Release Date: July 19, 2013
Running Time: 116 minutes
Bruce Willis sure is sequel happy these days. Earlier this year he tarnished John McClane’s good name with A Good Day to Die Hard and brought nothing but a smirk to G.I. Joe Retaliation as one of the franchise’s new faces. Now comes RED 2, which finds Willis back in action as the retired but lethal CIA operative Frank Moses. Unlike A Good Day to Die Hard, which felt like Willis was made out of obligation, RED 2 allows Willis to have a blast with the likes of the returning Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Mary-Louise Parker as well as franchise newcomers Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, and Anthony Hopkins. The fun they have onscreen is infectious in this larky shoot ‘em up. Willis and Malkovich get drawn back into their old lives when Wikileaks publishes top-secret documents about their involvement in a Cold War operation to smuggle a weapon of mass destruction into Moscow. Bored with her uneventful suburban existence with Willis, danger junkie Parker welcomes assassination attempts by rogue CIA agents as a way to spice up their relationship. Willis’ efforts to keep Parker out of harm’s way are complicated by Zeta-Jones’ Russian spy and old flame, Byung-hun’s disgraced Korean secret agent turned hitman, and Hopkins’ loony bomb builder. Director Dean Parisot, who is best known for the beloved Galaxy Quest, keeps RED 2 moving at brake-neck speed across the United States and Europe. There are precious few moments when Willis, Parker, and Malkovich aren’t under fire by friends and foes alike. There’s even a thrilling car chase in London that equals anything in Fast and Furious 6. Between gunfights there’s a lot of amusing bickering to be found between Willis and Parker, mostly due to Zeta-Jones’ sultry presence. Malkovich is as flaky as ever as Willis’ paranoid sidekick. Mirren operates with a tart tongue and a steady trigger finger as the British hitwoman who has Willis’ back. While Mirren’s Hitchcock costar Hopkins hams it up without a care in the world, there is a brief moment in RED 2 that fans of the cinema’s most notorious serial killer will undoubtedly appreciate. Thrown in David Thewlis and Neal McDonough and the cast is so ingratiating that it’s all too easy to overlook RED 2’s overly busy plot. Better for a sequel to try hard than not try at all, as The Hangover Part III proved. RED 2 ends with the promise of the return of Willis, Parker, and Malkovich. So don’t be surprise if Willis ends up making RED 3 sometime after he completes next summer’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
Aired: July 18, 2013
Web site: http://red-themovie.com/