2010 was a weird year. It was a year that saw the release of The Expendables, Machete, The Losers, The A-Team and Red. I think I might even be forgetting some. Of these myriad retired-soldiers-have-to-clear-their-names-before-the-government-kills-them movies, a few got sequels including, now, the last one anybody expected – Red.
This weekend’s Red 2 is a weird movie. It’s just as much a comedy as an action film but it’s by no means what you think of when you picture an “action comedy”. It is not a goofy Will Ferrell flick with some guns and car chases nor is it a weak shoot-em-up with some lame comic relief guy thrown in there. It’s a balls-to-the-wall, bad-ass actioner that is really goddamn hilarious.
Red 2 picks up some undetermined amount of time after the first film. Bruce Willis’ Frank and Mary Louise Parker’s Sarah have been together long enough to fall into a bit of a rut. She fell for him because of the excitement and adventure, but he just wants a quiet life where he can keep her safe. This all falls apart after (very minor spoiler) John Malkovich’s Marvin fakes his death and the trio are dragged into a plot involving a missing Cold War WMD.
The movie might be a little over-complicated, but it’s not honestly not as difficult to follow as the guy next to me thought (he said it took him an hour and a half in to figure out what was going on). Though even if for some reason you have trouble with espionage films it’s worth checking out for the performances. The Red series is essentially the anti-Expendables – instead of grizzled he-men made of beef jerky, this is chance to see Serious Actors™ playing against type and having a blast. David Thewlis with a uzi shooting up a restaurant. Brian Cox in love and a totally different kind of creepy than usual. Dame Helen Mirren as a mercenary in a room full of dead bodies.
And that’s not even mentioning the actors that are working within their wheelhouse. Anthony Hopkins is wonderful as a weapons designer who’s spent the two and a half decades in a mental institution. Byung-hun Lee essentially reprises his role as Storm Shadow to play as assassin with a contract on Bruce Willis. And of course Bruce Willis, all I have to say is there’s a scene early on where he takes out seven FBI agents that shows you exactly why everyone thinks Frank Moses is so dangerous.
One of the best parts of the movie, though, is the chemistry between Mary Louise Parker and John Malkovich. As her Sarah feels more alienated by Willis’ Frank she becomes closer to Malkovich’s Marvin, but not in a sexual way at all. The two develop a fantastic, completely platonic friendship that, if she were a he, would absolutely be called a bromance.
While Red 2 might not be the best movie of the Summer, or even this month, if you’ve already seen Pacific Rim I’d definitely suggest you check out Red 2.
I give it 6.75 REVENGE KISSES out of 10.