Cert: 12A Runtime: 116 mins Director: Dean Parisot Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-hun Lee, David Thwelis and Anthony Hopkins
What happens in the Kremlin stays in the Kremlin!
When Red came out a few years back I was rather hesitant of it. A few hours later I was converted, it was a very good action comedy. Due to it’s success we all knew there would be a sequel. So Red 2 has hit the cinemas, bigger, bulkier and older, luckily not in 3D! So with new additions to the cast mainly welsh actors, I am stoked for the next instalment. Former black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is just beginning to enjoy the comforts of retirement with his girlfriend Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker). But all hell breaks loose once again when ever-paranoid fellow retired agent Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) re-enters his life. They need to recover a portable nuclear warhead that was smuggled into Moscow during the Cold War by scientist Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins). Unfortunately, Bailey has spent the last 32 years in an asylum for the criminally insane. To complicate matters further, MI6 has instructed gun-wielding Victoria (Helen Mirren) to kill Frank! Now the globe-trotting mature agents must use their old-school skills to take on an army of foes in Paris, London and Moscow.I’ll start with the good aspects of the film. First of all, the team from the original were all reunited (minus Morgan Freeman, of course) which was one of the biggest selling points for the film. The brilliant interplay and repartee between Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Mary-Louise Parker was just great. They all have such good chemistry, it just works. Another thing that I loved was that Mary-Louise Parker played a much more involved role this time around, deservedly so. Also, they brought back Brian Cox for a few scenes, which was brilliant.
Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones joined the cast this time around. Sir Hopkins is his usual excellent playing a British scientist locked up in a London asylum since the Cold War for actions that set the pace for the film’s central plot. Zeta-Jones plays a Russian special agent who used to work with Frank. Sir Hopkins is his usual excellent while CZJ’s performance is nothing special. She has become a bit of a has-been, in my opinion. One other thing I will hand to this film is that I loved the transitions between scenes (and locations) using graphic art overlays. Very cool.Now on to the negatives. This film takes a long time to pick up speed. I actually found myself feeling a little bored until about halfway through. It wasn’t until then that some good bona fide action sequences, similar to those of the first film, took place. It just felt to me like there was a lot of unnecessary dilly-dallying. Close enough to the structure of the first film, I suppose, but maybe that’s why it felt stale. It worked in the original because we needed that time to get to know the characters. In this one it just felt like they were stalling the action for no reason. I got the impression that they used the exact same formula for this film as the first one, but that it didn’t work this time. All of the same elements that made the original a success were present here, but it just didn’t have the same feeling this time. Perhaps that’s just me though. I think the bottom line is that my expectations for this sequel were way too high. Go and see it though because you may just love it!