RED2: Movie Review
Cast: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Neal McDonough
Director: Dean Parisot
RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous) was a sleeper hit back in 2010.
Its infusion and mix of an older group of action heroes and the fact Helen Mirren got to shoot a very big gun (thus shattering a lot of stereotypes) meant that it was an unexpected worldwide box office hit.
So, perhaps a sequel was inevitable.
This time around, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (a broodier Bruce Willis) is back and forced into action once again. Which he's not happy about because he's enjoying the quieter life with beau Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) - even though she craves the more active life and has a taste for danger since the first outing.
When former colleague Marvin (Malkovich) is apparently assassinated, (minor spoiler - he wasn't) the group is sent on a global jaunt to try and track down a missing portable nuclear device...and that sends them right to Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) a scientist from Frank's path - and also into the sights of Frank's former flame Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
With RED2, it's a case, really, of repeating the successes of before - and adding in a few more ingredients of the older generation to get a wider audience. But with a few caveats.
Unfortunately, some of the thrill of the first film was seeing Helen Mirren in action - she's largely sidelined in this piece and separated from the group, which is a real shame. Though, Mary-Louise Parker's character has come more alive in this and her need to fulfill a vicarious streak to her nature leads to some more comedic moments than perhaps you would initially have been expecting. The cattiness between Sarah and Katja is entertaining for a while but its lightweight nature threatens to topple RED 2 despite some average action sequences.
With a plot that closely follows that other uber-work of Bruce Willis, A Good Day to Die Hard, it's almost as if Bruce is suffering from deja vu here. And deja vu is present in many ways, with Neal McDonough taking on Karl Urban's role from the first, as the hard-as-nails pursuer - but there's way too much comedy in this piece to make it feel like the right mix. The problem is the characters do nothing new - with perhaps, the exception of Mary-Louise Parker who gets to be part of the spy world and get the action she so craves.
Distinctly average but fairly disposable entertainment, RED 2 is another outing for the Grey Team - and perhaps some will enjoy that. Others though will feel that they maybe need to actually stick to the concept of being Retired (but with a third installment planned, that could be a long shot).