RED 2 Delivers, Just Not as Far as the Original
- Friday, July 19, 2013
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: July 19, 2013
Rating: PG-13 (for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material)
Run Time: 116 min
Directors: Dean Parisot
Cast: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Byung Hun Lee
With comic book movies taking up all the screen space and pop culture hot air, it's surprising when one actually sneaks in under the radar. In 2010, RED – an adaptation of a DC-branded limited graphic novel series – did just that. Made on a modest budget and released with little fanfare, RED went blockbuster on the strength of a slick look, dry wit, and really strong cast of Hollywood pros who were clearly having a great time.
Now comes the no-brainer sequel RED 2 with a promise of more of the same... and for the most part, it delivers. We get another romp of too-good-for-retirement government hitmen (R.E.D. is an acronym for "Retired, Extremely Dangerous") played by some well-aging stars who seem to have the same problem. RED 2 isn't as good as the original; a mere carbon copy, really. The concept, by default, isn't as fresh (and barely was to begin with) and the direction more workmanlike, but on the whole it's a fun diversion to have the gang back together making quips while dodging bullets and outfoxing fairly formidable bad guys.
As most comic book movies contort themselves into serialized mythologies, one of the refreshing throwback qualities of the RED films is their stand-alone storylines. Although seeing the original first would have its benefits, it's not remotely necessary in order to follow (or enjoy) the high-octane antics that unfurl here. The narrative ambitions are simple - in a good way - with a focus on well-staged action.
Returning for another go-round are Frank Moses (Bruce Willis, A Good Day to Die Hard), his eccentric partner Marvin (John Malkovich, Warm Bodies), and Frank's now-serious girlfriend but espionage novice Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker, The Spiderwick Chronicles). British MI6 counterpart Victoria (Helen Mirren, Hitchcock) also plays into the mix, along with a bit from flamboyant Russian operative Ivan Simanov (Brian Cox, The Bourne Supremacy).
It wouldn’t be a sequel without a couple of new big stars thrown in, namely Catherine Zeta-Jones (Side Effects) as Russian agent Katja and Frank's old flame, Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) as a disturbed British nuclear physicist, and Korean martial arts sensation Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe) who, along with attracting the ever-growing Asian audience, serves as Frank's nemesis.
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