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Red 2 (2013)

Red 2
When Red first came out, I gushed over it’s a hilarity with the friend who recommended it. When I learned that its sequel finally had a trailer, I’d just gotten a new laptop and was sitting on the couch testing the internet connection. Needless to say, my family gathered around the screen to watch the trailer and laughed-out-loud at each witty line. Seeing that trailer put this sequel high on my summer to-do list – fortunately, it didn’t disappoint.

Sarah (Mary Louise-Parker) is bored. It’s been far too long since she, along with her boyfriend Frank (Bruce Willis) were on a high-stakes mission. Sarah had a taste of what adventure outside of fiction looked like and now she wants more than weekend house projects or grocery shopping. As a retired CIA officer, Frank has seen his share of bad things but his valiant attempts to live a normal life aren’t going well with Sarah who wants to recapture the adventure. Things are about to get complicated when Frank’s friend and former partner Marvin (John Malkovich) reappears in their life with news of a disclosed list now on the Internet which claims that Frank, Marvin and others in the CIA were a part of a team called Nightshade which involved the theft of nuclear bomb. Trying to convince Frank they are in danger turns out to be harder than Marvin thought – and he’s willing to do anything to persuade Frank, even fake his own death.

This prompts an Interpol investigation and the FBI to put Frank in a holding facility. Naturally, Frank escapes the custody of the man hired to clean up the mess, and after said escape, a price is put out on Frank’s head including giving the go-ahead to an arch nemesis (Byung-hun Lee), and eventually even MI6 puts a hit out, the assignment going to Victoria (Helen Mirren), a once-upon-a-time ally of Frank’s. The globe-trotting heroes are again on the run for their lives, this time with a ticking time bomb at the end of their quest.

FILM REVIEW | Red (2010)

As we were anxiously waiting the silly sponsor adds to end in the theater, my mom leaned over and said, “I think you are going to be the youngest person here.” This prompted a laugh from me because it is true, largely because of its cast, Red draws a different crowd than the apocalyptic crazy movies my peers are usually interested in. May I just say… it’s their loss. This movie and its predecessor are hilariously good in an outrageous but classy kind of way. The script has moxie to be sure plus oh my, the cast! Who could go wrong with this line up? Between Bruce Willis’ calm, quiet, nonchalant (even in let’s-panic-because-we’re-about-to-die, dire near-death situations) Frank Moses to Malkovich’s crazy Marvin and finally Helen Mirren’s machine-gun toting awesome-ness, there is never a dull moment. For fans of the prequel, in addition to all of the old faces and favorites, there are some new players in Red 2 and it makes the adventure more fun for it; we are challenged to pick out those who will end up being an ally and those who are traitors. The new faces include Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Hon plus Anthony Hopkins and Neal McDonough. This is only half of the reason this movie works this well.

Though it’s probably been done a million times prior to this, the plot is a fun one. Best of all was the cast returning and driving the concept forward with savvy smarts and some fabulous wit – all of which is delivered with a brilliant kind of twinkle. While watching this, memories of the first movie assaulted me and I enjoyed all the small fallbacks to its original film. Seeing the jealous side of Sarah or Victoria’s sassiness adds character to the movie and another priceless key element is the honesty these characters have towards each other. For example, Victoria warns the man whom she’s been ordered to end and better still, she does it casually in a phone conversation as if it were an everyday occurrence – and of course, no one could pull this off better than the incomparable Helen Mirren. Some viewers will probably be bothered by what Victoria does since it’s played for laughs instead of confirming who her targets may be – were they enemies? Looking beyond that, Red 2 is just good old-fashioned fun. I am not sure what else to say about it!

The stunts are fantabulous – including a clever and funny chase sequence that involves a small VW car, a bike and a flashy sports car. Later on, we also see Victoria making use of her numerous arsenal of weaponry and in true stellar fashion, Mirren’s entrance doesn’t disappoint, it’s timed just right. Somewhere between the gang stealing a plane and Sarah’s awkward attempts to compete with Katja, there is more excitement than any one person can gush over. One of the things that I loved about this movie was all the globe-trotting; watching the adventure span so many continents from one country to the next adds more adventure and “ups” its first script nicely. If you were a fan of Red, you’ll enjoy its equally entertaining sequel. I do think some of the first blush humor has worn off because viewers already experienced meeting these unlikely super spies. That being said, filmmakers did it right getting back its principle cast and the comic book stills between the frames was cute, all of which endears this as one flick I’ll end up owning and enjoying repeats of – whether I am the target audience or not.

CONTENT: There are some cheeky references to an unmarried couple’s sex life [all minor], Sarah locks lips with two-three different men to obtain information or for means of distraction, and the script has some profanity – one use of the f-word is present along with sh*t, h*ll, da*n and crudities like b*tch or a**. Additionally we hear some covert references to various body parts and talk of Marvin being on a drug for years via a government agency, there’s a shot of a man naked [waist up]. Various explosions take place, some with deadly results – several people are shot and killed or are on the receiving end of a machine gun spray. Red 2 is rated PG13.
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  1. This is definitely on my list of movies to watch! So glad to hear it's good :). I loved loved loved the first one (I barely buy DVDs these days and that one was definitely purchased), so ready to watch this one! I might need to go this weekend even. :)

    1. You can say that times two, Jamie! I LOVED Red also. It has a fabulous cast plus great humor and that makes it brilliant!

      Hope you enjoy Red 2! Let me know if you get to see it. :)

  2. I loved this movie. It was terrific fun.

    1. You and I both! It *was* terrific fun - the kind that is rare in movies today. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Cool! Hope you like it, Alyssa. It sure was a good time. :)

  4. Replies
    1. Sounds like a plan, Juju - my dad likes these although he liked the first better. Have fun! :)

  5. Cool! I think I'll be watching this. I actually watched the first Red movie because of your review on it, and I enjoyed it a lot. :D My sisters and I had a great time fawning over Karl Urban, particularly. I'm actually interested in seeing Lee Byung-hun in this movie - I watch a lot of Korean TV and movies and recently saw him in the Korean movie: The Masquerade.

    1. Aw, neat, Fayehope! I am delighted to know that the Red review resulted in a positive viewing for you and your sisters. It is a fun franchise, isn't it!? :)

      You know while I was reviewing this, I was reminded that Karl was in the first and not the second. That being said, Lee and the rest of the new faces more than compensated for that - and in particular I liked who Lee's character became.

      Hope you enjoy the sequel, Fayehope - and thank you for sharing. :)

  6. I loved this movie! We saw it in a retirement community so the age of the audience was definitely an older lot. My husband and I sat next to a group of 6 women and they were laughing out loud just like us during the whole thing. I think this is the type of movie that transcends age and is just pure fun!

    1. Me, too, Julie! My family watched the first one and laughed our heads off. I giggled knowing that I was one of the youngest members in the audiences (there ended up being some kids there) for the sequel since my peers are so "into" the end-of-the-world movies. It's their loss. ;)

      Love your last line: This movie *is* pure fun!

  7. My family just had the opportunity to watch the first one- we loved it! My goodness, we laughed pretty much the whole thing. I loved Karl Urban in it too.

    I'm glad to see the sequel gets a good review from you- I've heard so many mixed things about it. :)

    1. Aw, yay! Glad your family enjoyed Red, Rosie - that's one my family watches often. It's a good one. :) Karl was good in that movie - alas he isn't back in the sequel, however the new character's make up for it.

      Hope your family enjoys this movie as well as the first; though some of the funny-ness has worn off (meaning, we already experienced the initial comedy of this unlikely band), it was still good. :)

  8. So glad you enjoyed it! Alas, I was out of town when it hit theaters, and now it's... gone already? Whoa. Blink and you miss these summer movies, I guess. So now I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival at Redbox :-) Thanks for the enthusiastic review -- it sounds like it's loads of fun, like the first movie.

    1. Thanks, Hamlette - so am I!

      Sadly, many of the summertime flicks didn't put up the numbers studios wished for, so that meant that many didn't get a prolonged run in theaters. Hopefully this fall, there will be some better scripted movies. :)

      Hope you enjoy Red 2; even without the same "initial" funny-ness, this was a good and fun movie. :)


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