The old gang is back in “Red 2”. Redo. The old crew is back together again in “Red 2”. Again. The old- well you get the point and the movie pushes it hard enough. The sophisticated, better acted version of the “The Expendables” has your favorite 40+ characters out of retirement once again to take care of trash and protect their own.
The film rushes to get started almost assuming that you just finished watching “Red” before you got to the theater. Bruce Willis reprises his role as Frank Moses, an ex-CIA operative, who is living on the run with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). When Marvin (John Malcovich) meets them on a dull trip to Costco, he tells Frank that some documents have surfaced on the internet that deal with a former nuclear black-op called “Night Shade”. In order to avoid government agents, Marvin fakes his death (which he has been known to do...and that’s not a spoiler) causing Frank to go out in the open to attend Marvin’s funeral.
Once Frank is officially pulled back in to the world of mayhem. The trio must race against the clock to clear their names and get to the weapon of mass destruction before government agents from different nations do. If that wasn’t hard enough, they have to do it while dodging the brutal assassin Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee), MI6’s Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Moses’s “kryptonite”, Russia’s Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones, who for the first time ever looks her age).
You don’t go in to a film like this expecting a master work. This franchise is all about goofy fun, and it’s obvious that the cast didn’t have to go to work while filming. It was a reunion, and the funnier you improved the better.
As I said before, the difference between this film and other “older actors making a movie” is that there are some decent performances even with the material. Malkovich steals the show with his character. He got most of the big laughs with the crowd I saw it with, and there were quite a few. Helen Mirren brings grace, confidence, and beauty to her performance in such a way that makes sixty look alluring. I can only pray I’ll have half of Byung-hun’s physique at 43. Anthony Hopkins proves why he is an Oscar-winner playing the seemingly crazy Dr. Bailey. The love triangle between Frank, Sarah and Katja makes for man-child, teen crush fun as the two women try to one up each other during their interactions.
I’m surprised this movie had a sequel, but when a film returns over three times what it costs to make it there’s no question of why it was made. So if you’re looking for some mindless entertainment in the theater this weekend “Red 2” is the way to go. Other wise, you can wait until it comes in a small pre-metered packaging or “box” of the same color as the title and get your laughs then for cheaper.