Jun 23, 2014

[Movies] Red 2 (2013)

The first Red movie was a good amount of fun. We all derived enjoyment from watching older people doing rather amazing things in an action movie. Sure, it was a little generous in terms of its deviations from the original comic book, but on its own it was a highly entertaining movie.

Red 2 was a clear effort to exploit that initial dynamic and see just how far they might push the concept. And since they weren't really tied to any source material at this point, it was really more about just making a movie that would make money. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on the actual end result.

Red 2 was entirely bad but it wasn't as good as the first movie either. It tried to follow the usual Hollywood formula of trying to bring back as many of the original characters and situations as possible while introducing a few new variables in order to make things interesting. This time around such "new variables" included Caterine Zeta-Jones and Byung-hun Lee, to name a few.

And while the movie still had its moments, overall it didn't quite have as much heart.

Synopsis: Red 2 is a 2013 sequel to first action comedy movie. It was directed by Dean Parisot with a screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber.

It has been some time since the first movie and the fully retired Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is trying to focus on leading a normal life together with his girlfriend Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker). He is once again approached by his friend and former colleague Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) with warnings that there are still men who are after them. Frank is reluctant to believe him given Marvin's penchant for conspiracy theories but when his car explodes, Frank is convinced that something may be up.

Frank is then taken in for questioning by government agents. But while he's in custody, another operative named Jack Horton (Neal McDonough) manages to defeat the security around the facility and makes his way to secure Frank. But Frank manages to escape despite numerous assassins helping Jack. Of course Frank survives with the help of a still-alive Marvin, who reveals that they have been targeted because of their participation in a Cold War era secret mission called Project Nightshade. And now they need to figure out who's trying to kill them and to resolve the mystery behind Project Nightshade.

The movie has a lot of great moments, like with the first one. I'm quite the fan of how John Malkovich portrays Marvin - he was a great source of oddball comedy in the first movie and he's still great in this one. At the same time Helen Mirren's character, Victoria Winslow, was equally funny and was given many clever, witty moments throughout the movie. Of course Bruce Willis focused on playing straight man to their respective antics as has been the case in various movies in recent years.

Thus with these three actors, some amazing movie moments were put together - the kinds that look great in trailers or are the kind that make you exclaim, "That was awesome!" right after the scene finishes. But the connections from scene-to-scene were where the movie really suffered. The overall plot that tried to tie things together was such a mess filled with long stretches of awkward, expository dialog. And you have not-so-funny moments primarily featuring the caricature characters that are portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Byung-hun Lee. It was especially bad when Lee had to speak long bits of dialog - those were rather painful to endure.

Red 2 is a truly Hollywood sequel, on all fronts. It relies solely on the ability of the actors to draw in audiences and they didn't bother with all that great a script. And so the movie only really gets 2.5 instances of Helen Mirren being all kickass out of a possible 5


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