A sequel that feels old…
Bruce Willis, home maker. If you ever struggled to imagine the action star trundling around Costco, then RED 2 is the movie for you. Everyone else, maybe not so much, as those looking for a repeat of the fun and frivolity of the first film will be disappointed.
The plot, such as it is, sees retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Willis) reunited with his team of elite elderly operatives to track down a missing portable nuclear device. Naturally, there are complications along the way, as they come up against power-crazed government officials, relentless assassins and people who can only be pacified or manipulated with a snog.
Yet the crux of the story is Frank’s relationship with former call-centre worker Sarah (Mary Louise Parker). It’s similar to the situation Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello find themselves in at the start of The Mummy 3, as they crave the thrill of action to relieve the boredom of everyday life – and it ends about as well as that film did. Even Parker’s wide-eyed charm can’t carry it through, although there is some joy to be had listening to trained killers give out relationship advice.
John Malkovich’s Marvin, whose character almost feels like the narrator of the piece, is the highlight once more, while those who hoped to see more of Helen Mirren’s MI6 agent get their wish. Mirren never looks hotter than when she’s firing a gun (or funnier than when she’s sending herself up), but she’s hamstrung by the same meandering script.
Never being too far from a firefight or an explosion does give RED 2 the visual feel of flicking through a comic book, but the comedy has been sacrificed for action. Less bullets are fired in some real-life small wars and the chase for the nuke racks up more airmiles than a student with a round the world ticket. Yet what really grates this time around is the casual murder, which was part of the joke in RED, but has a much darker touch to it that’s harder to laugh at in the sequel.
RED 2 is released today in the US and opens on 2 August 2013 in the UK.