Saturday, December 14, 2013


This only reason this film exists is that a film titled RED, their acronym for retired extremely dangerous, about a bunch of, you guessed it, retired intelligence officers, did more than expected business in the box office when it was released two years ago. So, we have the unnecessary sequel, RED 2. But, what fun!

The plot point borrows everything from the Fast and the Furious to Bourne Identity to Die Hard films, or other assorted spy, cold war films, especially with Bruce Willis headlining the star cast (Remember Die Hard?). They are but not important. You don’t really care about a genius, mad scientist in jail and a cold war-era bomb beneath the Kremlin. What is exciting, however, is how the actors playing the characters are having fun. They don’t take their roles seriously, yet brings with them a gravitas only they can bring. Add to that some cool action set pieces, from chase to hand to hand combat and plot that travels the world, from New Jersey to Paris, London, Moscow…

Bruce Willis is especially far better here than the year’s other movie, the Die Hard sequel, also set in Russia. There is John Malkovich going neurotic and there’s Catherine Zeta-Jones in a hat, for god knows why, and British actor David Thewlis, known for his serious roles, gets to ride a bike in a spectacular chase scene though the streets of Paris, though he is given a very ungainly name, The Frog, a small role.

But the two scene stealers are the British thespians Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. As Hopkins makes his appearance at the half-way mark, everyone else is dwarfed, and he plays his lunacy deliciously, a throwback on the heyday of Silence of the Lambs. But it’s Mirren who wows. There is a scene during the climax where Mirren is in a fancy car and performs a gun stunt that will give Dom and his bunch from the Fast movies a run for their money. Her character Victora deserves a movie of her own. I will pay to see that one.

I wouldn't mind RED 3 either.

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