It seems like forever since we saw a then-11-year-old Hit-Girl shoot, stab and dismember 42 grown adults in the first Kick-Ass movie, but thankfully the most bad-ass kid you'll ever meet is back, along with the slightly insipid teenage vigilante, Kick-Ass.

When we last left our favourite pre-pubescent killing machine, she had just lost her father and mentor, Big Daddy. Now, we find a 15-year-old Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) - or Mindy as her new guardian police officer Marcus (Morris Chestnut) likes to call her - trying to live life as a normal teenager.

Marcus is trying his best to keep Mindy from her old life, so to keep the peace she has been going out as Hit-Girl in secret. And when Dave aka Kick Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) asks her to team up and train him she is only too happy to oblige. However, their partnership doesn't last long before Mindy is caught sneaking out as Hit-Girl and is forced to retire.

Left with no other choice, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, a group of wannabe superheroes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (an unrecognisable Jim Carrey).

Also returning to the mix is Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Previously known as Red Mist, he has decided to reinvent himself as a villain known as The Mother F*****.

After watching Kick Ass-2 it is easy to see why Jim Carrey felt the need to distance himself from the violence in the film - this is 103 minutes of the kind of brutal bloodshed that Quentin Tarantino would be proud to put his name to. Nevertheless, with its 16 certificate, the majority of those who go and see this film will be old enough to know the difference between fictional and real-world violence and will most likely thoroughly enjoy the sight of Moretz killing a man with his own finger.

In fact, Moretz's Hit-Girl is hands down the standout character in Kick-Ass 2 and is actually the only superhero in this movie who actually kicks any real ass. Taylor-Johnson does little to breathe life into the pretty uninteresting lead character and his superhero comrades are pretty forgettable, probably due to the fact that we learn nothing about their characters bar a few one-line sob stories.

Last time 'round, director Matthew Vaughn managed to create a perfectly paced, unique comedy, but this time it feels that letting a relatively unknown director, Jeff Waldow, take the reins was something of a mistake.

There are just too many sub-plots in this relatively short film, which makes it feel more than a little cramped. For example, lumped into the middle of Kick-Ass 2 is Mindy's Mean Girls-style high school jaunt which culminates in a pretty disgusting and largely unfunny gag involving too many bodily fluids.

Perhaps Kick-Ass 2's biggest problem is that it was never going to be able to compete with its predecessor. Gone is the shock value of seeing an innocent-looking pre-teen swear like a sailor, and gone is the feeling that you are watching something completely different than anything you have seen before. That said, Kick Ass-2 has some wonderfully witty comedy and some of the best fight sequences you will see all year.

Ruth Aravena

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