Welcome to the newest installment in our "Summer of... Meh" series.
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writers: Jeff Wadlow (screenplay), Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. (comic book)
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
It is not as good as the sequel I had hoped for, but not nearly as bad as the one that I expected, either. There's a pretty decent amount of delicious over-the-top comedy and violence on display, but it is also missing a couple key ingredients that elevated the original (at least a bit). First, you never realize how much you like Nicholas Cage until he is not there anymore. His Big Daddy character was great and far better than the kinda-sorta replacement, Colonel Stars and Stripes, as (under)played by Jim Carrey. Second, the comedy is more scattershot and less satirical than what was featured in the first. The voice-over narration from Kick-Ass was noticeably lacking in this installment as well. Not bad, but not particularly interesting.
Score: 5 / 10
You're Next (2011)
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Stars: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen
This one's apparently been sitting on the shelf for a while waiting for a distributor - which is weird, considering the dearth of interesting horror for the past couple of years. Of course, the fact that it is as much a black comedy as it is a straight horror flick could have something to do with that. Wingard and Barrett know their slasher tropes and want to make sure you realize just how clever and subversive they're being in one scene before completely changing course and playing everything completely straight in the next. This results in the movie tripping over itself quite a bit while it tries to play hopscotch between black comedy and horror, but there were still enough laughs and extreme kills that I enjoyed myself throughout. It is nice to have certain clichés turned on their head for once, but it seems like the creators find this far cleverer than it actually is in practice.
Score: 5 / 10