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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Movie Review - Red 2

Red 2 (2013)
Starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, David Thewlis, Brian Cox, and Neal McDonough
Directed by Dean Parisot

I got a weird joy out of the first Red film -- there was something oddly compelling about seeing Helen Mirren wield huge automatic weapons and fight evil.  Needless to say, I wasn't sure whether that gimmick of old folks doing battle could sustain itself for another flick.  During the first thirty minutes of Red 2, my worries seemed legit as I came this close to stopping the film out of unnecessariness.  I'm happy I stuck it out as Red 2 proved to be an amiable enough way to spend two hours with a nice mix of comedy and action coupled with an ensemble cast that appears to be having a great time working together.

I'm not going to really bother discussing any plot -- old guys and former government intelligence agents Bruce Willis (plus his girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker), John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren (well...their characters) band together to recover a nuclear weapon in Russia created twenty years prior by a English scientist (played by Anthony Hopkins) who believed he was hired to do something helpful for the British and US government.  Plot is almost superfluous here because you're really not getting anything you haven't seen in any other action movie before.

The reason a movie like Red 2 exists is to see the chemistry of the cast.  Bruce Willis and John Malkovich dryly (and drolly) play off each other perfectly.  Mary-Louise Parker is a true joy, providing many more laughs than I ever could've expected as Willis's excited-for-thrills girlfriend as she tags along on her first mission with him.  Anthony Hopkins is fun.  Byung Hun Lee (the rare youthful element here) is quite good, surprisingly funny, and oddly fleshed out character-wise as a hired assassin set out to take out Willis and his cronies.  And then there's Helen Mirren who I admit I have a little crush on and is for some reason oddly attractive as she nonchalantly pours bleach into a bathtub to kill people.  Is that weird?  Probably.

Red 2 probably didn't need to exist.  The first Red explored this same territory and this one doesn't really bring anything new to the table.  However, it is an excuse to get this cast back together and give them another chance to try their hand at comedy.  That alone is worth it.  Is the film perfect?  Nope.  (Remember, I wanted to turn it off during the first act.)  But it's kind of fun.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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