Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Storm of the Century, Part 2

Come one, come all, to the biggest review of the year – my two-parter Storm of the Century one, that is! The first part taught us many enlightening facts. It taught us that singing I’m a Little Teapot is on par with The Exorcist in terms of scaring people, that the proper response to talking about abortion is to bash the other person over the head, and that crossword puzzles are Satan incarnate. What will happen this time? The suspense is just killing me.

Well, let’s not waste any time then!

We start off this side of the DVD with Andre Linoge killing some old lady by making her drown herself in the sink – well, give him points for originality. I don’t even know how that’s necessarily Linoge’s doing. Maybe she just dropped her dentures down there.

After that, we get some more fun times with – guess what:

a) The teapot song

b) Crossword puzzles

If you guessed “A,” you’re right! Your prize is more scenes of “Give me what I want and I will go away” written in blood, this time on the mirror in the bathroom:

Not getting old AT ALL yet, is it? Several times during this whole thing, we get Linoge repeating the line “Hell is repetition,” in regards to people eating other peoples’ eyes in hell, or something like that. Either way it’s a bit odd – is King just admitting that hell is watching this movie? I mean, so much of it is just repeating the same tropes and “scares” over and over again … maybe the movie became self-aware during post-production. That sounds like something King would write about actually!

Anyway, yeah, so Katrina Withers, who murdered her boyfriend in the previous segment, is hanging out watching the moms play with the kids, when they all start singing the Teapot song again. She starts crying, remembering her trauma when Linoge made her murder the boyfriend. All the kids are surprised by this, and then ask what’s wrong with Katrina Withers…and okay, I’ve got to stop the review for a second and address a bit of a pet peeve of mine with this whole thing: Stephen King’s overuse of characters saying each other’s full names when talking to one another in normal conversation.

"You will refer to me by my birth name, which is Michael Arnold Jonathan Caligula Jacob Cheese Sandwich Smith. If you try to shorten that in any way, I will destroy you."

Yes, it’s a bit of a nitpick, but this trope is so common in King’s writing for any medium that I just have to mention it. It’s just so contrived – nobody talks like that! Does every character have to say everyone else’s first AND last name when addressing them? It’s kinda quaint in a small-town Maine sort of way, but the way it’s done here is just over-done. Maybe King just realized he’d put in too many goddamn characters and this was the only way to keep them all straight in his own head … eh, well, any way that works I guess!

So back to the review then. It turns out Linoge is getting his kicks now by taunting Robbie about his mother, who died while Robbie was with a hooker somewhere – what a dirtbag. So the old grandma makes some scary faces and then shouts so loud that she actually creates a gust of wind that blows Robbie across the room. Then Linoge breaks out of prison as this happens:

Oh my God, the color blue is breaking out of the I Know Who Killed Me vault and threatening to usurp the world! AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

And what is he supposed to be here? Geriatric Gandalf? Dumbledore on a sick day?

Is that really the scariest thing they could come up with to represent Legion? An old codger in a robe? Why not go full stop and give him Alzheimer's in this state too, really add to the effect?

Well, whatever – he leaves. I guess there’s no incentive to go find him. I don’t think being a small-town cop had a section in the rulebook for what to do when your prisoner magically breaks out of jail and turns into a reject from a Terry Goodkind book. Might have to add that one in next year, guys!

Then they all go outside and have a good time watching a lighthouse fall down:

Will somebody turn the 'blue' filter off?!

While I’m sure King intended this to be really atmospheric and affecting, it kind of gets lost in the film and doesn’t come up that much before or after this scene … in fact I’m pretty sure they don’t even talk about it at the end after the storm has passed and all. The effects are, well, about what you’d expect from a 1990s TV special – I’d make fun of them, but it’d be kinda like making fun of a low-budget art student’s pet project for senior class after visiting the Louvre.


Oh, okay, just one joke: Not the director's toy lighthouse! That was a childhood relic!

And get this – guess how Mike discovers the real identity of Linoge? He plays around with some kids’ toy blocks until he comes up with…

Why don't you discover a new musical symphony via the Xylophone next? Or maybe find the cure for cancer in a pop-up picture book? The possibilities are limitless.

Yup, Legion. That’s who Andre Linoge really was this whole time – one of the most well-known demons from the Bible. While the movie thankfully never delves too deep into the whole Biblical thing, it is definitely there. Whatever floats your boat. All I’m saying is, how come he didn’t discover Linoge’s real identity through a crossword puzzle? Wouldn’t that have been more in keeping with the movie’s erudite themes?

We then see everyone fall asleep and have different dreams about the whole island being found empty and deserted once the storm clears in the future. That’s all fine and well, but there is one really silly moment: when the newscaster breaks character in this kid Davey Hopewell’s dream and looks straight into the camera and says “Davey, you’re too damn short to play basketball.”

Uh, seriously? Let me just put that into perspective for you: this is a dream in which everyone on the whole island is mysteriously disappeared. Why would being too short to play basketball factor into the equation? Moral of the story: teenagers have weird-ass dreams.

There’s also another dream in which everyone on the island is walking over a cliff and into the sea:

This part is actually kind of effective. Why did they even bother with the other scene with the too-short-to-play basketball stuff? Just stick with this, King! There’s some real effective tie-ins to the Roanoke Island mystery, as it seems like the same thing is happening again on the movie’s island. This is what King is really great at – tying his supernatural stories into real life mysteries and events. Occasionally it comes off as hokey, but a lot of the time it adds an extra dimension that really puts the viewer/reader in the story. It’s very atmospheric.

After that, we get one of the woman who was thought lost in the storm suddenly recovered. She tells them a story about how Linoge found her and then made her come back and tell everyone that if they give Linoge what he wants, he’ll go away. Shocking how new this info is, right? Then she actually does give us something new by telling everyone that Linoge wants to meet them that night. What a shock! Information that actually moves the plot forward!

But then everything is thrown back into confusion and insanity as all the kids mysteriously faint and won’t wake up. The parents are all afraid that the kids found their secret Valium stashes hidden beneath the bathroom sink, but it’s okay. Linoge shows them through the window that he has them all flying in the air with him, holding hands like a game you’d play at recess.

Just imagine it was Michael Jackson instead of Linoge there – now THAT would be scary!

Oh okay, that was kind of a low blow – but the film does have an actual child molester in it. Apparently it’s the town priest, if you can believe that … yes, King actually put in that tired cliché. Linoge reveals that secret to Mike after Mike talks to the priest about the religious implications of what’s going on. Literally – Linoge flat out tells them that the priest sexually assaults his two young nieces on a regular basis.

Uh, pardon me for asking, guys; sorry if this is insensitive, but WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING STILL CHASING THIS LINOGE GUY?! Take the child molesting fuck ass out back and make sure he never does it again! Lock him up in the jail cell! You can deal with the literal demon from Hell later; just make sure this sick fuck gets what’s coming to him!

But of course they don’t and it never comes up again. Instead we get a scene where Linoge threatens to make a woman burn her own face off if they don’t listen to what he has to say. I’ll sum it up – he demands that they all meet him in the City Hall that night. So they set about doing exactly that. They gather in city hall and Linoge shows up. Before he actually tells them what he wants though, he spends some more time going around to random town people and humiliating them. How awesome. Maybe he’ll post a series of YouTube videos doing this next.

"Subscribe to my channel. You can also see my 87 impersonations in 100 seconds video too!"

But no, he actually FINALLY tells us what it is he wants. Brace yourselves. Sit close to the screen. Do not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES miss what he says next … after all, you wouldn't want all of this time you spent watching the movie wasted now, would you? So what’s it gonna be? Does he want a lifetime subscription to their town newsletter without the annoying emails about each month’s next meeting? Does he want to know how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie roll pop? What the hell is it?

Well, listen to this: his request is one of their children. He wants to take away one of their children to become his heir after he dies in thousands of years. And if they don’t give him one, he will kill everyone on the island, children included. Jesus. Why not just hit up an adoption agency? Wouldn't that make more sense? I guess he just likes being super fuckin' dramatic and wasting a bunch of time. Hell, why not take a kid who doesn't have parents off the streets and raise him? Just goes to show you how bad orphans have it, doesn't it? Not even a demonic dying entity from Hell wants them.

He then gives the whole island thirty minutes to decide what to do. They all immediately set about establishing that they don’t have any problem giving Linoge a child if he’ll spare the rest of them. Except, that is, for Mike, who stands up and calls them all insane. His position is simple – if they give Linoge a child, how will they live with themselves from then on? Nobody really has an answer to this, except that they don’t want to die. And frankly, it IS a tough situation, and there ARE no really great answers to anything going on here. Mike gives his point and the others have their own, all rather unfounded and flawed except  for the simple fact that they don’t know what to do – because it is such a hard choice. Eventually they do have to settle on giving him a child though, simply for self-preservation.

Linoge comes and makes them all take a little rock – seven of them white and one black, and the parent with the black one is the child who Linoge will take. And if the laws of dramatic irony have ever had any presence, guess whose kid gets chosen?

That’s right. Mike, the only person in the room who didn’t like the idea, is the one who gets the short end of the stick here. Linoge turns back into geriatric Gandalf and carries young Ralphie Anderson off into the background of the ET poster.

Then we get an “epilogue” where Mike has decided to move off the island. He divorces his wife and takes his car and just drives. He eventually ends up, for some reason, becoming an FBI agent or something – isn’t that kinda random? And then he sees his grown-up son with vampire teeth – which are only shown in close-up because the movie didn’t have the kid’s parents’ permission for him to wear them himself:

I'm just amazed Andre Linoge would take the kid anywhere in the proximity of Mike. You'd think he would know better than that.

All in all I just have one question at the end of this: what the hell did they ever do about that pedophilic priest? Did they arrest him? Did they save the little girls? Come on! You can’t just tell me they let him live! Does a storm of the century with a horrific demonic entity taking children really excuse PEDOPHILIA?!

Eh, I guess it does. Innocence is dead.

So that’s Storm of the Century. All bullshit aside, I like it. It’s a good, imaginative movie with some real heart and soul to it. Unlike flops like IT or Pet Sematary, this actually takes itself seriously for the most part and delivers a good story that rises up through the rather average acting and production values. The characters, while too numerous, are occasionally very good, and the atmosphere and tension are fairly palpable.

While there’s nothing exactly arresting going on here, and the whole is perhaps too long, I kinda like the huge running time. It makes this whole thing more spacious and detailed, really giving the viewer a feel for the atmosphere it’s trying to convey, and the weight of it all is so massive that it’s really something you have to see to believe. Even for all its flaws and silly moments, Storm of the Century is impressive.

And that’s 2013 for Cinema Freaks. It’s been a fun year with some great reviews, some terrible movies and even some really good, fun movies in the mix. Check back any time for more.

Images copyright of their original owners. I own none of them.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Storm of the Century, Part 1

So, winter has finally come, there’s snow outside and the air is ass-numbingly cold. Your plans to go outside and frolic may have been quelched by the oncoming tide of snow flurries and ice-cold winds. It might be time to dig into the attic and bring out the mittens, scarves, wool blankets and kindling for the fireplace. And while you’re doing that, why not put on one of the best wintertime movies, Storm of the Century?

Creator: Stephen King
Starring: Tim Daly, Colm Feore

Yes, the Stephen King TV classic of murder, madness and I’m a Little Teapot itself. This is a huge, huge movie, with a lot to cover, so I’ll be splitting up the review into two parts. Isn’t that exciting? Aren’t you just unable to contain yourself?

Yes, my fans are all Asian now.

Well, shut up. This is Storm of the Century!

We start off this masterpiece with some narration, informing us that the great “storm of the century” did not teach the narrator the value of life, but that he only just learned it a little while ago. Well gee, isn’t that a strange way to start off a movie?

Now with real snow and ice! Take the Universal Studios ride!

It’s like “Yeah, I didn’t learn anything from the story of the movie you’re about to see. But when I woke up drunk and high off my ass in a motel with a fat hooker the other day before coming in to record the final narration, THEN I came to the realization that my life was a catastrophic ruin and I should have managed my money better!”

I mean geez, imagine if some other films started off in a similar manner. Imagine if Se7en started like that.

“I didn’t really learn anything from the events in the film you’re about to unfold. But now, years later and after many therapy sessions, I think I finally understand the point: you should never, under any circumstances, trust Kevin Spacey.”

Yeah, not quite as powerful, is it?

So what am I talking about? Well, when you’re in the movie that thinks it’s a good idea to juxtapose the brutal murder of an old lady while her attacker sits down to watch the weather channel and sing “I’m a Little Teapot”…

Note: No teapots were harmed in the making of Storm of the Century.

…and the brutal head-stuck-in-the-stairs scene of a young girl in town as her classmates mock her ruthlessly, setting her up for years and years of psychotherapeutic sessions with an overpaid, over-medicated shrink:

She went on to star in the 8-bit version of Let the Right One In.

Yeah, not quite seamless, is it? Bit of an odd pair of scenes to play after one another. I love the head-in-stairs scene just because it’s so bizarre…they spend way too much time on this. It’s not a particularly telling or atmospheric scene. Unless the point is that the little girl will now begin a downward spiral of getting her head stuck places throughout her adolescence. But mostly it’s just hilarious to picture Stephen King, the master of horror himself, putting so much effort into this.

And the other scene is just baffling, too. “I’m a Little Teapot,” really? That was the scariest thing you could come up with for the villain’s motif? Apparently, yeah, this guy’s name is Andre Linoge. He kills the nicest old lady in town for no reason and then sets up camp to watch TV. The weather channel is hilarious, warning of the coming storm in the most fanatical way possible. Check out the weather lady’s great TV journalism:

“The forecast is calling for destruction tonight, death tomorrow, and Armageddon by the weekend. This could be the end of all life as we know it.”

Yeah, THAT wouldn’t incite panic, right? Totally neutral and definitely how weather people are supposed to act! I’m sure she’ll have a great career writing tabloid junk for The National Enquirer by day and fanatical 2012 Mayan calendar bullshit by night. I guess maybe it’s just part of Linoge’s magical sorcery after breaking the TV though.

So a couple people come in and discover the horrific crime, and then find themselves accosted by Linoge, who somehow knows their darkest secrets. The town manager, Robbie Beals, comes in and finds out that Linoge knows all about that time he was with a hooker while his mother was dying in a hospice bed far away. It is actually a very creepy, effective scene, and the atmosphere is through the roof.

And this continues as Mike Anderson, the town constable, and his men arrest Linoge and take him down to the county jail, which for some reason is located in the grocery store. As the back door is jammed shut and there is no way into the jail directly, Mike and his guys are forced to take Linoge through the grocery store where most of the town is shopping before the storm. As they do, he reveals some things about other town citizens, like the young woman who went onto the mainland and got an abortion recently, or the guy who sells marijuana out of his warehouse illegally.

He also has the gall to touch Mike’s son, which turns the whole thing into a circus once Mike finds out that Linoge doesn’t have a wallet. Obviously keen on setting a good example for the cops and the rest of the townspeople, Mike goes apeshit and shoves Linoge up against the wall like a crazy person. Isn’t it a bit early to go nuts at this point, guy? I mean Christ, so many more people are going to die over the next five hours of movie screentime! Save some inhuman rage for later!

"I'll show you that I can act dramatic and bland at the same time!"

This is all fine and good, but I just want to know what would happen if he got one of these “prophecies” wrong for once. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? Just imagine his face!

So I guess they lock him up and all, and he keeps on jabbering about how if the townspeople “give him what he wants,” he’ll go away. As the storm is coming in, they don’t really have time to focus on that, and half the town is stuck in a shelter whilst the other half is watching over Linoge. But Mike does find time to go back to the murdered old woman’s place and find Linoge’s slogan written on the wall in blood:

Well, geez, there are easier ways to redecorate a house you don't like than killing its sole occupant and painting the walls in her blood...personally I like Craigslist.

The only frustrating thing about this whole thing is that Linoge won’t say what he wants. So this whole time he’s killing everyone and causing Stephen King-ified trouble all around town and asking them to “give him what he wants,” there’s no clues to what it is he actually wants! It’s sort of like having a fickle girlfriend angry at you for some reason she won’t tell you about. Well, actually that’s selling the movie short – picture that same fickle girlfriend if she didn’t even speak the same language as you. That’s what Storm of the Century’s villain’s evil plan is like.

While that’s going on, we also get numerous scenes of Mike interacting with Robbie Beals. Apparently Robbie likes to try and take things into his own hands and investigate, even though Mike sees this as his own job. They have a couple separate quarrels about this, spread out throughout the film, and really I don’t see the point … unless  Robbie really has this history of messing up police investigations, in which case I am not sure how he’d even have a high city position at all. But this is never established, and the movie mostly just wastes time with these two, which could have been cut out and made the movie that much shorter.

What is this, a remake of The Odd Couple?

And that’s another one of the problems with this. As much as I love a good, long, epic film, and as entertaining as this is, there are way too many characters. It’s like two simultaneous games of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon going on. You will never be able to keep track of all these characters. I mean, even as much as King tries to fix that problem by having them all constantly refer to one another by their full names. Nice effort, but it’s still about as confusing as your last family reunion with your super-distant cousins and their super distant cousins, and so on. I will give it that it tries to genuinely replicate the feeling of a small town though.

While the townspeople are clamoring about, Linoge is busy doing incredibly important things while locked up in jail, like helping the police with crossword puzzles:

This truly is the only way Andre Linoge could get his point across. He just got lucky and found the only town in America with a crossword puzzle superstition.

Yup, that’s the extent of his evil so far. Singing “I’m a Little Teapot” over and over and helping the police with crossword puzzles. Why do I get the idea this guy would be laughed out of the annual villains’ convention? But I guess he does eventually kill that guy by making him hang himself though.

"You've helped with your last crossword puzzle, buddy..."
Oops, wait, no, I had another one.

Good start, but how about something a little more adventurous? Like … an ax to the face, maybe?

Now introducing Axe-O-Vision.

Yeah, that’s more like it! I give that kill scene three out of four stars. But you could still do better, though … like, maybe have the couple with the aborted baby argue outside in the snow. That’s a good way to set up a kill scene. Or at least, make the viewers want to kill someone.

Back the fucking camera up. We don't need to see what it's like to French kiss this jackass.

So, I gotta admit, this scene actually isn’t that bad. For a scene where two young people are arguing about abortion, Stephen King handles it surprisingly really well in a medium where his stories usually turn to crap. The girl, Kat, apparently had the abortion because she couldn’t count on the guy to help out, seeing as he was cheating on her at the time. Neither side is really right and neither side is completely wrong either. It’s a pretty damn good, heavy drama scene.

After that, Linoge tries to make the guy kill Kat, but he can’t do it. So then Linoge does the ole switcheroo and makes Kat kill the guy instead, which she does. She then sits on the ground and intones creepily about the murder in a dead-sounding voice. Which is also done very well, and creates a lot of atmosphere:

…until she eventually just comes out and says she killed him, which kinda ruins the moment. It worked better at first because she was being so vague about it, but when she just comes out and says it, the spell is broken.

Ah well. At least we have a scene after that in which Linoge talks about how this other guy and his friends once beat up a gay guy. In retaliation, as Mike is standing in between them, the guy shoots at Linoge and instead hits Mike. How awesome. This guy should be the official marksman of the town. Why haven’t they handed him a gun award yet?

So that’s pretty much the end of Side One of my DVD – they get ready for the storm and then that’s it; cliffhanger. Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion, when we learn that really, all Andre Linoge wanted was a lifetime supply of Lean Cuisine ravioli.

Am I bullshitting you with that? Well, you’ll have to wait until next week to see!

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

REVIEW: Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Sequels are a tricky business. For example, what can you say to a film which, by all accounts many people outright loathed, which then produces a sequel only amplifying the qualities which everyone hated about the original? I liked Kick-Ass. It was an unsubtle, goofy movie, but it had real drama to it at times, some really funny moments and I enjoyed the characters. It kept things down to Earth enough that the violence was fun and the film had a lot of swagger and style – it was just an enjoyable trip. However, I could never really defend it from the people who called it a pandering, depraved violent piece of hack-work. It kind of was.

However, the sequel sucks shit through a straw and everyone involved should be ashamed.

Director: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

I mean this shit is just rock bottom. From a writing standpoint, it’s abysmal; I mean really, really goddamn bad. This is the kind of thing that a middle schooler on a sugar high would think is acceptable, the kind of thing that makes the writers of good movies pour another glass of Scotch. The kind of thing that proves that really, entertainment in America has cancer. And I hate to say it, but it looks to be a terminal case.

Sigh, so I guess I should actually talk about this movie. To sum it up: lines so lame the actors literally look embarrassed to deliver them, if not outright bored as hell, too many random plot lines shoved in with little to no coherence, death scenes that try to go for drama but then shoot themselves in the foot with goofy shit, and some truly ridiculous moments that should probably have their own Ripley’s Believe It Or Not entries.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Horrified yet?

We start off with some rushed scenes with shitty narration over top explaining that main character Dave has gotten bored since he stopped being Kick-Ass at the end of the last film. You know, the motivation of all great film characters! Right up there with ‘wanting to get a snack but being too lazy to get up’! There’s no gun being held to your head and forcing you to write this script, guys ...

Oh ... well, shut up.

Point is, next time if you don’t find yourself giving a shit about anything, don’t bother making a movie at all. I mean, the whole reason Dave even talks to Mindy again amounts to "he feels like it." It’s such a bland, vague reason to have a movie that it mostly just seems like they could have set it at any time. What’s the reason anything in this movie has to happen when it does? It could be the next day after the events of the first movie, two years like the movie says, or ten years, and either way nothing would change.

There’s no gravity to this story. The main character’s motivation is boredom, for Christ’s sake! At least in the first one, he genuinely thought he could make a difference. This time it’s just like “eh, I got nothing better to do; already jerked off, checked up on the Duck Dynasty forums and prepared a speech for my acceptance into the Douchebag Hall of Fame, might as well become a superhero again.”

The first lines of dialogue these guys utter in this movie are about fantasizing about Aunt May from the Spider-Man universe. Kinda sets the tone.

On the other side of the spectrum we get Chris D’Amico/Red Mist, who learns that Kick Ass is back and is so furious that he complains to his mother like a little kid who wants to go back to the toy store. The mother’s acting is about as horrible as can be. She has a ridiculous fake-sounding Boston accent that comes off as like the director never heard a real Boston accent in his life. I mean it makes these look like credible, native-born Bostonian citizens!

As it turns out, Red Mist doesn’t like her accent either:

Yup, he just … spontaneously kills his mother by accident. He proceeds to not mourn her at all and just immediately start going through her shit to throw everything away. Yeah, because accidentally killing your mom is totally something you can just brush off. I mean, why bother having any tension or drama to this shit, right? It’s only SOMEONE’S MOTHER DYING. Unfortunately, though, most of the deaths in this movie are like this – either they’re just flat out ridiculous, like this, or they had potential to be dramatic and wasted it.

Remember the Nicolas Cage death scene in the first movie, how dramatic it was and how everything seemed to stop in place and really focus on the death and what it meant? Yeah, there was more emotion in that five or ten minute sequence than in this whole fucking movie.

O Great Nic Cage, we miss you so. Who ever thought a movie would get less classy without Nicolas Cage?

And the acting is just awful. Christopher Mintz-Plasse delivers probably the worst performance of his life in this. It’s really, really fuckin’ bad – you have no idea until you actually see this. Remember how you liked him in the first movie and his character actually seemed relatable as the pompous rich kid who was lonely with no friends? Well, here he’s about as likable as a cancerous ball-sack on fire. If I were to compare this character now with Danny McBride in 30 Minutes or Less … I’d still say McBride is far worse, but the fact that the comparison could be made speaks volumes.

I mean, take a look at his new name "The Motherfucker." Seriously? Not to mention the costume looks like he wouldn't be out of place hanging out with The Gimp from Pulp Fiction:

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Moretz are no better, both of them constantly looking bored or embarrassed, depending on what’s going on. I really doubt either one of these two thought this script was any good. Like really, there’s one scene where Dave is talking to Mindy about their whole superhero gig and she says “it’s over,” and then Dave’s girlfriend magically hears that and automatically assumes he was cheating on her.

"I REALLY DON'T WANT TO BE IN THIS MOVIE! GIVE ME LIKE TWO SECONDS OF SCREEN TIME!" Seriously, blink and you'll miss this character ... didn't they spend the whole first movie setting her up with him? I guess that doesn't matter anymore!

Yup, no point in giving him a chance to explain, right? Even though you’ve apparently been dating for two years now? Nothing? That’s … just about the laziest excuse for writing off a character I’ve maybe ever seen.

We also get John Leguizamo, playing one of Chris’s bodyguards. This character is sort of the ‘angel on Chris’s shoulder,’ and mostly just exists to spout politically correct garbage whenever Chris is trying to make his supervillain team, constantly complaining that the names he chooses are racially insensitive. That’s … really about all he does; I’m not even kidding. And yes, the idea of John Leguizamo as some kind of conscience for anyone is hilarious to me, too.

"I'm a credible actor, really!"

And then we come to the debacle that is Hit-Girl’s storyline in this. Apparently Marcus, who now serves as a sort of surrogate father figure, wants her to quit being a superhero and just be a regular girl. She wrestles with that, feeling that she should be allowed to do whatever she wants. Marcus gives her a talking-to and tells her that she “doesn’t know what she wants” – I’m eerily reminded of exactly how the producers got Moretz to come back for this role again even though all they had was a script less dignified than the underside of a kids table at McDonalds.

So she and Dave/Kick Ass team up and make some attempt to stop drug dealers or something, with their plan being to dress Dave up like a “pimp.” Though that coat is less pimp than Cruella DeVille.

What was the idea here anyway? Dress him up like a pimp so he can … go fight a bunch of drug dealers? Why not just have him go in normal clothes, or even dressed up as Kick Ass? What difference does the disguise make at all? Either way, he still gets the shit beat out of him just like in the first one! In fact, it’s almost like the progress he made in the first one is shot to shit in this! Like many bad sequels, instead of expanding on the story and showing the progress the characters have made, this movie just says “fuck it, we’re regressing backwards and just showing you how annoying and underwhelming we can make their storylines!” Just awful.

Hit-Girl has to pull a Ferris Bueller and run home and pretend to be sick before Marcus finds out. So she does, although he finds out two seconds later that she was lying anyway. As punishment, she’s made to go to some slumber party with a bunch of living Bratz dolls:

Welcome to Mean Girls 5!

And I’m not gonna lie – these scenes are really hard to watch. Unless you really get off on a bunch of "high school girls" led by an anorexic Barbie watching a bad One Direction rip-off, this whole thing will probably make you want to turn the movie off. I’d say the actresses portraying the other girls are completely shit, but really they’re not – they had absolutely nothing to work with with the lines they were given. So it was kind of a doomed prophecy from the beginning, like a train heading for unfinished tracks, leading right off a cliff.

And it’s just so strange because it feels NOTHING like a Kick Ass movie during these scenes. I get what they were going for – a sort of coming-of-age story with Mindy – but it’s horrifically done, one of the worst attempts at that genre I’ve ever seen. Chloe Grace-Moretz just seems like she wants to run off set and leave the movie with every line she delivers. I mean, what was the hook to keep us watching? The Carrie rip-off scene where they humiliate her in the woods?

Or the payback she gives them? First she starts off very well, taking the mature route and telling them off like an adult, showing she’s a better person than them. But then she pulls out some kind of device that makes people lose control of their bowels, which she uses to make all of them vomit and shit diarrhea all over the place:

Yeah, you just saw that. Hey kids, next time a bully is mean to you, just invent an incredibly nuanced and complex device to make them shit and vomit all over the place in public. Truly that is the only solution to your problems. Movie, why haven’t you been asphyxiated with a barbed wire rope yet? Will someone hurry the fuck up and do that already?

So while that’s going on, Kick-Ass is meeting up with a bunch of other superheroes, led by Jim Carrey playing Colonel Stars and Stripes, an ex mafia man who is now a born again Christian. The funny thing is that he’s really the best thing in this movie and puts in a performance as good as the ones in the first film. Despite this, he has since denounced the film due to the violence contained in it in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. As stupid as it is to pretend a movie like Kick Ass 2 has any bearing on real life, I’m just amazed that this movie is so pathetic that its only saving grace is a man who now hates the film. How worthless can you get?

I also love the parts where he tells the characters not to take the Lord’s name in vain or curse too much. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t in the script; it was just Carrey’s knee-jerk reaction to the swearing.

So they go around and do some stuff, have a dog bite off a child sex trafficking guy’s dick (okay), and then Kick Ass has bathroom sex with another superhero named Night Bitch. The next day he tells Mindy about Night Bitch and she reacts with disgust – despite the fact that she’s never MET Night Bitch, she hates her for pretty much no reason. Awesome. And if you think it’s hard to care about a character named Night Bitch, well, it’s okay – they don’t really even try to give her a storyline or any personality anyway.

"Hi, I'm Generic Movie Girl #5467. The writers tried to lazily make me more interesting by having me be a superhero, but really I just exist to have big tits and flirt with men. Isn't that wonderful?"

That goes for the rest of these characters, too, as that’s one of the film’s biggest problems – too many characters! God, I feel like I’m at an Avengers family reunion with this shit! How are we supposed to be invested in any of them? It’s just a shame because these are legitimately good characters, potentially anyway. Maybe if the movie hadn’t spent a third of its runtime on the awful Hit-Girl storyline, we could have gotten some actual worth out of these actors and characters. But I guess that would have deprived the world of cinema of the incredibly important diarrhea and vomiting scenes:

I’m sorry, I’m still not over that!

But anyway, so yeah, one of the other big themes in this is the fact that it’s supposedly realistic. The first one was always supposed to be like that, with the concept of “what would a normal kid becoming a superhero be like?” It was done fairly well within the confines of the movie’s style. This one just blows it out of proportion and shoves the theme in your face every chance it gets, like a child molester that won’t stop flashing your kids on the way home from school. Jesus Christ this is obnoxious – every other fucking line is jabbering on about how “this is the REAL WORLD,” and things don’t happen like in comic books!

Really now? Really, this is what you’re trying to pass off as a ‘message’ in this movie? Real life, yeah, where people dressed like this can walk down the street in a populated area and not get the shit beat out of them immediately by every thug in a two-mile radius:

The realism in this is just suffocating. I mean it literally feels like this could happen today, in real life!

But hey, the movie has an explanation for that plot hole: these people are all super-powered and strong as hell. So this is a "reality" where these same people can somehow slaughter a whole bunch of cops without even getting hurt at all, much less a bullet in the head like what would happen in real life.

I wouldn't harp so much on this if the movie didn't hammer the line in your face every few scenes. I'm serious; it just gets ridiculous. Every fucking other line is about how "real" this all is! I guess the movie is just trying to convince itself.

Yeah, they’re super-realistic! So gritty and un-Hollywoodized! I especially love “Mother Russia,” who is probably the most gender-confused movie character of the year, if not the decade. I mean even transvestites would be like “man, you’re really hard to figure out!”

Truly up there with Boys Don’t Cry and The Crying Game for heart-warming stories about a minority group of people.

If you didn’t think there were enough plot lines in this mess of a movie yet, don’t worry. There’s another one right around the corner. Dave comes home and finds his dad in his room, scrounging around for drugs and instead finding the Kick Ass costume. While this had potential to be a key scene in the film, Kick Ass 2 says fuck that, and makes it a two and a half minute scene, rushed and underdeveloped, in which Dave suddenly out-of-nowhere calls his dad a loser and then leaves the house. There was really no build up to this, as Dave’s dad has been pretty much an ancillary character from the beginning, and the drama will be totally shot in the next five minutes, so … good job, guys. Good fuckin’ job.

Yeah, and after that we see that the police are arresting all costumed heroes because of what The Motherfucker and his crew of leather-clad KISS rejects did in the previous scenes. They even arrest Dave’s dad, who pretends to be Kick Ass to protect his son. How did that work again? Did nobody ever take a good look at Kick Ass? Well, I guess the resemblance is close enough:

Aside from the fact that he's clearly not physically old enough to be Dave's father, did anyone in charge of this arrest ever hear Kick-Ass's voice? Did they think Dave's dad just used a voice box machine to make his voice sound 30 years younger?

Oh, wait, no it isn’t. Did everyone just have a momentary blindness or something? How could you ever confuse the two?

Then to make things even more contrived, he gets brutally murdered in the fucking county jail – where were the guards? Did they get paid off somehow by the same masked freaks they’re supposed to be against? But hey, it’s supposed to be realistic, so it’s OK now. I love the reaction to the dad’s death where they actually half-assedly try to inject some real drama. News flash, dingbats: two-second crying scenes in the middle of a grimy hallway don’t count as real emotional drama.

Pfft, that's not grief over his dead father. That's his face upon seeing the box office numbers for Kick-Ass 2's opening weekend debut.

At his funeral, we almost get a dramatic moment, which is quickly shat on when a bunch of goons in gas masks come and wreck the party.

I love how Dave even makes the point to narrate over the top of this scene that the cops were guarding the funeral, and then we see the same cops promptly doing absolutely nothing to stop the gas-mask guys. Like literally you see them just standing there, doing nothing, in the fucking background!

How is it possible for writing to be so bad? It would be one thing if the cops were corrupt, or paid off or something. But nope, the movie never establishes that they are, so the whole thing is just insane. I mean, what is it? Do the gas mask guys just have super-stealthy inaudible footsteps? Do the cops just not see anything until it's directly in their field of vision? Is this just a common occurrence in this city? Do thugs in gas masks carrying assault rifles just come to every funeral as some kind of commemorative ritual? WHAT IS IT?!?

I guess the action scenes are good enough; I mean they’re over the top and all, but they’re not bad. They’re pretty much the same as the first movie’s. But is it really worth sitting through the horrible things about the rest of the film just to see the action? I don’t think so.

The final battle scene is pretty good, but again, is it worth the rest of the film? No … no it is not.

I'll even ignore the incredibly cliche, sexist crap where the only two chicks have to fight one another; that's how cool this whole thing is.

Well ...

Okay, okay, it's really fucking cool actually. This admittedly really awesome fight scene almost redeems the stupid shit in the rest of the movie. Some of it, anyway.

I do have to bring up one thing though; when Kick-Ass is about to drop The Motherfucker and tries to save him. Kick-Ass, attempting to persuade The Motherfucker to let him rescue him, says it's real life, it's not a comic book, there's no sequel. Really now. There's no sequel. Well, good; I must have just been imagining the whole movie up to now then! And the fact that they're already talking about making a third movie in the series!

But his point is simple: if The Motherfucker falls, he's dead for real; there's no coming back. So I won't harp too much on it, but honestly, even THAT falls flat if you happen to stay after the credits and see that The Motherfucker actually doesn't die at all ...

So really that whole monologue was kinda pointless, huh? I guess they were banking on the fact that everyone would have walked out of the theater a while ago, way before the credits even started rolling.

We then end with a totally bizarre, out of nowhere kiss scene between Hit Girl and Kick Ass that plays something like a fanfiction would do … there really isn’t a lot of build up to it, and the two have acted more like brother and sister than love interests in this whole thing. So mostly it just comes off as incredibly awkward and illogical, like the rest of this godforsaken film.

This whole thing is just a mess. Everything about it is just done so poorly, so sloppily, that it’s hard to get any sincerity out of it. The acting is half-assed, the writing is just terrible, the characters don’t make sense … it’s not a good movie. I’ll give the movie that it had some funny moments, but unlike the first one, I don’t think all of them were intentional, and for the most part they're all way more immature than the first movie's funny moments. This whole thing can be entertaining, but only in spite of itself. And only if you don’t think about anything in it. And isn't that the best endorsement for a movie you can get?

Oh well. I can at least give this movie the fact that it did pretty much accomplish what it was going for. As terrible as almost everything about this movie is, I doubt they were really trying to do much else - they pretty much accomplished every goal they had. So if that's what you're looking for in a film, you may not hate it. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, just hit them with that machine Hit Girl had.

After all, they won't be able to argue if they're too busy vomiting and shitting all over the place!

Images copyright of their original owners, I own none of them.