RED 2 Review
By Rich Cline
That A-list cast of "retired, extremely dangerous" spies is back, coasting through another amiable but uninspired action-comedy. It may be occasionally funny, but the script is so lazy that it never does anything with the characters or situations. So there's never even a hint of suspense.
In the years since the events of 2010's RED, Frank (Willis) has been trying to live quietly with Sarah (Parker). But trouble seeks them out when their pal Marvin (Malkovich) is the target of a car bomb, and Frank discovers that MI6 and the CIA have sent assassins to kill him: his ruthless former colleague Victoria (Mirren) and the fiendishly unstoppable Han (Lee), respectively. So Frank, Sarah and Marvin head to Paris to solve the mess, crossing paths with Frank's ex, the seductive Katya (Zeta-Jones). Sarah isn't happy about this, but tags along to London, where they locate a nutty scientist (Hopkins) who has the key to all the chaos: namely that they need to get to Moscow to stop a rogue nuke.
As in the first film, the plot bounces along merrily without bothering with either logic or subtext. This is just a silly story about goofy old killers, and the film's main joke is seeing Mirren in camouflage firing a machine-gun. At least the cast shows that they're still feisty, taking on each other with gusto as they try to steal every scene. Malkovich's surreal humour, Mirren's snappy punchlines, Zeta-Jones' purring sexuality and Hopkins' scatter-brained genius are pretty funny, while Willis and Parker get the most thankless roles as a couple still working out their relationship.
But the real problem is that since these are now franchise characters, we know that nothing truly nasty can happen to them. They seem impervious to bullets and immune to crashes that would cripple mere mortals. It's so cartoonish that we're apparently supposed to accept all of the shootings and stabbings as just part of a day's work. But even with ambushes, shocking revelations and elaborate car chases, our pulses never speed up at all. It's amusing enough that it's not a complete waste of time, but only just.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 19th July 2013
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films
Production compaines: DC Comics, Summit Entertainment, Di Bonaventura Pictures, DC Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 58 Rotten: 79
Cast & Crew
Starring: Bruce Willis as Frank Moses, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Katja, Anthony Hopkins as Bailey, Helen Mirren as Victoria, John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs, Mary-Louise Parker as Sarah Ross, David Thewlis as The Frog, Neal McDonough as Jack Horton, Lee Byung-hun as Han Cho Bai, Neve Gachev as Londoner, Lee Asquith-Coe as Security Detail Soldier, George Georgiou as Revolutionary Guard, Paul Hopkins as Funeral Director, Garrick Hagon as Davis, Brian Cox as Ivan, Tim Pigott-Smith as Director Philips, Philip Arditti as Arman