by George Wolf
RED was not a great movie, but a clever script and an extremely likable cast made it a helluva fun ride and a mildly surprising hit.
So, for RED 2, then..more of the same?
You bet, and it works just as well.
This time around, ex-CIA badass Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is determined to stay Retired Extremely Dangerous, living the domestic life with his sweetie Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) in the suburbs. Sarah, though, kinda liked her introduction to the spy game, so when their old buddy Marvin (John Malkovich) shows up with an invitation, she pushes Frank to accept.
And with that, we’re off to the races. Sure, they’re ridiculous races, but that hardly matters with old friends (Helen Mirren) and new friends (Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins) as cool as these.
Screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber return from part one, again providing plenty of snappy dialogue for their veteran actors, while director Dean Parisot (the underrated Galaxy Quest) has no trouble staging globe trotting action sequences or blowing things up.
Parisot is also smart enough to know that with a cast such as this, sometimes you just stay out of the way.
Malkovich and Parker are deliciously droll and often hilarious, and Mirren, well really, don’t we all want to grow up to be Helen Mirren?
Even Willis seems rejuvenated, after sleepwalking through the latest G.I. Joe and Die Hard installments. This is a tough guy character with a softer shade, and he seems to relish it.
It’s at least twenty minutes too long, and the novelty of aging asskickers may not survive future installments, but right here, right now, RED 2 pegs the fun meter early and often.