Starring: John Malkovich, Bruce Wills, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee
Directed by: Dean Parisot
Run Time: 116 minutes
Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Crime
Opens July 19th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Where else can you find an action movie that is also a comedy that has not one, not even two Academy Award winning actors? The sequel to the 2010 film of the same name, "Red 2" bills 3 Academy Awards winning actors in it's cast and one Academy Award nominated actor. With all the heavy hitters in its lineup, can the sequel stack up to the original?
Being retired usually means a slower, more relaxing pace of life. Unfortunately for Frank (Bruce Willis), it's not in his nature to live a quiet domestic life, as much as he wants to, the spy games he used to play will always follow him. Fellow ex-CIA agent Marvin (John Malkovich) tries to get Frank back in the game, claiming it will help spice up his love life with younger girlfriend Sarah (Mary Louise Parker). Frank begrudgingly gets pulled back into the world of espionage when his name, along with Marvin, end up on a classified document leaked online, claiming they have knowledge about an Operation Nightshade, entailing a weapon developed by one of the most dangerous minds in the world. Dubbed the "Da Vinci of Death", physicist Dr. Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) was the frontrunner back in the 1970's as the go -to guy for developing weapons designed for maximum collateral damage in warfare. Frank was assigned to Dr. Bailey's detail when he was killed.
Once Frank was named in the leaked document, government operatives took him into custody for questioning, which turned into a botched assassin attempt. Now on the lam, Frank, Sarah and Marvin travel to Europe to track down the details of Nightshade, leading them down a dangerous path that may be deadly for all.
Sequels can be a tricky thing because very few sequels can be as good as or exceed audience expectations. As clever as "Red 2" is in terms of the storyline, the chemistry of the first film established felt off-kilter and not as strong. It could be the absence of Morgan Freeman, but the relationship storyline fell rather flat and schticky rather than hilarious. Having Mary Louise Parker with a larger role in this film did not help, bring down the rhythm and pacing of the comedy. Helen Mirren is always a delight, which if she had a larger role, the Bruce Willis/ John Malkovich pairing would have been stronger. Having Catherine Zeta Jones and Anthony Hopkins in their respective roles was lopsided. My only complaint about the previous statement is that Zeta-Jones was supposed to be a Russian Government Agent. She spoke with a British accent the entire time, which being an Academy Award winning actress, why not bust out with the Russian accent to make the role more authentic? Hopkins is always fantastic, this role as a mad scientist is no exception. The stunts and action sequences were decent; there was an added element of the reminiscent of the "Fast and Furious" franchise with Byung-hun Lee's hitman character Han Cho Bai, but it works in the way the scene plays out. Check out "Red 2" when it opens in theaters starting Friday July 17, 2013.