of living in the real world Dave Lizewski decides to suit up again and train with Hit-Girl hoping to become a legitimate superhero. Still mourning over the death of his gangster father, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) obsesses over the fantasy of killing Kick-Ass. After accidentally killing his mother D’Amico reinvents himself as the “Mother-Fucker” swearing to avenge his fathers death.

The first Kick-Ass was a huge success because it was such a new concept to the superhero genre. It’s a parody to how the like’s of Batman, Hawkeye and Black Widow would fair in the real world if they suddenly decided to get up and become a superhero. It was fresh, funny and stylish. The action was bad-ass and the violence shocking which made it a comic-book movie classic.

When I heard there was going to be a Kick-Ass two I was quite excited but was pretty sure it couldn’t improve on the first because all that freshness and shock value would be gone. That may have been the case but it indeed improved in some ways, compared to the first film.

I didn’t really enjoy the first half of the film as it seemed really out of place, it turned into this mean girls slash watchmen hybrid as we saw Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl go through their own journey’s; Hit-Girl to puberty and Kick-Ass to adulthood. It was entertaining but felt off as jokes were limited and not well executed. I felt comedic timing and editing probably had something to do with that as I was aware of the jokes but they didn’t come out as well as they could. For example a scene where The Motherfucker robs a store and an old man is told to get on the ground, he struggles as his arthritis kicks in forcing him to go down very slowly. I only noticed it second time round as the camera was panned back. Luckily the second half of the film did not disappoint as it was a lot funnier and provided loads of action.

The bar was set pretty high for action sequences after the first film which is why I was happy to see that the crunching punches and hits remained present. Overall the sequences were well choreographed and thought out as we were given some slick moves and executions to feast our eyes on. It was good that they really strived for original action sequences as it only pumps us up even more, although it was missing the stylish edge that made the first film ultimately pretty to look at. Little things that the camera did in first that it didn’t do in the second.

New additions to the cast meant new superheros and super villains, some of them were awesome and some felt like they shouldn’t be there. Jim Carrey plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, ex mafia con man who starts a superhero team in the name of Justice Forever. He may not be as funny as we hoped him to be but he sure plays the part well. As for the rest of the team we have Night Bitch (Lindy Booth), Battle Guy (Clarke Duke), Doctor Gravity (Donald Faison), Insect Man (Robert Emms) and two parents who are looking for their missing child. They make for entertaining additions to the cast except I didn’t see the need for the parents, they didn’t really offer anything comedically and seemed to get in the way. Overall the group of super villains were much more badass, but again they weren’t all utilized making some of them seem out of place.

Kick-Ass 2 may take awhile to get going but the last acts are worth waiting for as they are adrenaline filled scenes of epicness. Not as coherent as the first as it knew what it wanted to be, a violent parody to the superhero genre. Kick-Ass 2 takes on a more serious tone which continues on from the D’Amico vs Kick-Ass saga. Definitely worth the watch.

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Hit & Run (2012)

90243_galRoze-Rating: 3 / 5

Dax Shepard tries his hand at directing his first mainstream film, Hit & Run. The film follows a young couple who are based in the middle of nowhere not exactly by choice. Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is in the witness protection program having been caught up in a past crime. During the one year the couple have been together, Annie (Kristen Bell) is largely unaware of Charlie’s past and even his real name. His past gradually starts to unravel as the couple get involved with an adrenaline pumping road trip with the sole purpose of trying to get Annie to her dream job interview.

Before I even sat down to watch this film, I was really rooting for it to be a big hit. Not because Kristen Bell is in it looking super fine, but because it’s a Dax Shepard project. He wrote it and co-directed it, and it really puts things into perspective about how far he’s come since those days he worked at Punk’d. For those reasons I just wanted to like it a lot, but there honestly is too many problems with this film to truly consider it a good film.

The cast is undoubtedly awesome with appearances from Kristen Bell, Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper and Beau Bridges. The entire cast play their characters the best they can but they are largely let down by the writing. The characters weren’t written well enough to fully meet the potential they had. Each character has their own little charm which made them unique and potentially memorable, but the lack of thorough writing to fully explore them and crucially their dialogue effectively made them seem bland. Which is such a shame because I started to like the characters, I just didn’t feel they were real enough.

What really let the film down was the storyline, some parts kinda annoyed me. There was a bit too much wrong with it for me to take it seriously, even for a comedy. The reason for this is because the premise is quite promising and with such a premise, you could do so much with it to make it funny and realistic at the same time. I think there was a lack of seriousness within the characters, where they were being chased and potentially killed, it ruined it for me because I thought it was pretty stupid how they would still be fixated on getting to the job interview.

What I did love was the film making, for his debut in directing a blockbuster film, there was a lot of substance behind filming the chase scenes. In reality they were quite boring scenes but the way he utilised the camera positions and angles really made it exciting to watch. It’s a good film to watch if you don’t want anything too serious.