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Saturday, 6 January 2018

Movie Review: RED 2 (2013)

Cast: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Anthony Hopkins, Neal McDonough
Genre: Action Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $148 million 

Plot: Retired CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable device

'Redundant, Erratic, Derivative, RED 2 Offers Too Much Of The Same Thing'

I first came across this film whilst I was on a flight to Hong Kong back in 2013; having enjoyed the first RED and found it marginally entertaining, I gave this one a go - and quite frankly, I shouldn't have bothered. Actually, scratch that, I'm glad that I did, as I see to it that RED 2 is nothing but a no-show with elder cast members in Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins.

RED 2 (the initials are an acronym for Retired & Extremely Dangerous) is the action equivalent to the superfluous & overly extravagant Ocean's 13 sequels and is on par with that franchise for that exact same reason: well-known star names but a movie will little substance and hardly any of the original magic of its prequel going for it. Instead, it chooses to ride on the coattails of its predecessor, whilst offering little that is different or unique for it to stand out as a film on its own merits. 

The team of RED come together once again as they head out to Russia to track down a nuclear Cold War weapon, as well as a scientist who can help them unravel the mystery of this weapon before it falls into the wrong hands. 

The recycled plotline mirrors that of a Tom Clancy Splinter Cell video game and it just feels too much like a 'been there, done it before' type of film, with Neal McDonough in place of Karl Urban who is basically a clone of Urban's character of the first RED film. The execution of RED 2 reeks of lazy, samey and predictable, and but for say John Malkovich and Helen Mirren, the rest of the main cast are just underwhelming. The story itself is not very interesting as the cast's efforts are squandered by what is a convoluted & unnecessary retread of the first film but with the additions of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Anthony Hopkins. Speaking of the new additions, out of the three it is arguably Lee who did okay in parts and going all Jackie Chan-like in the fighting stakes, whereas Hopkins and Zeta-Jones appear onscreen together for the first time since The Legend of Zorro, back in 1998. & yet they don't bring anything to the film. The love story plot with Frank and his girlfriend is unwarranted and the comedy is lacklustre and not particularly amusing as it lacks the wit and charm of the first film. Mary Louise Parker has little to work with as her character, Sarah is clamouring onto her man's affections, who also attracts the attention of Zeta Jones's Russian character, whilst having the personality of a 4-year- old & made to look more like a liability to the team than ever before, which was sad to see. I didn't like the writer's regression of Sarah. Although Helen Mirren as Victoria is still all right. Willis revisits the same action hero role as he has played a million times over, but this Frank Moses isn't as good as he was before.

Running at nearly 2 hours, it is supposed to be fun, this is supposed to be a fun action comedy, but what I got instead was the opposite and the action sequences weren't mind-blowing and they were sparse as well, and again, it felt like a rehash and felt too formulaic & identical to RED. The first RED worked because it was refreshing, new and something that hadn't been done before with an over 60s motley crew of former agents coming together and practically defeating the bad guys and by offering a different type of action movie. 

But this, RED 2 is lazy, uninspired & a carbon copy of the original RED, lacking in good and well-written comedy and impressive action sequences with overdone special effects and action scenes which looked too OTT, it bordered on ridiculous. Man, was I bored as I watched this. But for one twist that I didn't actually see coming, I was so bored I drifted off at certain moments and didn't care what was going on. 

Final Verdict:

So tiresome it feels too much like the first film, whilst offering little to nothing new or extraordinary, and whilst I still enjoy Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies, the first two Die Hard's that, here, not even his turn could lift RED 2. His fall from grace after his success in the 1980s and 1990s continued with this offering & G.I Joe Retaliation & subsequent straight -to- DVD & B-movie action films.

In addition to being practically boring to boot, it just wasn't all that for a film. Seems like the director didn't appear to get what made the first RED so entertaining and good in the first place.

Watching RED 2, I literally saw red at how incessantly dense and less fun and enjoyable this was and is. I was mostly boRED (see what I did there). 

It just wasn't worth my time.


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