(US/UK - 2013)
Matthew Vaughn's 2010 film version of the controversial Mark Millar-written/John Romita, Jr-illustrated comic book was, like its source, an acquired taste. Moments of extreme violence combined with a little girl using some of the most over-the-top gutter language imaginable outraged some, while others--myself among them--found it funny and quite inspired. Vaughn is still onboard as producer for the sequel, handing the franchise over to writer-director Jeff Wadlow, whose previous credits include the 2005 slasher film CRY WOLF and the 2008 teen martial arts actioner NEVER BACK DOWN. Lightning doesn't strike twice with KICK-ASS 2, which reunites most of the main cast but is markedly lacking in energy and seems to be struggling to find a reason to exist.
KICK-ASS 2 has a larger cast of characters but gives them less to do with weaker characterizations. Some occasional laughs, yeah...but a lot of jokes land with a thud and the greenscreen and CGI work in a climactic car chase is just embarrassingly bad, creating absolutely zero tension or excitement. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first film, I really tried to like this, but then realized I was putting more effort into trying to like this than the filmmakers put into making it.