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RED 2 (review)

red_two_ver2RED 2
Written by Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber
Directed by Dean Parisot
Starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary Louise Parker and Helen Mirren
 
Frank: You gave her a gun?

Marvin: It is America, Frank.

Getting older can be a beautiful thing. On screen though, it often means falling into obscurity and becoming less and less relevant with each passing. If you are not current, then you don’t matter so you might as well just leave the rest of us alone and go somewhere to die. In 2010, RED bucked that trend to the tune of great success by showcasing a handful of retired undercover special operations agents who have shown no signs of slowing down and who can easily take on agents half their age at any given moment. It was so successful that a sequel, entitled simply RED 2, was discussed and greenlit shortly thereafter. And though the gang have all returned for another piece of the action, it is the concept, and not the players, that is starting to show its age.

RED 2 opens in a Costco. Frank and Sarah (Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker), having now spent some time together playing house since their last adventure, are shopping for supplies. Naturally, this scenario is equated with death by filmmaker, Dean Parisot (GALAXY QUEST). Even though millions of people shop at Costco on a daily basis, doing so demonstrates that you have somehow given up on living any sort of exciting lifestyle. Personally, I find a store where you can buy big screen televisions as well as giant bags of jumbo shrimp to be very exciting, but I must just be getting old. Here, Frank and Sarah run into Marvin (John Malkovich), who informs them that Interpol is mistakingly looking for them because of a mission neither one of them recalls being involved in way back in the day. And so, just like that, Frank must come back out of retirement, again, so that he can kill a bunch of people before they kill him.

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The plot to RED 2 itself is not really all that significant. Suffice it to say, it reunites Frank, Sarah and Marvin with some familiar faces (Helen Mirren, Brian Cox), throws them together with some new faces as well (Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones), and brings them all around the world on a mission to clear their names. If it sounds familiar, its because it is essentially the same plot as the first RED film. Frank reluctantly got involved in that escapade because it was either that or death. Now, he does so again reluctantly and eventually learns that if he just got on with enjoying his retirement, that would have been the real death. There is enough fun to be had in between the beginning of his mission and his realization, but less originality and urgency, so less bite overall and a mushier experience at that. Regardless, RED 3 is already being worked on.

3

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