Go Big Red: If You Liked the First One, You’ll Like “Red 2”

Red 2

Red 2 (Dean Parisot, 2013)

<sigh> I wish I had a more substantive film to write about for my review today. But that’s what comes of vacation. If you’re traveling, you can’t take advantage of the press screenings . . . And believe it or not, I still haven’t seen either White House Down or Pacific Rim. I know – incredible, right? I’m slipping.

So what’s on the agenda for Friday, July 19? Red 2. Masterpiece of masterpieces. Cinematic event of the summer. Go. See. It. Now.

In all seriousness, however, why not go see it? This is a completely unpretentious, relatively well-crafted piece of action-adventure comedy, starring good actors who are having such a grand old time of it that one can’t but help grin along with them. Between this and The Lone Ranger, pick this. Easy. If you’re going to see a forgettable piece of fluff, it’s good to see one in the company of people you like. And if you saw Red and enjoyed it, I can almost guarantee that you’ll like this one at least as much. Plus, this film has one significant selling point that so many other summer movies do not: over half of its stars all qualify for AARP membership. Go Seniors!

Red 2 reunites us with Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a fugitive super spy now in a committed relationship with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker who, born in 1964, is the third youngest of the main stars, and does not qualify for AARP), a woman he met in the first film when he was hiding out under a secret alias. Their domestic bliss is shattered when Frank’s old pal Marvin (a delightfully hammy John Malkovich) shows up to warn them of a new danger. It turns out that some more government thugs are after them – and they may not be just from our government – and so off the three go to find out who’s trying to kill them this time. Their adventures take them to Paris, where they cross paths with Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones, the second youngest main star, born in 1969, who for some reason wears tons of dark pancake). They also run in to a Korean hit man, Han (the very muscled Byung-hun Lee, who, born in 1970, is the youngest of the main cast), hired to kill Frank, adding to the already considerable mayhem. From there, our friends hop over to London, allowing for a reunion with British assassin Victoria (the always marvelous Helen Mirren), and a meeting with a new cast member, Bailey (Anthony Hopkins). Finally, they end up in Russia, in the arms of the affable Ivan (Brian Cox). One thing I really like about both Red and Red 2 is this world it creates of competing secret agents who all know and respect each other, even if they’re frequently also trying to kill each other. Fun!

And that’s all you really need to know. The plot is ridiculous, and yet there are a few surprises along the way that keep it interesting. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek, and if that’s the kind of film you’re looking for, you’ll have a great time. I did.

One last note. This is the second film of the year where Bruce Willis ends up in Moscow as a formerly grand agent who, it turns out, has still got the moves. This is better than the first one, by far. Enjoy!

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