Friday, July 19, 2013

RED 2 is a Slightly Paler Version of the First

John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Bruce Willis
reprise their roles in "RED 2."
Two years ago, “RED” proved that it was the anti-comic book, comic book movie. It was a product of DC Comics and based on a limited comic book series of the same name. However, unlike most DC Comics, “RED” didn’t feature any superheroes with capes but instead, senior citizens who were not ready to use walkers just yet. They were RED – Retired Extremely Dangerous.

RED 2” takes place a few months later after the first story. Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is again trying to give retirement a try. His new relationship with Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), a younger woman, has become somewhat stale. She wants to go out, he wants to stay in. She wants excitement; he wants to play it safe. In no time at all, Frank’s world turns upside down to Sarah’s delight. Somehow, Frank and his former gang have been framed. His best and eccentric friend, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) is all for clearing their names while fighting the bad guys who have a nuclear bomb. Sarah is all in for the adventure, but all Frank wants to do is protect her. It doesn’t help that another former member of the gang, Victoria (Helen Mirren) has a contract out to kill them.

Just like the first “RED” movie, this one is fairly convoluted. This action comedy starts off quite literally with a bang and continues in that fashion throughout. The film just might hold the record for most killings in a two hour movie and yet, it holds a PG-13 rating. The cartoon violence is fun at first, but becomes tiresome. The storyline moves at brisk pace to a finale that is truly unbelievable.

Like the first film, all of the characters are larger than life, but this time they are moved up a notch. Most of the cast of the first film has returned, but it still feels like someone is missing. We don’t learn anything new about these old friends and that’s a shame. As for new characters, Catherine Zeta-Jones makes an appearance as a former love interest of Frank. This set up should be a lot of fun. She’s known to be Frank’s kryptonite. Her catwoman-like character is too over the top to be funny. She could have added a lot to the story. Instead, she  could have easily been written out and probably should have. She doesn’t add anything to the story. Anthony Hopkins also adds something special to the story. He appears to have more fun making the movie than we do watching it.


While very funny throughout, this sequel is a slightly paler version of the original and leaves you wanting more. It lacks the charm of the first film and provides no surprises. The movie must be taken with a grain of salt as it appears to be glorifying violence, but really is really just played out for laughs. It’s sort of like Mad magazine’s “Spy vs Spy” comics. One character whines that he hasn’t killed anybody in weeks. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should you. It’s pretty harmless, the good guys win and makes a great summer time movie escape.
(Originally posted on Examiner.com)

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