<Review by: Daylynn DeSouza>
Directed by Dean Parisot. Starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Neal McDonough, David Thewlis
What can I say about this movie? There’s not a lot to look forward to action-wise as you’ve seen the action highlights of the movie in its trailers. As is the case with most sequels it’s fairly disappointing but it does have its perks and amazing production values. Nothing could make up for the lack of Morgan Freeman though. Not even adding a dash of Anthony Hopkins. Let’s get into what makes this movie tick and why it isn’t as impressive as the first.
Our story picks up after the end of the main storyline of RED: Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is happy living the ordinary mundane life of an Ex-CIA Agent with his love interest Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). She however is bored. Enter Marvin (John Malkovich) who invites Frank to join him on another mission, Frank declines but is soon forced into the mission by people who try to kill him because they think that he and Marvin were part of a secret operation called Nightshade that involved smuggling a Weapon of Mass Destruction into Russia.
They have a lot to deal with, including their old friend Victoria (Helen Mirren) who’s been hired to kill them. And, if that weren’t enough, one of the best assassins in the world, Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee, who you might recognise as Storm Shadow from the G.I. Joe franchise) is also on their trail and has a score to settle with Frank. It’s up to the RED Squad to stay alive, search for Dr. Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), the man who knows the location of the previously mentioned Weapon of Mass Destruction and save the world with a little ‘assisterference’ (assistance/inference… it’s a spy movie there’s a lot of double-crossing going on) from Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones) the Russian spy and Franks ex-lover and a man known only as The Frog (David Thewlis).
As far as the acting is concerned, the actors/characters that make this movie worth a watch are Anthony Hopkins who is brilliant as Dr. Bailey, Helen Mirren is of course Helen Mirren and I found the character of Han Cho Bai played by and Byung-hun Lee (who was amazing) to be a new favourite. Mr. Willis is the exact same character he was in the last movie and the last two Die Hard movies and G.I. Joe Retaliation. An old guy who kicks ass. John Malkovich’s character isn’t as crazy as he was in the last movie and therefore not as much fun. Mary-Louise Parker plays a perky thrill-seeking woman and she’s good at it and Catherine Zeta-Jones is, well… she’s in the movie too.
It’s adequately funny and action-packed and they visit some nice locations and have good action sequences, my personal favourite was a car chase that took place along the banks of the Seine River in Paris. The music fits in well with the tone of the movie except at one point where it seems to overplay Helen Mirren’s bad-assery (I think they might have confused her for Michelle Rodriguez). The transitions are reminiscent of the comic book cover (The comic is far more serious, dark and grounded.) and the opening sequence is quite nice. There’s also a very pretty explosion in the movie; you’ll know it when you see it.
This franchise needs to disappear now or resurrect Morgan Freeman and make Malkovich’s character Crazier. Since they’re not sticking to the comics anyway, might as well make it fun.