Rumors of a kick-ass Kick-Ass sequel have been floating around since the original's 2010 debut, but until Universal's confirmation last May, nothing seemed substantial. In fact, weeks before the announcement villain Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist) told Hollywood.com that even he wasn't sure if it was happening. "You know, we don't know," he said. "Chloë [Grace Moretz] just booked Carrie... it's just really hard right now with everyone's schedule. So it's up in the air."
Even after Universal's announcement, some (like Hollywood.com's own Matt Patches) had doubts about the sequel, due to the middling success of the first film, and the subsequent breakout success of its stars. Then things remained quiet on the Kick-Ass 2 front all summer, until this week — when news blew up like that guy in the giant microwave. Moretz, Mintz-Plasse, and titular star Aaron Johnson are all returning (with rumors of Nicolas Cage making a cameo), and several other notable stars have joined the mix. Below, find the fix biggest reasons why this was a kick-ass week:
1. Donald Faison, Robert Emms, and Morris Chestnut are our new heroes.
Last Wednesday, it was announced that Donald Faison — best known as Turk from Scrubs, (or Murray from Clueless if you're a '90s fan) — had joined the cast as Dr. Gravity, that dude in the puffy purple coat. In the comics, Gravity is a copy-writer who teams up with Kick-Ass and Hit Girl to take on Red Mist (who apparently changes his name to Motherf***er). Gravity comes equipped with a "Gravity Pole" (a baseball bat covered in toil foil) that he says helps him float off the ground. Of course this isn't true, so it looks like Hit Girl may have to pass on some of her extensive martial arts training. Faison is a bone fide hilarious goofball, so adding him to the mix should bring some great comedy.
Then we have Robert Emms (War Horse) and Morris Chestnut (American Horror Story), who have signed on as Insect Man and Hit Girl's guardian, respectively. Insect Man is a policeman-by-day who joins Dr. Gravity in the newly-formed "Justice Forever" group, designed to destroy Red Mist/Motherf***er. Less is known about Chestnut's character, but if the story stays true to the comics then he'll be taking on the role of Sergeant Marcus Williams, who was played by Omari Hardwick in the first movie.
2. John Leguizamo is Red Mist's new bodyguard.
Since Kick-Ass and Hit Girl basically slaughtered Red Mist's entire family, as well has his mobster father's vast criminal empire, he'll be in dire need of some assistance. Thankfully, as announced late last month, he'll have some help in the form of a new bodyguard, Javier. All Super Mario Brothers aside, John Leguizamo can do no wrong, so we're particularly excited about this bit of casting. But there's more — Universal has announced that Red Mist will assemble a new team of villains as he transforms into Motherf***er, so we'll be on the lookout for even more casting news in the near future.
3. We have a release date!
On Wednesday, Universal announced that June 28, 2013, will be the big day. Mark your calendars!
4. Christopher Mintz-Plasse teased a script-pic.
On Tuesday, the Tweet-happy actor shared a photo from his Instagram account of scribe Jeff Wadlow's latest draft. It doesn't give away anything, but it looks pretty damn cool.
5. Wow, look at Chloë Moretz!
Okay, so this isn't exactly news, but the first film's murderous tiny tot has morphed into a beautiful young woman before our very eyes. She's currently up in Toronto shooting Carrie (playing the titular role), and it will be interesting to see how Kick-Ass 2 tackles the challenge of Hit Girl not being much of a girl anymore. She killed 41 people in Kick-Ass, and the spectacle of an adorable child brutally taking down mobsters was one of the film's major selling points. Is the world ready for Hit Woman? Stay tuned!
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Marvel/Instagram/Wenn.com]
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Someone’s been killing off the criminals of New York City--the ones that the law can’t seem to put away via proper channels--and it’s up to veteran detectives Turk (De Niro) and Rooster (Pacino) to crack the case and bring the killer to justice by means fair or foul. As whodunits go this isn’t a terribly compelling or suspenseful one. There are red herrings and dropped clues galore but the script (by Russell Gewirtz of Inside Man fame) is both choppy and loopy--and not in good ways. The story is needlessly convoluted and despite a few tough-guy quotes from De Niro and Pacino this is a forgettable police potboiler. De Niro. Pacino. What more could anyone ask for? A decent script perhaps? There’s a palpable pleasure in seeing these two titans share the same frame but that sensation is quickly dissipated as the clunky storyline lurches toward its inevitable finale. Pacino appears to be having more fun than De Niro who’s almost sheepish in his role as a troubled New York detective. The supporting cast--and it’s a good one--fares little better although there’s more chemistry between John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg as sort of a younger version of the De Niro/Pacino duo. Carla Gugino smokin’ hot as always bats her eyelashes and struts her stuff as a police pathologist with a kinky streak. Brian Dennehy clocks in as the obligatory hard-boiled police lieutenant while Curtis Jackson (better known as 50 Cent) sleepwalks through the stock role of a club owner of dubious disposition. It just goes to show that a great cast can’t do it alone. Jon Avnet who guided Pacino through his paces in the equally clumsy 88 Minutes (for the same producers no less) is simply not up to the task of overcoming the script’s vast and many shortcomings. Even for the most devout devotees of the two superstars Righteous Kill is merely a matter of killing time … and not in a particularly righteous way.
Cameron (Summer Glau) looks pretty good after her season-finale explosion, with just a cut on her face. She picks herself back up and drags her way to rescue Sarah (Lena Headey) and John (Thomas Dekker) from some gun-toting intruders. The intruders pick up the hard drive our heroes worked so hard to steal last year, and of course the scuffle leads to the whole house burning down. That’s just collateral damage in the Terminator world.
Uh-oh, it looks like Cameron’s reprogrammed herself to terminate John. That’s not good. Luckily that house fire blows her away, so Sarah and John can escape. Meanwhile, Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) lets Agent Ellison (Richard T. Jones) go after he’d terminated the whole SWAT team at the motel pool. That’s odd. Cromartie leaves the body of George Laslo, the identity he stole, to take the fall for the motel shootout.
On the run, Sarah gets distracted and crashes the car, leaving the duo to limp away from an also limping Cameron. Charley Dixon (Dean Winters), Sarah’s former paramedic beau, leaves the scene of the motel and follows a call to the Connor house fire. He finds the two burned bodies of the intruders, and an incognito Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green), who fills him--and us--in on the exposition of the Turk chess computer from last season. It’s the program that provides the initial basis of Skynet’s artificial intelligence. Got that?
Now we meet Catherine Weaver (Garbage singer Shirley Manson), who’s making a deal to buy the Turk. That’ll pay off later. Elsewhere, Cameron cleans up with baby wipes and staples her face back together. (Gotta love Terminator first aid!) She finds Charley and Derek following leads on Sarah and John, so they are in double pursuit. Her limping stagger kind of looks like Arnold going in slow motion in the movies. It’s intense.
Sarah and John find a church in which they can nurse their wounds and hide out. John realizes how powerful the now-evil Cameron is, with all her knowledge of the Connors. Out of anger, John jams a knife into the table; anyone who obsessed over T2 should appreciate that. They come up with a nifty plan to shock Cameron when she comes looking for them. They try to carve out her CPU chip (remember the director’s cut of T2!) but run out of time, so she wakes up even more pissed. John and Sarah try to flee by stolen van, but Cameron overturns their vehicle!
The chase continues like an epic Terminator chase. All attempts to stop Cameron fail, so the heroes flee, despite increasing injuries. There are even more loving homages to lines from the films for fans. Sarah ultimately helps incapacitate Cameron, giving John the chance to shut down Cameron. Cameron protests, even begs and pleads with human-like fear, insisting she’s fixed herself and she’s good again. As a last resort, she professes love! John pauses, but pulls the chip.
John still has some questions about Cameron, feeling that she must be different if his future self sent her back. He almost incinerates her but reinserts her chip to find out for sure if her new emotions were real or fake. He gives her a gun to test her. Her POV does show an order to terminate, but she overrides it and wins back John’s trust. The stakes of this drama are amazingly high. I mean, if you’re believing in a world of Terminators, the idea of the most important human putting his life in an assassin robot’s hands is staggering. And clearly, this is a defining moment for John. He is not the same after it.
Sarah and Cameron talk religion, and Cameron tells her never to let John bring her back if she goes bad again. Sarah offers the best apology she’s able to as John reveals he’s cut his hair, just in case you didn’t get that this is a new John.
Throughout this, Ellison gets a few scenes. He answers all his superior’s debriefing questions with “I don’t know.” He confronts Cromartie again, insisting he’ll never help him find the Connors, but Cromartie seems to have a plan.
With her Turk, Weaver announces a new division for her company. An employee complains about her new decision in the men’s room, and she rises out of the urinal as a liquid metal T-1000 to kill him.
This could really be the best episode in what is already my favorite series on TV. The pilot was amazing for showing Terminator action, redefining the timeline legitimately, and just bringing back Sarah. Dungeons and Dragons was awesome for future war stuff, but man, this Cameron chase, character decisions and introducing the ultimate movie villain step it up to the next level. So yeah, there’s a T-1000 running a computer company. Cameron could flip her good/evil switch at any time. John’s dissing his mom (who, don’t forget, is the title of the show), and Ellison is about to become a free agent. Wow!
Boy does Ayer have it in for crooked cops. He’s on a one-man crusade to rid Los Angeles of anyone on the job who happens to be on the take. Heck he’s even willing to ferret out aspiring police officers whom he believes would only bring shame to the L.A.P.D. as shown by his directorial debut Harsh Times. Indeed Keanu Reeves’ maverick cop Tom Ludlow is much like Harsh Times’ whacked-out Jim Davis--had he been accepted into the L.A.P.D. and later made detective. Ludlow’s not corrupt but he’s happy to shoot first and then plant evidence to make things look like they were done by the book. And he does it with the blessing of his boss Capt. Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker). Wander’s got Ludlow’s back because he’s got dirt on anyone who’s anyone. But now Ludlow’s ex-partner Terrence Washington (Terry Crew) is babbling to Internal Affairs’ Capt. James Biggs (Hugh Laurie) about all the bad stuff he did with Ludlow. By sheer coincidence Washington’s executed by masked gunmen right before Ludlow’s eyes. Evidence suggests that Washington was selling drugs and that he paid the price for double-crossing some dealers. Ludlow buys into this--at least until he and Det. Paul Diskant (Chris Evans) realize nothing is what it seems. Oh really? Sorry but even after Speed and The Matrix series it’s hard to accept the slacker formerly known as Ted “Theodore” Logan as a badass. As Ludlow Reeves doesn’t come close to capturing Dirty Harry’s spare-no-mercy swagger or conveying Frank Serpico’s unwavering belief in bringing down dirty cops. So Ludlow’s nothing more than your typical booze-filled race-baiting cop who has no qualms about breaking the law to enforce the law. Twenty years ago Reeves would had played young turk Diskant. Now it’s the turn of a student of Reeves’ “Whoa!” School of Acting. To be fair Evans shows some emotional range. The one-two punch of Sunshine and Street Kings indicates Evans is making headway in improving as an actor. He also brings more attitude to the illicit goings-on than Reeves does. Whitaker however may have mistaken Street Kings for a sequel to The Last King of Scotland. He storms through crime scenes gesturing wildly and barking orders with all the imperial pomposity of Idi Amin. At least he’s having fun. Same goes for Laurie whose testy “rat squad” bigwig is merely Dr. Gregory House with a gun and badge. John Corbett and Jay Mohr inexplicably try to pass themselves off as hard-as-nails cops right out of The Shield but fail hilariously. Street Kings--a term describing the cops who consider L.A. their personal fiefdom--is a great disappointment after Harsh Times. Ayer showed great ambition with that grim character study even if it felt at times like a civilian version of Training Day. With Street Kings Ayer and crime novelist James Ellroy--who previously collaborated together on Dark Blue’s script--seem content to rest on their laurels. Ludlow’s investigation takes him where you expect it to take him ensuring the big reveal at the end hardly comes as a shock. The characters never surprise you. If you suspect someone’s corrupt he’s indeed corrupt. And the dialogue? It’s an ear-grating mix of police jargon street drug slang and tough-guy BS. That said Ayer keeps things rolling at a brake-neck pace as he turns L.A. into his own personal war zone. The bullets fly fast and the bodies drop even quicker. He so draws you into this fascinating world that you can’t help root for Ludlow--a man of very little moral fiber--to dispense with all the human garbage who stand between him and the truth. Street Kings affirms that Ayer has his finger on the pulse of L.A.’s mean streets. He knows how the minds of the city’s cops clean and dirty and the gangbangers work. But after Dark Blue Training Day Harsh Times and Street Kings what is there left for Ayer to say about a good cop gone bad?