Release Date: July 19th, 2013
Director: Dean Parisot
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Film Pulse Score: 5/10
It’s hard to deny that Dean Parisot’s Red 2 has moments of pure fun. The quirky cast of characters from the first film return, with the addition of some new faces to help spice things up. Unfortunately, much of the charm witnessed in the first entry feels played out by the second outing, and Red 2 seems to try entirely too hard to outdo the original.
The film focuses on Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Mary-Louise Parker’s characters being hunted by just about every government agency in the world because of some leaked documents that appeared on Wikileaks. Said documents refer to a weapon of mass destruction that is hidden somewhere in Russia, and now the three must find it before it’s too late.
Along the way, they team up with their old partner Victoria (Helen Mirren), as well as Katja, a double-crossing Russian agent played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Byung-hun Lee plays a Korean hit man who is after them, and Anthony Hopkins plays a mad scientist who created the weapon.
If you’ve seen the first Red, you have an idea of what to expect with the second outing. Tons of stylized action mixed with nearly non-stop comedic situations and banter all set to a secret agent espionage backdrop. While most of the comedy didn’t work for me, there was uproarious laughter in my screening, so maybe it just wasn’t my thing. One thing to be thankful for was that the filmmakers really toned down the old people jokes in this one. I was fully prepared for two hours of people talking about how “They’re too old for this shit,” but was relieved when it didn’t happen.
There were plenty of “Casually walk away from an explosion” scenes, which got old, and much of the action was entirely too over the top. Sure, it’s a film designed to be larger than life, especially considering the source material from the comic book, but many of the stylized shots in Red 2 felt silly when they were supposed to feel cool. Remember the scene in the first one, when Bruce Willis popped out of the car shooting in slow motion? Yeah, they do that again in this one only with him getting into the car instead.
The overcomplicated plot is also riddled with questionable outcomes and coincidences. So many things happen just the right way that it seems a little ridiculous if you think about it for any length of time. Things became more and more convoluted and outlandish as the film progressed, till it begins treading dangerously close to Transporter 3 territory.
Red 2 is an overall entertaining, but flawed film. Clocking in at nearly two hours, much of the content becomes tedious and boring. The comedy is repetitive and rarely worthy of actual laughter, though the characters are well thought out and deliver solid performances from the entire cast. Fans of the first film will no doubt find a lot to like about this one, but it’s tough to recommend it for anything more than a rental or cheap matinee.