'Red 2' Blu-Ray Review: Sequel Scores Laughs from Headlines, Government Red Tape,
In a world where whistleblowers reveal more and more about our overreaching government every day, the president defends his surveillance state and bureaucracy runs amok getting bigger and bigger, it's good to have movies like Red 2 to poke fun at it all.
The film is available on home video Nov. 26, and you will all be better for it if you decide to join in on the laughs.
The first Red film found Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) being marked as Retired and Extremely Dangerous and the CIA coming after him and his band of misfit friends portrayed by Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman. There was also a love story involving Mary-Louise Parker. It was all modern day good fun and audiences responded well. Naturally, a sequel was greenlit and the world was rewarded with Red 2.
I could do a run down of the plot, but we all know that it's a MacGuffin. The real fun comes from the cast. Willis, Parker, Mirren and Malkovich are all back and new additions include Anthony Hopkins, Byung-hun Lee and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Yes, it's one of the stranger ensembles to ever be assembled but also one of the most interesting.
In Red 2 Frank Moses finds himself being set up once more, and there's a price on his head ... again. Retirement is not kind for this man.
What's so enjoyable about the Red franchise, especially the sequel, is that's it's an action comedy that works in the context of modern day. Meaning that the film is never more than mindless entertainment (as opposed to politically motivated), but the humor comes from poking fun at endless bureaucracy, covert ops, government spying, etc. If you're caught up with the headlines of the day then Red 2 is all the more fun.
For a sequel, Red 2 is surprisingly fresh and well made. The screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber contains plenty of lines you won't soon forget including exchanges like one where Moses gets angry at Marvin (Malkovich) for giving Sarah (Parker) a gun to which Marvin replies, "well it is America, Frank." There's plenty more memorable and tongue in cheek moments like that, that people of any political leaning can draw humor from.
Director Dean Parisot creates an extremely entertaining film by finding the right balance between humor and action. Both are treated well enough, and seriously enough, so that Red 2 ends up being the perfect kind of movie you want to watch during a night in. The film's only real fault lies in an overall problem with the franchise. There seems to be an obsession with slow-motion car moments that defy logic and take you out of the moment as you feel like you may be watching a cartoon. The first Red had one of these moments, the sequel naturally has two.
Willis is always game and finds the right tone between action hero and romantic dolt, Malkovich is laugh out loud funny like always, Parker provides a real human touch to the proceedings, Mirren is beyond a joy to watch as she pokes fun at her public image and the new cast members bring a refreshing taste to the film as well especially Hopkins who gives one of his most playful and enjoyable performances ever.
The Blu-ray combo pack is a worthy purchase for fans of the franchise. It includes an informative and fun multi-part making of documentary titled The Red 2 Experience. Also included in the pack are deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Red 2 finds humor in the ways of the modern world. There's action, romance and intelligent situations anyone frustrated with today's politics can find plenty of laughter from.