Adding to the list of unnecessary sequels, Red 2 arrives after its predecessor was a surprise, word-of-mouth hit at the box office. I didn’t think the first Red was very good, so my expectations weren’t very high, although my curiousity was peaked with the addition of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins to the cast.
The new film finds CIA agent Frank (Bruce Willis) retired with his girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). On a mundane trip to Lowe’s, they are interrupted by his old partner Marvin (John Malkovich) who warns there’s trouble brewing. So begins the ridiculous plot that really doesn’t know what it’s doing. It was written by the same writers of the original so you think they would have fixed the problems that the first one had.
Helen Mirren was the highlight of the original film, but it took way too long for her to become involved in the action last time, so you think they would get her more involved this time around. Nope, it takes just as long for Mirren’s character Victoria to play a major role. That being said, bravo to the writers for finding a way to get Mirren to wear a crown and yell out “I’m the Queen Of England!”. It’s the funniest moment in the film, but mostly Mirren is underused here. Instead, most of the film is spent with Willis, Parker, and Malkovich jumping from city to city trying to track down a nuclear weapon. All 3 are fine actors but their over-the-top goofiness gets grading after a while.
The action, directed by Dean Parisot, is some of the worst we’ve seen in a while. In sequences, you feel like shots go from step 1 to step 4 without showing you the in-between. It jumps so quickly from moment to moment, you keep thinking “how did that possibly happen?”. It’s so incoherently assembled from the director’s chair and the editors room that you wonder how they ever got hired for the gig.
It’s always fun to see Zeta-Jones in a vixen/femme fatale role, but her talents are wasted here. She barely gets anything to do. She should have known better than to sign up for this. Hopkins ends up being the highlight here playing a mad scientist. You can see why the role appealed to him. I guess he didn’t mind that the rest of the movie around him was crap.