After such a failure with A Good Day to Die Hard it’s really great to see Bruce Willis return to form with this action/comedy sequel. I’ve read a lot of reviews about this film calling it the most unanticipated sequel that no one asked for, something along those lines. What I think these people are missing is that it’s not so much that the film Red itself that has garnered a sequel, but more so the characters that brought the magic of the first. That is what I feel paved the way for a second film. If it weren’t for the actors and the hilariously well written characters I don’t think the first movie would have worked as well as it did. The characters worked and so wanting to know what has happened to them after the events of the first film came about naturally. I really enjoyed the first so a sequel was welcomed.
This is sort of a more comical version of The Expendables and exceptionally better written. It’s old farts that should have retired long ago still beating up youngsters that for some reason keep trying to kill them. I can confidently say as well that the old people in Red 2 are much smoother than the gun toting cavemen of The Expendables. Ridiculously, unrealistically smoother but hey, it makes for some awesome footage on screen. With a sequel always comes two words, bigger and more; bigger explosions, more wacky characters, bigger sets, more world locations and so on. Unfortunately with all these things studios feel are most important for a sequel they almost always seem to forget the story. Red 2 doesn’t completely fall into this category but it doesn’t entirely escape it either. What I mean is the story is strong enough but has been done before. A weapon of mass destruction is missing and bad guys are after it and so the Retired Extremely Dangerous, aka old farts, must stop them. Aside from the retired generation aspect it’s a rehashed premise.
After the events of the first film, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is happily retired with his girl, who he met in the first adventure and goes by the name Sarah (Mary- Louise Parker). Frank may be happy but he is also oblivious as Sarah seems bored and uninterested in the normal life. She got a taste for the spy life and anything short of that is just dull. Almost from the moment Marvin (John Malkovich) reenters their lives everything explodes into pandemonium. Frank, seeing no other choice, goes back to the life he once swore off when he discovers that a certain operation that took place during The Cold War has resurfaced and which has put contracts on anyone involved; this includes Frank and Marvin, and since Sarah has entered the picture she is in danger too. This once classified mission involved a weapon much like a nuclear bomb but with zero fallout and is undetectable when it comes to search dogs and metal detectors. It is virtually invisible unless seen with the naked eye. If the wrong people get ahold of it not only will they use it but the blame will rest solely on the shoulders of the R.E.D. Frank and the crazy-as-ever Marvin, along with Victoria (Helen Mirren) can’t let this happen all the while fending off contract killers. They may be retired but they are dangerous as ever!
What worked with the first is brought back bigger and funnier than ever. It does a good job of balancing the action and the comedy not allowing for each aspect to ruin the other. The story also allows for everyone to have their time in the forefront or limelight if you will. Everyone has their “I’m a badass” moment and it’s a lot of fun to watch. For Bruce Willis this is all familiar territory but for those not usually in action films they do a great job making it believable enough at least so that it’s not distracting. Like I said before, the word here is more; this time around we add some new faces to the RED world such as Anthony Hopkins as the crazed “Dr. Bailey”, Catherine Zeta-Jones as the very sexy “Katja” and Byung- hun Lee as “Han Cho Bai”, the deadliest assassin in the world.
It has its weaknesses like any movie but the positives definitely outnumber the negatives. It’s merely a fun action/ comedy that aims only to entertain and I think it does this just fine. Was it needed? Not really. Most sequels aren’t really necessary but I think they can definitely add a sometimes wanted expansion on beloved or just well-liked characters and I am happy with the direction they took these particular ones. If you are going to the theater this weekend and you enjoyed the first Red definitely check out Red 2.
Rated PG-13 for: pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Run Time: 116 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee, Neal McDonough, Mary Louise-Parker, Brian Cox
Directed By: Dean Parisot
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
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If you’ve seen the movie let us know what you thought of it.