Movie Review: Red 2 by Jason Burleson

RED 2Red 2 is the subsequent follow up to 2010’s cinematic action-comedy Red. After grossing over $90 million domestically, it was really only a matter of when they would make this film rather than if they would make a sequel.  Fortunately, for us, it was sooner rather than later as again the sequel finds home to a star studded cast, hilarious and creative writing, and of course fast, edge of your seat, eye-popping action.  At a time in cinema where most action movies appear almost cookie cutter, Red shoves a stick of dynamite deep down inside and doesn’t just break the mold but destroys it.

The best part of this film is undeniably the cast.  Red 2 is chock full of star studded, A-List actors with some serious resumes.  These include actors such as Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Anthony Hopkins. This film has a character type for everyone, and every single one is badass.  Red, or “Retired and Extremely Dangerous” had me thinking I was going to be watching a film of senile, old, nursing home regulars fighting over whose turn it was to play shuffleboard and whose turn it was to hit on the nurse and yell vulgarities and young children.  Needless to say, I was surprised when I found out it was more about espionage and blowing stuff up.  How could I not be into that? However, the first film still had a few moments of being just not quite there for me.  This is completely gone in the follow up, and I can see it becoming a favorite to even the most skeptic of action fans.

This sequel catches back up to retired CIA operative Frank Moses(Bruce Willis, Die Hard)RED 2 who is trying really, really hard to live the quiet suburban life with his still-girlfriend Sarah Ross(Mary-Louise Parker, Red Dragon).  As in the first film, this is becoming nearly impossible for Frank and he becomes aware of a plot to rediscover a hidden cold war weapon called project Nightshade.  Returning again is the paranoid but yet loveable conspiracy theorist Marvin Boggs(John Malkovich, Empire of the Sun) who is Frank’s right hand man, best friend, and liaison throughout this film.  While searching for project Nightshade, Frank hunts down its creator, Dr. Edward Bailey(Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal) and together they all begin searching for the weapon before it can be used by one of the many groups hunting them down.  The cast also includes talented actors such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hellen Mirren, Brian Cox, David Thewlis and Lee Byung-hun.

The real brilliance in this film is combining great actors with great characters.  My personal favorite is John Malkovich.  He plays his character, Marvin, perfectly.  Every detail, down to the monotone brevity of his voice is perfect and makes his character appear absolutely nuts but with a subtle hint of absolute genius to go along with it.  He is the batman of this film and seems to have a plan or a tool for every job.  He is excellent.  Which hits home since this movie is based on a comic.  Bruce Willis is type casted in my opinion because he always plays this role well.  He continues to be the guy everyone wants to be, but it is undoubtedly outside of the reach of mere men.  These two were very easy choices for the casting department.

RED 2While the character development was well done, one problem I had with the film was plot formula and I found at times that it could leave the audience going in circles.  Almost as if they needed extra time to build up the characters but not really explain anything.  It may seem to stray a small bit.  That being said the writers, Jon and Erich Hoeber gave the characters some hilarious one-liners that continue to keep the audience laughing and interested throughout the whole film. I never found myself bored once.  They do manage to divulge subtle character traits from the first RED and give the audience more information about the characters personalities very well.  Moses does have his weaknesses and they are expressed more so in this film than the first.  Love being one of the more obvious.  You will also continue to get the same action from the first film.  These include epic stunts, quick, excellent fight scenes, and constant surprises.

Red 2 will leave you exiting the theater with a smile on your face.  It will not disappoint if you’re looking for a really good action movie.  It continues to show the same smooth action sequences from the first film while filling in the gaps true fans will enjoy.  You might even learn a thing or two about women. And if there’s one thing I know its women and tactical operations.

I give RED 2 4 “Splosions” out of 5

By Jason Burlseon

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