Movie Review: Red 2

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MV5BMjI2ODQ4ODY3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc2NzE1OQ@@._V1_SX214_loved the first “Red,” (Retired-Extremely Dangerous) an over-the-top and comically combustible ride, and looked forward to the sequel.  But too much “Red” may not necessarily be a good thing. 

“Red 2” continues to follow the spy-adventures of retired CIA operative, Frank (Bruce Willis, “A Good Day to Die Hard“), bug-eyed girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louis Parker), old buddy Marvin (John Malkovich), and MI6 cohort Victoria, Helen Mirren (“The Debt“). 

This time the gang goes international – Paris, London, Moscow.  They’re tracking down a bomb smuggled and planted in Moscow during the Cold War.  In a document leak, Frank’s and Marvin’s names have been falsely linked to it.  They’re branded as domestic terrorists and pursued by intelligence agencies, including a contract killer, Han (Byung-hun Lee). 

They encounter Frank’s former flame, Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Side Effects“), an agent with Russian intelligence.  They eventually find the architect of the device, Dr. Bailey, Anthony Hopkins (“Thor“).  Bailey has been locked up for over 30 years; there’s a reason for it and it may not be what you think it is. 

The movie is an action comedy, it’s packed with action, but with an emphasis on comedy.  As basket-case Marvin, Malkovich supplies a lot of one-liners.  Willis still has that cool guy persona, a guy who can cleverly defeat a dozen armed men with ease.  Parker has a much more prominent role in this installment and becomes an integral part of the team.  Han rounds up the group and is a good addition as an outcast.  Brian Cox makes a cameo as a KGB agent and Mirren’s partner in love.  The most sophisticated of the bunch is Mirren.  Her chic, ice-cold portrayal is hard to beat.  She doesn’t miss a beat; be it disposing of a body in a bath tub, dishing out relationship advice, or firing dual guns in a fast-spinning car. 

There are a couple of cool car stunts.  One in full speed with Mirren as a passenger and Lee in the driver’s seat involving a trailer truck.  The other with Willis stepping right into the car and driving as Zeta-Jones is moving out and into the passenger’s seat; a homage to the first movie where Willis steps out of a spinning car and onto his feet shooting bullets.  

While the first installment is fresh and fluid, “Red 2” feels segmented and bloated.  There are also nonsensical resolutions where you’re expected to buy things without knowing how they come about.  Too much spotlight is shined on Frank’s and Sarah’s comedic relationship, and one-upmanship with Katja.  It becomes too silly for its own good.  The cast members have terrific chemistry, but you may not get the nuances among the relationships unless you see the first one.

If you’ve never seen the original “Red,” you will still enjoy “Red 2” because of the action, comedy and chemistry.  It could have been much better, but it’s passable entertainment.

Copyright (c) 2013. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, film columnist and travel/lifestyle writer.   She can be reached at  Nathalia owns a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter:

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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